Another look at population and global warming
AbstractThe author addresses two questions: First, how much could feasible reductions in projected rates of population growth in the developing countries help reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Second, how much would it cost to ensure such reductions in population growth, compared with other options for reducing emissions? The answer to the first question is that reductions in population growth would matter, but not much. Based on current econometric estimates linking population growth to deforestation, feasible reductions in population growth could reduce emissions from deforestation (relative to what they otherwise would be) by 8 percent over the next 35 years. Feasible reductions in population growth rates could reduce fossil fuel emissions by about 10 percent. The percentage reductions, though substantial, are small relative to projections of a tripling or more in emissions under any baseline scenario in the next 50 years. Thus there is little basis for the view that the South could contribute to major reductions in global warming by taking new and stronger steps to reduce its population. The answer to the second question is that reducing population growth is cost-effective compared with other options to reduce emissions. The author estimates the costs of reducing carbon emissions by reducing births through increased spending on family planning at between $6 and $12 per ton; and by educating girls at between $4 and $8 per ton. These compare to a marginal cost of $20 per ton to reduce current emissions by 10 percent, using a carbon tax. Discounting reduces the cost advantage of the population reduction strategies over the tax, but does not eliminate them as a critical part of an overall global strategy to reduce emissions. The implication of the cost analysis is simple: The global negative externality represented by rapid population growth in developing countries provides a strong, new rationale for developed countries, in their own interests, to finance programs that would reduce population growth in developing countries. This is true even though feasible reductions in population growth would represent only a modest contribution to reducing greehouse gas emissions. Spending to reduce rates of population growth in developing countries makes sense as part of any optimal carbon reduction strategy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1020.
Date of creation: 30 Nov 1992
Date of revision:
Carbon Policy and Trading; Agricultural Research; Montreal Protocol; Environmental Economics&Policies; Energy and Environment;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anwar Shah & Bjorn Larsen, 2014.
"Carbon taxes, the greenhouse effect, and developing countries,"
Annals of Economics and Finance,
Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 353-412, May.
- Anwar Shah & Bjorn Larsen, 2008. "Carbon taxes, the greenhouse effect, and developing countries," CEMA Working Papers 583, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Shah, Anwar & Larsen, Bjorn, 1992. "Carbon taxes, the greenhouse effect, and developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 957, The World Bank.
- Thomas Sterner, 1989. "Oil Products in Latin America: The Politics of Energy Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 25-46.
- King, Elizabeth M. & Bellew, Rosemary T., 1989. "The effects of Peru's push to improve education," Policy Research Working Paper Series 172, The World Bank.
- King, Elizabeth M. & Lillard, Lee A., 1987. "Education policy and schooling attainment in Malaysia and the Philippines," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 167-181, April.
- Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
- Hyde, W.F. & Newman, D.H. & Sedjo, R.A., 1991. "Forest Economics and Policy Analysis," World Bank - Discussion Papers 134, World Bank.
- David Wheeler & Dan Hammer, 2010. "The Economics of Population Policy for Carbon Emissions Reduction in Developing Countries," Working Papers id:3231, eSocialSciences.
- Shi, Anqing, 2003. "The impact of population pressure on global carbon dioxide emissions, 1975-1996: evidence from pooled cross-country data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 29-42, February.
- Geisler, Charles & de Sousa, Ragendra, 2000. "From Refuge To Refugee: The African Case," Working Papers 12777, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
- L. Wexler, 1996. "Improving Population Assumptions in Greenhouse Emissions Models," Working Papers wp96099, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.