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July 16, 2012

Population change and CO2 Emissions are not Correlated

Population changes are a minor factor in CO2 emissions. The chart below shows that you can have an increase in population and a decrease in CO2 emissions. The bigger factors are GDP increases and the economy.

The group Population Matters pushes for draconian state controls on birth rates and on immigration because they feel that the first solution to CO2 emissions should be population policies.

Long-Term Trend in Global CO2 Emissions (2011, 42 pages, EU Commission)

Fossil fuel combustion accounts for about 90% of total global CO2 emissions excluding forest fires and woodfuel use. As the global economy rebounded strongly in 2010, both in mature industrialised countries and in developing countries, global energy consumption also saw a very strong growth of 5.6%, which is the largest annual growth since 1973 when the world was recovering from the recession caused by the first oil price crisis

Like Russia, Ukraine has seen a greater reduction in CO2 emissions since 1990 than laid out in the Kyoto Protocol - the reason being the collapse of national industry in the 1990s. The result was such a dramatic drop in emissions that in recent years, the country saw a welcome boost to state funds received from the trade of carbon emission quotas.

The reduction was not because of lower population.







Technologies that are more profitable and more environmentally friendly

The best way to shift things to a smaller footprint is to develop solutions that are more profitable for those that use it while also having reduced externalities.

90% of CO2 emissions are from fossil fuels so shift to nuclear fission or develop nuclear fusion or solar/wind without using natural has for load balancing.
Example. Sky city factory produced skyscrapers - uses 5 times less concrete per square foot. Lower cost to build. More profitable for builder. Faster to build less financing cost for builder. High energy efficiency. More profitable for landlord and renters.

It will enable higher population density cities, which boosts per capita GDP.


Which Countries will have the future population growth ?

Many of those who propose population controls, need to look at the countries where there will be a lot of population growth to see if it is realistic to make those proposals.

In terms of future population (out to 2050).

1 billion more in Africa
500 million more in India
About two hundred million more in other parts of Asia.

Africa high population growth - Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, Niger, Zambia , etc...

Asian high population growth - India, Pakistan, Philippines, etc...

Policy Impact and basic questions on whether population proposals are viable

Europe - population declining slightly
North America - flat except for immigration
South America - slow growth
Oceania immigration

So will higher population growth countries adopt restrictive policies ?

Will countries with flat population countries do more to restrict their populations and speed up the decline ?

Will the declining populations try to decline faster ? And if they did will that accelerate the dominance of countries and peoples with more population growth in the future ?

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