This study empirically evaluated three different forms of environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) including ‘new toxics’, ‘race to the bottom’, and ‘revised’ EKC in a panel of 36 developed and developing countries for the period of 1995–2013. The results of robust least square MM-estimator confirmed the ‘race to the bottom’ hypothesis in nitrous oxide emissions (N2O) and carbon monoxides (CO) emissions, while ‘revised’ EKC hypothesis exist in traffic volume emissions and CO emissions. The study constructed an “emissions index” by the principal component matrix for evaluating ‘new toxics’ EKC hypothesis and confirm that industrial activities continuously created new, unregulated and potentially toxic pollutants in a panel of countries. The results found that industrial activities substantially increase traffic emissions and mono-nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions across countries. In a majority of the cases, trade openness, energy demand and per capita food variability directly associated with the air pollutants that deteriorate the natural environment.
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