Effects of population and affluence on CO2 emissions


The National Academy of Sciences of the USA


We developed a stochastic version of the Impact = Population·Affluence·Technology (IPAT) model to estimate the effects of population, affluence, and technology on national CO2 emissions. Our results suggest that, for population, there are diseconomies of scale for the largest nations that are not consistent with the assumption of direct proportionality (log–linear effects) common to most previous research. In contrast, the effects of affluence on CO2 emissions appear to reach a maximum at about $10,000 in per- capita gross domestic product and to decline at higher levels of affluence. These results confirm the general value of the IPAT model as a starting point for understanding the anthropogenic driving forces of global change and suggest that population and economic growth anticipated over the next decade will exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions.

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