Carbon emissions from fossil fuel use and other human activity are predicted to cause a significant warming of the global climate, according to a growing consensus of scientists. Global warming would have substantial negative effects on the world environment and economy. Human population and economic growth continue to drive both energy use and carbon emissions. While the developed countries are the largest source of present and past emissions, developing countries are rapidly catching up. China will probably surpass the United States as the largest carbon emitter early in the next century. The global warming treaty signed in Rio in 1992 relies entirely on voluntary emission caps for developed countries and has had little or no apparent effect on emissions. Much stronger steps must be taken to avoid or lessen potential climate change. A globally determined but nationally imposed carbon tax should be adopted to internalize the future costs of carbon emissions into the present cost of fossil fuel and other carbon sources. This would allow the maximum use of free market forces and individual choice to determine how carbon emission reductions are achieved. In addition, national emission caps for all countries should be established. International trade mechanisms can be used to support universal implementation of these measures. Where possible, global warming policy should include strong but equitable incentives for sustainable development and population stabilization, important goals in themselves regardless of the extent of future climate change.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Blaustein, R. (1995). Global warming to be focus of '96 conference. The National Law Journal December 4, 1995, C11-C12.
Boehmer-Christiansen, S. A. (1994). A scientific agenda for climate policy? Nature, 372(6505), 400-402.
Bolin, B. (1994). Next step for climate-change analysis. Nature, 368(6467), 94.
Brown, L. R., Kane, H., & Roodman, M. (Eds.). (1994). Vital signs: The trends that are shaping our future. Washington, D.C: Worldwatch Institute.
Brown, L. R., Lessen, N., & Kane, H. (Eds.). (1995). Vital signs: The trends that are shaping our future. Washington, D.C: Worldwatch Institute.
Brown, L. R., Renner, M., & Flavin, C. (Eds.). (1997). Vital signs 1997: The environmental trends that are shaping our future. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.
Carliner, G. (1995). The China card: Global warming? Challenge September–October 1995, 57-59.
Cline, W. R. (1992a). The economics of global warming. Washington, D.C: Institute for International Economics.
Cline, W. R. (1992b). Global warming: The economic stakes. Washington, D.C: Institute for International Economics.
Cobb, J. C. (1996, February 11). Americans keep on trucking, and big pick-ups still pull their weight. The New York Times, Section 11 p. 1.
Commoner, B. (1972). The environmental cost of economic growth. Chemistry in Britain, 8(2), 52-65.
Congressional Budget Office. (1990). Carbon charges as a response to global warming: The effects of taxing fossil fuels. Washington, D.C: Congressional Budget Office.
Crane, A. T. (1992). Energy policy in the light of global climate-change uncertainty. In L. Rosen & R. Glasser (Eds.). Climate change and energy policy (pp. 469-473). New York: American Institute of Physics.
Crossette, B. (1996, February 16). U.S. aid cutbacks endanger population programs, U.N. agencies say. The New York Times, pp. A14.
Ehrlich, P., & Ehrlich, A. (1990). The population explosion. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Ehrlich, P., & Holdren, J. (1971). Impact of population growth. Science, 171(3977), 1212-1217.
Engelman, R. (1994). Stabilizing the atmosphere: Population, consumption and greenhouse gases. Washington, D.C: Population Action International.
Environmental Protection Agency. (1989). The potential effects of global climate change on the United States. Washington, D.C: Environmental Protection Agency.
Esty, D. C. (1994a). The case for a global environmental organization. In P. R. Kenen (Ed.). Managing the world economy: Fifty years after Bretton Woods (pp. 287-309). Washington, D.C: Institute for International Economics.
Esty, D. C. (1994b). Greening the GATT: Trade, environment and the future. Washington, D.C: Institute for International Economics.
Esty, D. C., & Mendelsohn, R. (1995). Powering China: The environmental implications of China's economic development (unpublished draft). New Haven, CT: Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Gilland, B. (1995). World population, economic growth and energy demand, 1990–2100: A review of projections. Population and Development Review, 21(3), 507-539.
Goodland, R., Daly, H., & Kellenberg, J. (1994). Burden sharing in the transition to environmental sustainability. Futures, 26(2), 146-155.
Herber, B. P., & Raga, J. T. (1995). An international carbon tax to combat global warming. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 54(3), 257-267.
Holdren, J. P. (1991). Population and the energy problem. Population and Environment, 12(3), 231-255.
Houghton, J. T., Callander, B. A., & Varney, S. K. (1992). Climate change 1992: The supplementary report to the IPCC scientific assessment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (1990a). Climate change: The IPCC scientific assessment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (1990b). Potential Impacts of Climate Change: Report Prepared for IPCC by Working Group II. New York, NY: WMO and United Nations Environment Programme.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (1991). Climate change: The IPCC response strategies. Washington, D.C: Island Press.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (1995). IPCC working group I summary for policymakers. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Kerr, R. A. (1995a). Greenhouse report foresees growing global stress. Science, 270(5237), 731.
Kerr, R. A. (1995b). Scientists see greenhouse, semiofficially. Science, 269(5231), 1667.
Kerr, R. A. (1996). 1995 the warmest year? Yes and no. Science, 271(5246), 137-138.
Keyfitz, N. (1992). The effect of changing population on climate. In I. M. Mintzer (Ed.). Confronting climate change: Risks, implications and responses (pp. 153-161). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lii, J. H. (1996, February 18). Boom at a glance. New York Times Magazine, pp. 26-27.
MacCracken, M. C. (1995). The evidence mounts up. Nature, 376(6542), 645-646.
Marland, G. (1983). Carbon dioxide emission rates for conventional and synthetic fuels. Energy, 8(12), 981-992.
Meyerson, F. A. B. (1998). Population, carbon emissions, and global warming: The forgotten relationship at Kyoto. Population and Development Review 24(1), 115-129.
Meyerson, F. A. B. (1997). Population, development and global warming: The international Institutional challenges ahead. In R. K. Pachauri & L. F. Qureshy (Eds.). Population, environment and development (pp. 285-302). Timarpur, India: Multiplexus.
Norse, E. (1996). Personal communication with author.
Office of Technology Assessment. (1991). Changing by degrees: Steps to reduce greenhouse gases. Washington, D.C: Office of Technology Assessment.
Piggott, J., Whalley, J., & Wigle, R. (1992). International linkages and carbon reduction initiatives. In K. Anderson & R. Blackhurst (Eds.). The greening of world trade issues (pp. 115-129). Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.
Poterba, J. M. (1992). Tax policy to combat global warming: On designing a carbon tax. In R. Dornbusch & J. M. Poterba (Eds.). Global warming: Economic policy responses (pp. 71-98). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Read, P. (1994). Responding to global warming: The technology, economics and politics of sustainable development. London, UK: Zed Books.
Repetto, R. (1994). The “second India” revisited: population, poverty and environmental stress over two decades. Washington, D.C: World Resources Institute.
Salpukas, A. (1996, February 15). What's next, tail fins? Fast speeds and big cars send gas consumption up. The New York Times, pp. D1, D5.
Schuon, M. (1996, February 11). America's best seller gets a sequel. The New York Times, Section 11, p. 1.
Sedjo, R. A., & Solomon, A. M. (1989). Climate and Forests. In N. J. Rosenberg (Ed.). Greenhouse warming: Abatement and adaptation (pp. 105-119). Washington, D.C: Resources for the Future.
Stewart, R. B., & Wiener, J. B. (1990). A comprehensive approach to climate change: Using the market to protect the environment. The American Enterprise, November/December 1990, 75-80.
The Economist. (1995a, April 1). Editorial: Global warming and cooling enthusiasm. The Economist, 33-34.
The Economist. (1995b, April 1). Editorial: Stay cool. The Economist, 33-34.
Titus, J. G. (1989). The causes and effects of sea level rise. In D. E. Abrahamson (Ed.). The challenge of global warming (pp. 161-195). Washington, D.C: Island Press.
Tunali, O. (1996, January/February). A billion cars: The road ahead. World Watch, 24-33.
United Nations. (1992). Framework Convention on Climate Change. New York, NY: United Nations.
United Nations. (1995). Conference of the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, Decision 1, FCCC/CP/1995/Add. 1. New York, NY: United Nations.
United Nations Department for Economic and Social Information and Policy Analysis Population Division. (1996). World populations prospects: The 1996 revision (draft). New York, NY: United Nations.
United States Department of Agriculture. (1993). World grain situation and outlook. Washington, D.C: United States Department of Agriculture.
von Moltke, K. (1993). A European perspective on trade and the environment. In D. Zaelke, P. Orbuch, & R. F. Housman (Eds.). Trade and the environment: Law, economics and policy (pp. 93-108). Washington, D.C: Island Press.
Winters, L. A. (1992). The trade and welfare effects of greenhouse gas abatement. In K. Anderson & R. Blackhurst (Eds.). The Greening of World Trade Issues. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press.
World Resources Institute. (1990). World Resources 1990–91. Cambridge, UK: Oxford University Press.
World Resources Institute. (1994). World Resources 1994–95. Cambridge, UK: Oxford University Press.
About this article
Cite this article
Meyerson, F.A. Population, Development and Global Warming: Averting the Tragedy of the Climate Commons. Population and Environment 19, 443–463 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024622220962
- Carbon Emission
- Global Warming
- Future Climate Change
- Carbon Emission Reduction
- National Emission