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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Population Growth and Global Warming

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Population growth and global warming

Population Growth and Global Warming

By Nick Maliska


Annual greenhouse gas emissions by sector

Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector


Chain of causation

Chain of Causation


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)


Environmental kuznets curve

Environmental Kuznets Curve


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


Kyoto protocol

Kyoto Protocol


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


Expected rise in temperature

Expected Rise in Temperature


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