Relationship between carbon emissions and economic development: Case study of six countries

Cutlip, L. & Fath, B.D. ORCID: (2012). Relationship between carbon emissions and economic development: Case study of six countries. Environment, Development and Sustainability 14 (3) 433-453. 10.1007/s10668-011-9328-2.

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There is much discussion within the sustainable development community regarding climate stabilization and particularly, finding environmentally equitable ways to address emission reductions. Knowing the current level of emission is only one variable in this complex picture. While the rate of emissions is clearly a problem, the overall increase in GHG concentration in the atmosphere is ultimately the main driver of anthropogenic warming. Therefore, it is also important to understand the cumulative emissions, those which have taken us to the current condition. This research presents a case study of six countries to compare the emissions per capita and cumulative emissions during the past 200 years. It is known that carbon emissions are closely related to economic activities, but here we show that some countries have reached per capita emissions plateaus at different levels while others are still rising. Specifically, one approach toward socioeconomic development, in terms of energy-economy, reaches a plateau at 10 Mt carbon per person, which the United Kingdom and South Korea have attained. The US occupies another emission regime at 20 Mt carbon per person. Developing economies such as India and China are considerably below these levels, and unless they follow other integrated economic environmental solutions, they will continue to increase their per capita emissions during development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carbon emissions; Climate change; Cumulative emissions; Development; Economy; Per capita emissions
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Bibliographic Reference: Environment, Development and Sustainability; 14(3):433-453 (June 2012) (Published online 5 October 2011)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:22

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