Many discussions on sustainability rarely mention the world’s growing population and whether current or projected future levels are – or can be made – compatible with living within the limits set by the Earth’s regenerative capacity. As far as fossil fuel emissions are concerned, however, the growing population is not incompatible with lower levels of energy use but, as the paper below shows, the rising levels of consumption in rich countries and “emerging” ones like Brazil, India and China certainly are.
Feb 14 2013 note: This paper has been updated and is now available at https://www.feasta.org/2013/02/14/economic-growth-population-growth-and-climate-change/
Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members.
Dr David Knight has parallel existences as: an academic scientist (Biophysics, Biochemistry, Ultrastructural Analysis); an activist with interests in climate change and civil and military nuclear power; an inventor of surgical devices based on silk; teacher of medical sciences and ecology; and sculptor. He is currently an Honorary Research Associate in Zoology at Oxford University and has held three visiting professorships and a visiting fellowship at MRC MBL Cambridge. He is interested in economics, theology and Jungian psychotherapy but has no expertise in these. He is has a lovely immediate family: wife, two children and five grandchildren. He is a contributor to Feasta’s book Sharing for Survival.
4 Replies to “How are rising CO2 emissions linked to a rising world population?”
Although I disagree with your anthropogenic carbon emissions causing us problems, IMO they do not, will not.
I too have looked at population figures and noticed –
So for each billion increase in population the CO2 goes up by about 20ppm.
The numbers appear to be lock-step together. Given that the majority are in poorer countries this is strange, you’ve made some very good points.
Population approximation from
UNFPA – United Nations Population Fund estimate 31.10.2011
CO2 trends from NOAA
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