Advertisement

Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 555–568 | Cite as

Perspectives on International Trends and Dynamics in Population and Consumption

  • Georgina M. MaceEmail author
  • Emma Terama
  • Tim Coulson
Article

Abstract

There are increasing concerns that global environmental limits may soon be met as a result of increasing numbers of people coupled with increasing consumption of resources. However, the current level and rates of growth in both consumption and population vary systematically among countries grouped according to income levels. Many high income countries have population growth rates at close to replacement levels, but their per capita consumption is consistently several times higher than low income countries. Low income countries need to grow out of poverty and have high population growth rates. Using current population structures for India and the USA in an age-structured demographic model, and simple projections of annual reductions in fertility or consumption per capita over the next 50 years, we show that while reductions in both consumption and fertility are necessary to stabilize impacts, there are short term gains from consumption reductions in high income countries such as the USA, and long term gains from early fertility reductions in growing economies such as India.

Keywords

Population Consumption Demographic projection Environmental limits IPAT 

References

  1. Asian Development Bank (2008) Managing asian cities: sustainable and inclusive urban solutions. Asian Development Bank, Mandaluyong CityGoogle Scholar
  2. Brook BW, Ellis EC, Perring MP, Mackay AW, Blomqvist L (2013) Does the terrestrial biosphere have planetary tipping points. Trends Ecol EvolGoogle Scholar
  3. Burger JR, Allen CD, Brown JH, Burnside WR, Davidson AD, Fristoe TS, Hamilton MJ, Mercado-Silva N, Nekola JC, Okie JG, Zuo W (2012) The macroecology of sustainability. PLoS Biol 10:e1001345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Butchart SHM, Walpole M, Collen B, van Strien A, Scharlemann JPW, Almond REA, Baillie JEM, Bomhard B, Brown C, Bruno J, Carpenter KE, Carr GM, Chanson J, Chenery AM, Csirke J, Davidson NC, Dentener F, Foster M, Galli A, Galloway JN, Genovesi P, Gregory RD, Hockings M, Kapos V, Lamarque J-F, Leverington F, Loh J, McGeoch MA, McRae L, Minasyan A, Morcillo MH, Oldfield TEE, Pauly D, Quader S, Revenga C, Sauer JR, Skolnik B, Spear D, Stanwell-Smith D, Stuart SN, Symes A, Tierney M, Tyrrell TD, Vie J-C, Watson R (2010) Global biodiversity: indicators of recent declines. Science 328:1164–1168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cameron R (1993) A concise economic history of the world. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  6. Chesnais J (1992) The demographic transition. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  7. Cleland J (2001) The effects of improved survival on fertility: a reassessment. Popul Dev Rev 27: 60–92Google Scholar
  8. Cohen JE (1995) How many people can the earth support? W.W.NortonGoogle Scholar
  9. Cole MA, Neumayer E (2004) Examining the impact of demographic factors on air pollution. Popul Environ 26:5–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Global biodiversity outlook 3. Convention on Biological Diversity Montreal, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  11. Dasgupta P, Ehrlich PR (2013) Pervasive externalities at the population, Consumption, and Environment NexusGoogle Scholar
  12. Dietz T, Rosa EA (1997) Effects of population and affluence on \(\text{ CO }_{2}\) emissions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:175–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dietz T, Rosa EA et al (2007) Driving the human ecological footprint. Frontiers Ecol Environ 5(1):13–18Google Scholar
  14. Ehrlich PR (1968) The population time bomb. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Ehrlich PR, Holdren JP (1971) Impact of population growth. Science 171:1212–1217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haberl H, Erb KH, Krausmann F, Gaube V, Bondeau A, Plutza RC, Gingrich S, Lucht W, Fischer-Kowalski M (2007) Quantifying and mapping the human appropriation of net primary production in earth’s terrestrial ecosystems. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:12942–12945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Human Mortality Database (2011) University of California, Berkeley (USA), and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Germany)Google Scholar
  18. Jorgenson A, Clark B (2010) Assessing the temporal stability of the population/environment relationship in comparative perspective: a cross-national panel study of carbon dioxide emissions, 1960–2005. Popul Environ 32:27–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lewis SL (2012) We must set planetary boundaries wisely. Nature 485:417–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Liddle B (2004) Demographic dynamics and per capita environmental impact: using panel regressions and household decompositions to examine population and transport. Popul Environ 26:23–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liddle B, Lung S (2010) Age structure, urbanization, and climate change in developed countries: revisiting STIRPAT for disaggregated population and consumption-related environmental impacts. Popul Environ 31:317–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liddle B (2011) Consumption-driven environmental impact and age-structure change in OECD countries: a cointegration-STIRPAT analysis. Demogr Res 24:749–770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mace GM (2012) The limits to sustainability science: ecological constraints or endless innovation? PLoS Biol 10:e1001343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Matthews JH, Boltz F (2012) The shifting boundaries of sustainability science: are we doomed yet? PLoS Biol 10:e1001344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005a) Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. In World Resources Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005b) Ecosystems and human wellbeing: biodiversity synthesis. In World Resources Institute, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  27. O’Neill BC, Dalton B, Fuchs R, Jianga L, Pachauri S, Zigovad K (2010) Global demographic trends and future carbon emissions. PNASGoogle Scholar
  28. O’Neill BC, Chen BS (2002) Demographic determinants of household energy use in the United States. Popul Dev Rev 28:53–88Google Scholar
  29. O’Neill BC, Liddle B, Jiang L, Smith KR, Pachauri S, Dalton M, Fuchs R (2012) Demographic change and carbon dioxide emissions. Lancet 380:157–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pereira HM, Leadley PW, Proenca V, Alkemade R, Scharlemann JPW, Fernandez-Manjarres JF, Araujo MB, Balvanera P, Biggs R, Cheung WWL, Chini L, Cooper HD, Gilman EL, Guenette S, Hurtt GC, Huntington HP, Mace GM, Oberdorff T, Revenga C, Rodrigues P, Scholes RJ, Sumaila UR, Walpole M (2010) Scenarios for global biodiversity in the 21st century. Science 330:1496–1501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Poumanyvong P, Kaneko S (2010) Does urbanization lead to less energy use and lower CO2 emissions? A cross-country analysis. Ecol Econ 70:434–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Prskawetz A, Jiang L, O’Neill BC (2004) Demographic composition and projections of car use in Austria. Vienna Yearbook of Popul Res 2:175–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rockstrom J, Steffen W, Noone K, Persson A, Chapin FS, Lambin EF, Lenton TM, Scheffer M, Folke C, Schellnhuber HJ, Nykvist B, de Wit CA, Hughes T, van der Leeuw S, Rodhe H, Sorlin S, Snyder PK, Costanza R, Svedin U, Falkenmark M, Karlberg L, Corell RW, Fabry VJ, Hansen J, Walker B, Liverman D, Richardson K, Crutzen P, Foley JA (2009) A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461:472–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shi A (2003) The impact of population pressure on global carbon dioxide emissions, 1975/1996: evidence from pooled cross-country data. Ecol Econ 44:29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Steffen W, Crutzen PJ, McNeill JR (2007) The anthropocene: are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature. Ambio 36:614–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. The Royal Society (2012) People and the Planet. In The Royal Society Science Policy Centre LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Tilman D, Lehman C (2001) Human-caused environmental change: impacts on plant diversity and evolution, pp 5433–5440Google Scholar
  38. United Nations Development Program (2012) Human Development ReportGoogle Scholar
  39. United Nations Population Division (2011) Population trendsGoogle Scholar
  40. World Bank (2011) World Bank Databank. In: World Development Indicators. World Bank, WashingtonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, Centre for Biodiversity and Environment ResearchUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, Centre for Engineering PolicyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations