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An Analysis of Three Decades of Increasing Carbon Emissions: The Weight of the P Factor
Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE), Sweden.
Colorado State University, USA.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. (DISA;CSS)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2837-0137
2023 (English)In: Sustainability, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 15, article id 3245Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy, SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Abstract [en]

A dominant narrative in the climate change debate is that addressing population is not relevant for mitigation because population is only growing in the poorest countries, whose contribution to global carbon emissions is negligible, while the largest contribution comes from rich countries where the population no longer grows. We conducted an analysis of 30 years of emission data for all world countries showing that this narrative is misleading. Splitting the countries into four income groups according to the World Bank’s standard classification, we found that: (i) population is growing in all four groups; (ii) low-income countries’ contribution to emissions increase is indeed limited; (iii) the largest contribution to global carbon emissions comes from the upper-middle group; (iv) population growth is the main driver of emissions increase in all income groups except the upper-middle one; (v) the successful reduction in per capita emissions that occurred in high-income countries was nullified by the parallel increase in population in the same group. Our analysis suggests that climate change mitigation strategies should address population along with per capita consumption and technological innovation, in a comprehensive approach to the problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2023. Vol. 15, article id 3245
National Category
Climate Research Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Natural Science, Environmental Science; Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-119257DOI: 10.3390/su15043245ISI: 000940066500001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85149289589OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-119257DiVA, id: diva2:1735929
Available from: 2023-02-10 Created: 2023-02-10 Last updated: 2024-02-13Bibliographically approved

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Bravo, Giangiacomo

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CiteExportLink to record
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