Environmental degradation and income inequality are two of the most important international debates that await immediate resolution. Despite that, their interaction in the environmental economics literature has been very little analysis. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of income distribution on the CO2 emissions in Turkey during 1984-2014. An Autoregressive Distributed Lag Model (ARDL) test is employed to determine possible long-term and short-term nexus among the series. The ARDL test results show that the series are cointegrated and that income inequality has a positive effect on CO2 emissions. We also find that the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) is valid in Turkey. The Toda-Yamamoto causality test denotes that Gini coefficient is the Granger-cause of CO2 emission. The results show that deterioration in income distribution will reduce environmental quality in Turkey, which validates that political economy approach is valid in Turkey. Study results can be an important guide for policymakers. Reducing income inequality for a new strategy in the fight against environmental problems may lead to a win-win situation for Turkey and the international community. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.