Umm, George?

But that is changing rapidly, as the middle class expands and economic growth continues to barrel along at gobsmacking rates. For years, environmentalists have speculated about what would happen if consumption in the poor world matched consumption in the rich, talking of the number of planets that would be required to sustain us. Now the great experiment has begun.

Why speculate? Why not read the report that studies this?

In the A1 scenario family, demographic and economic trends are closely linked, as affluence is correlated with long life and small families (low mortality and low fertility). Global population grows to some nine billion by 2050 and declines to about seven billion by 2100. Average age increases, with the needs of retired people met mainly through their accumulated savings in private pension systems.

The global economy expands at an average annual rate of about 3% to 2100, reaching around US$550 trillion (all dollar amounts herein are expressed in 1990 dollars, unless stated otherwise). This is approximately the same as average global growth since 1850, although the conditions that lead to this global growth in productivity and per capita incomes in the scenario are unparalleled in history. Global average income per capita reaches about US$21,000 by 2050. While the high average level of income per capita contributes to a great improvement in the overall health and social conditions of the majority of people, this world is not necessarily devoid of problems. In particular, many communities could face some of the problems of social exclusion encountered in the wealthiest countries during the 20 th century, and in many places income growth could produce increased pressure on the global commons.

Energy and mineral resources are abundant in this scenario family because of rapid technical progress, which both reduces the resources needed to produce a given level of output and increases the economically recoverable reserves. Final energy intensity (energy use per unit of GDP) decreases at an average annual rate of 1.3%. Environmental amenities are valued and rapid technological progress "frees" natural resources currently devoted to provision of human needs for other purposes. The concept of environmental quality changes in this storyline from the current emphasis on "conservation" of nature to active "management" of natural and environmental services, which increases ecologic resilience.

It´s not like you can say that you don´t believe this. It is, after all, the very basis of the IPCC report on climate change itself.

2 thoughts on “Umm, George?”

  1. Just because it’s in the IPCC report, it doesn’t follow that it can or will happen this way.

    “in many places income growth could produce increased pressure on the global commons.”
    That’s the nub of it. 3% growth per annum until 2100 is more than likely a pipe dream, whatever the IPCC says.

  2. Human welfare would be better off under A1FI with or without climate change.

    GDP/capita of developing countries in 2100 for A1FI = $66,500 less 10% for high damages scenario global warming = $60,000. Projected warming is 4C
    For B1 (EU’s preference) = $40,000 not incl. GW damages. Projected warming is 2.1C.

    Figures courtesy of Indur Goklany – ‘The improving state of the world’ page 308.

    We are better off pursuing ‘the American way’ and through an optimal carbon tax trying to eat into that 10% cost.

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