A Conceptual Model of the Relationship Among World Economy and Climate Indicators

  • Boris M. Dolgonosov
Original Paper


The work is aimed at developing a conceptual model of the relationship among global indicators such as world population, GDP, primary energy consumption, anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, and mean surface temperature anomaly. The world economy is viewed from three perspectives as (1) a manufacturing system that consumes energy and returns a product; (2) a climate-active system that shifts the planetary thermal equilibrium due to greenhouse gas emissions; and (3) a resource-distributed system in which the generalized resource is distributed among consumers of different scale and can be equivalently expressed in both monetary and energy units. It was established that dependencies between the indicators are power law: temperature anomaly increases proportionally to cumulative energy consumption, GDP grows in proportion to the product of current and cumulative energy consumption raised to a power of less than unity, and energy consumption in turn is a power-law function of population with the exponent being expressed through the Gini coefficient, which is a measure of the inequality in income distribution on a global scale. Parameters of these dependencies were determined using a special procedure of fitting to empirical data. It was found that energy consumption, temperature anomaly, and GDP grow over the industrial period in proportion to population raised to a power close to 1.5, 1.8, and 2, respectively.


World population Energy consumption Temperature anomaly Power laws Resource distribution Gini coefficient 



I want to thank Professor Ugo Bardi for his benevolent attitude to the work. I am also grateful to my anonymous reviewers for their efforts in analyzing the model, which have contributed to its improvement.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author states that there is no conflict of interest in relation to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris M. Dolgonosov
    • 1
  1. 1.HaifaIsrael

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