Achieving Environmental Policy Objectives through the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals : The Case for European Union Countries
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One of the key challenges for climate policies is the identification of strategies that will effectively support the implementation of environmental goals. Environmental policies are connected with other development policies carried out by governments. In order to comprehensively shape environmental policy, it is important to understand the interactions between sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well as their impact on environmental goals. Employing econometric modeling based on the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (Lasso) method and full-factorial analysis, the authors identify a number of statistically significant relationships between the implementation of sustainable development goals and the environmental variable represented by greenhouse gas emissions. Analysis reveals that implementation of particular sustainable development goals, namely SDG4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities) and SDG17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development), explicitly facilitate the achievement of environmental policies. In addition, other SDGs exert an indirect influence on environmental goals through their reinforcing interactions with SDG4 and SDG17 variables. These are: SDG1 (End poverty), SDG3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being), SDG8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and productive employment) and SDG15 (Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests and halt biodiversity loss). These findings have important implications for proper identification of effective government policy instruments which indirectly support the achievement of environmental goals.