Demographic perspectives in research on global environmental change

Muttarak, R. ORCID: (2021). Demographic perspectives in research on global environmental change. IIASA Working Paper. Laxenburg, Austria: WP-21-001

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Human population is at the centre of research on global environmental change. On the one hand, population dynamics influence the environment and the global climate system through consumption-based carbon emissions. On the other hand, health and wellbeing of the population is already being affected by climate change. The knowledge on population dynamics and population heterogeneity thus is fundamental in improving our understanding of how population size, composition and distribution influence global environmental change and how these changes affect subgroups of population differentially by demographic characteristics and spatial distribution. Existing theoretical concepts and methodological tools in demography can be readily applied to the study of population and global environmental change but the topic has remained less central in demographic research. However, the increasing relevance of demographic research on the topic coupled with availability and advancement in data and computing facilities have contributed to growing engagement of demographers in this field. In the past couple of decades, demographic research has enriched climate change research both in the analysis of the impact of population dynamics on the global climate system as well as the impact of climate change on human population. The key contribution is in moving beyond the narrow view that population matters only in terms of population size but putting a greater emphasis also on population composition and distribution through presenting both empirical evidence and advanced population forecasting accounting for demographic and spatial heterogeneity. Whilst the research on how population dynamics influence the environmental and climate system is relatively advanced in recent years, what is missing in the literature is the study that investigates how global environmental change affect current and future demographic processes and consequently population trends. If global environmental change does influence fertility, mortality and migration, the three key demographic components underlying population change, population estimates and forecast need to adjust from the climate feedback in population projections. Indisputably, this is the new area of research that directly requires expertise in population science and contribution from demographers.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Migration and Sustainable Development (MIG)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2021 07:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:34

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