Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2019

Chapter Seven - The Need For Technology To Fill The Gap

Naturally, examining the issue of population reduction is contentious - and very probably unrealistic. It is  not even entirely clear whether or not it would be successful since selecting the 'victims' would be a very difficult choice to make.  As history has shown, wars, pandemics and other social ills would not kill in sufficient numbers to 'solve' the climate crisis.  A global war followed by a  worldwide pandemic on a scale of The Black Death might approximate but the randomness of those affected could disrupt severely the functioning of civilisation and might even propel us into a new Dark Age where technologies are abandoned.  We cannot afford for this to happen.

A more humane approach to population number is to assume that the central U.N. projections of 0%p.a. for the West and 0.8%p.a. for the R.O.W. remain unassailable although by 2050 the total population figure could be 1bn less as a result of education and family planning measures.  We must, therefore, rev…

Chapter Six - Population Reduction

It is hard to imagine what events would kill off large segments of the population (P in The Kaya Identity).  Many people think that war would be one solution but in fact this has killed relatively few in the past.  World War I, for example, accounted for over 16 million deaths (10m military and 7m civilians) while World War II resulted in 70-85 million casualties (about 3% of the then 1940 world population of 2.3bn).

Leading Causes of Death

New diseases, surprisingly, also kill relatively few.  HIV has so far accounted for 70 million infections (mostly in sub-Saharan Africa) with 35 million deaths.  In 2018 this equated to 770,000 deaths.  Tuberculosis killed 1.6 million.  Influenza 646,000.  Malaria 435,000 each year with a predominance of children, which has motivated the Bill Gates Foundation to focus on this disease.  Poliomyelitis killed 350,000 in 1988 but today accounts for very few mortalities despite its reemergence.  Smoking, the cause of multiple diseases, kills 8 million e…

Chapter Five - The Relationship Between Economic Growth And Climate Change

To examine the relationship between economic growth and climate change we need to return to the Kaya Identity introduced in Chapter 1.  The two are related insofar as, unless low or zero carbon technologies are promoted, carbon emission reduction means economic growth constraint.

Global CO2 emissions disaggregated
Victor (2008), a Canadian environmental economist, divided the world into high income countries (HIC) and medium/low income countries (MIC/LIC) (roughly equivalent to the Annex A and non-Annex A countries of the Kyoto Protocol (1997)) or, for simplicity, the West and Rest Of the World (ROW) and used World Bank data to populate the following tables for historic average changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and related variables for the period 1972-2002.  He considered the key variables of CO2, Population, GDP/Capita, Energy/GDP and CO2/Energy.  In Table 5.1, the percentages refer to the amount the variable has increased or decreased per annum.
Table 5.1: Global CO2 emissio…