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The Environmental Consequences of Demographic Change

Mason, Jonathan LU (2011) EKHR11 20111
Department of Economic History
Abstract
This paper finds that an increase in population size had a disproportionately large effect on carbon emissions for OECD countries between 1990 - 2007. A 1% increase in total population increased carbon emissions by 1.3%. As the relationship is non-unitary, this suggests that as population size increases, so do emissions per capita. Moreover, countries with higher population densities produced less of their energy from alternative and renewable sources. Further to this, population growth appeared to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita by a small increment; this increase in affluence further increased emissions. Surprisingly, and contrary to many other studies, an increase in the percentage of the population aged over 65... (More)
This paper finds that an increase in population size had a disproportionately large effect on carbon emissions for OECD countries between 1990 - 2007. A 1% increase in total population increased carbon emissions by 1.3%. As the relationship is non-unitary, this suggests that as population size increases, so do emissions per capita. Moreover, countries with higher population densities produced less of their energy from alternative and renewable sources. Further to this, population growth appeared to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita by a small increment; this increase in affluence further increased emissions. Surprisingly, and contrary to many other studies, an increase in the percentage of the population aged over 65 actually increased carbon emissions slightly. These results suggest that there are environmental advantages for countries projected to decrease in population size, such as Germany. Although a decreasing population may accentuate the problems of population ageing, the results of this paper suggest that instead of increasing fertility rates, it is far more environmentally friendly for countries to meet this demographic challenge by increasing the retirement age, raising productivity and training the long-term unemployed. Also, as population size in developed countries is a major cause of carbon emissions, by investing in family planning in the developing world now, governments may prevent countless future emissions once these countries gain a certain level of affluence. (Less)
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author
Mason, Jonathan LU
supervisor
organization
course
EKHR11 20111
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Population growth, population ageing, population aging, carbon emissions, global warming
language
English
id
1979995
date added to LUP
2011-06-20 11:50:39
date last changed
2011-06-20 11:50:39
@misc{1979995,
  abstract     = {This paper finds that an increase in population size had a disproportionately large effect on carbon emissions for OECD countries between 1990 - 2007.  A 1% increase in total population increased carbon emissions by 1.3%.  As the relationship is non-unitary, this suggests that as population size increases, so do emissions per capita.  Moreover, countries with higher population densities produced less of their energy from alternative and renewable sources.  Further to this, population growth appeared to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita by a small increment; this increase in affluence further increased emissions.  Surprisingly, and contrary to many other studies, an increase in the percentage of the population aged over 65 actually increased carbon emissions slightly.  These results suggest that there are environmental advantages for countries projected to decrease in population size, such as Germany.  Although a decreasing population may accentuate the problems of population ageing, the results of this paper suggest that instead of increasing fertility rates, it is far more environmentally friendly for countries to meet this demographic challenge by increasing the retirement age, raising productivity and training the long-term unemployed.  Also, as population size in developed countries is a major cause of carbon emissions, by investing in family planning in the developing world now, governments may prevent countless future emissions once these countries gain a certain level of affluence.},
  author       = {Mason, Jonathan},
  keyword      = {Population growth,population ageing,population aging,carbon emissions,global warming},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Environmental Consequences of Demographic Change},
  year         = {2011},
}