Population growth and global warming
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Population Growth and Global Warming. By Nick Maliska. Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector. Chain of Causation. I=PAT. I = environmental impact P = population A = affluence, GNP per capita T = technological efficiency 1% increase in population yields 1% increase in emissions.

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I pat
I=PAT

  • I = environmental impact

  • P = population

  • A = affluence, GNP per capita

  • T = technological efficiency

  • 1% increase in population yields 1% increase in emissions


Two opposing views
Two Opposing Views

  • Malthusian: population growth is outpacing earth’s ability to absorb waste generated by the growing population.

  • Boserupian: population growth leads to technological innovation, which will solve environmental problems.


Support for malthus
Support for Malthus

  • From 1975-1996, global population grew by 42% while emissions increased by 61%.

  • Elasticity of Emissions with respect to population growth = 1.42


Support for boserup
Support for Boserup

  • Wide Variation across countries

  • Low-middle income countries have high elasticity of emissions with respect to population growth (above 2)

  • High income countries have below unitary (less than 1)



Households vs population
Households vs. Population

  • I = HAT

  • Significant portion of energy consumed is based on household consumption, not individual consumption

  • Average size has decreased from 3.6 to 2.7, so number of households has increased relative to population growth in developed world



Policy implications
Policy Implications

  • Controlling population growth will be key to controlling greenhouse gas emissions

  • Developing World is responsible for an increasing proportion of global emissions.

  • If only control emissions in the developed world, expected 4 degree Celsius rise in temperature will be reduced by 1 degree



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