December 2014, David Rosnick

This paper examines the impact of population growth on global climate change. The author employs the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) to estimate the effects of population growth on the global average temperature by 2100. Observing that a larger population supports a larger economy, which translates in close proportion into additional releases of carbon dioxide (CO2), the paper notes that global temperature should in any year be nearly linear in relation to the rate of growth when the rate of population growth is constant.

The paper finds that an additional 1 percentage point of population growth through the end of the century would coincide with about an additional 2 degrees Fahrenheit in average global temperatures. Over time, the temperature change is greater and becomes increasingly sensitive to population growth.

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