BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 11 (UPI) — Global emissions of carbon dioxide could be significantly affected by changes in the growth and composition of the world’s population, a U.S. study says.
It is estimated the global population could rise by more than 3 billion people during the next 40 years, with most of that increase occurring in urban areas. A slowing of population growth, one path considered plausible by demographers at the United Nations, could contribute to significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a release from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said Monday.
“If global population growth slows down, it is not going to solve the climate problem, but it can make a contribution, especially in the long term,” lead author Brian O’Neill, an NCAR scientist, says.
Scientists, while accepting changes in population will have some effect on greenhouse gas emissions, have long debated how large that effect might be.
The researchers found that by 2050 slow growth paths could result in 16 percent to 29 percent of the emissions reductions believed necessary to avoid serious impacts on global temperatures.
The effect of slower population growth on greenhouse gas emissions would be even larger by the end of the century, they say.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.