CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research



En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Issues

CEPR monitors budget and tax issues related to energy and the environment.


The Consequences of Increased Population Growth for Climate Change

December 2014, David Rosnick

Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change

February 2013, David Rosnick

Public Investment, Industrial Policy and U.S. Economic Renewal
December 2009, Robert Pollin and Dean Baker

Bringing Home the Green Recovery: A User's Guide to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

March 2009, Shawn Fremstad, Radhika Fox and Jason Walsh

Oil Drilling and Automobile Fuel Economy: The Relative Impact on Oil Prices
September 2008, Dean Baker and Matthew Sherman

More >

Op-Eds & Columns

Fighting Climate Change with Taxpayer Dollars isn't a Fight against Freedom – it's a Fight against the End of the Planet

Dean Baker
The Guardian, June 9, 2014

The Texas-California Job Growth Derby

Dean Baker
Huffington Post (The Blog), March 24, 2014

Five Economic Policy Changes for 2014 That Could Boost Employment and Reduce Climate Disruption

Mark Weisbrot
Fresno Bee, January 23, 2014

Action to Curb Economic Inequality and Climate Change Must Top the List

Mark Weisbrot
Chicago Tribune, January 28, 2014
Huffington Post, January 28, 2014
Arizona Daily Star/ Tuscon, January 27, 2014
Harrisburg Sunday PATRIOT News, January 26, 2014
TULSA Sunday WORLD, January 26, 2014
South Bend Sunday Tribune (IN), January 26, 2014
Salt Lake City Sunday Deseret News, January 26, 2014 
Gainsville Sunday Times (GA), January 26, 2014
Rome Sunday News-Tribune (GA), January 26, 2014
Kokomo Sunday Tribune (IN), January 26, 2014
Lawton Sunday Constitution (OK), January 26, 2014
Willmantic Sunday Chronicle (CT), January 26, 2014 
LansingState Journal (MI), January 26, 2014
Sioux Falls Sunday ARGUS (SD), January 26, 2014
Redding Record Seasrlight (CA), January 26, 2014
Wapakoneta Daily News (OH), January 25, 2014
Salinas Californian(CA), January 25, 2014
Duluth News-Tribune, January 25, 2014
Doyleston Intelligencer (PA), January 24, 2014
New Bedford Standard-Times (MA), January 24, 2014
Baltimore Sun, January 23, 2014
Orlando Sentinal, January 23, 2014
Newport News Daily News , January 23, 2014
Bradenton Herald (FL), January 23, 2014 
Bellingham Hearld (WA), January 23, 2014  
Anchorage Daily News (AK), January 23, 2014 
Fresno Bee, January 23, 2014 
Island Packet/ Hilton Head(SC) , January 23, 2014 
Beaufort Gazette (SC), January 23, 2014 
Merced Sun-Star (CA), January 23, 2014 
Modesto Bee, January 23, 2014 
Hanover Evening Sun (PA), January 23, 2014 
 McClatchy DC.com, January 23, 2014 

Saving the Planet or 'Fixing' the Debt

Dean Baker
The Guardian Unlimited, November 8, 2012

More >


How Federal Reserve Policies Add To Hard Times At The Pump

From Cochabamba to Cancun: Press Breakfast with Pablo Solon

Press Releases

Slower Population Growth Could Significantly Reduce Carbon Emissions, Paper Finds

December 11, 2014

Contact: Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460

Washington, D.C.- A new research paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) offers more evidence that slower population growth could significantly reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. The paper, “The Consequences of Increased Population Growth for Climate Change” by economist David Rosnick, finds that 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 paper concludes, “the temperature change is greater and becomes increasingly sensitive to population growth.”

“There are many warnings of ‘demographic time bombs’ due to population declines in countries like Japan and even China,” Rosnick said. “But lower population growth actually has many economic benefits; one of the most important is that it reduces the rate of global climate change.”

The paper explains that “A larger population requires more farmland, and increased economic activity means greater carbon emissions and more intense climate change.”

The author employs the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) to estimate the effects of population growth on the change 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. 

While the author notes that technology or economics (such as reducing work hours) can produce a path of lower emissions, there also appears to be a significant climate benefit to slower population growth.

The paper notes: “There are many positive economic and social policies that can promote this transition to lower birth rates,” including “more security in old age; [t]he education of girls and women and increased economic opportunities for them, as well as affordable contraception and reproductive choice; lower infant and child mortality; [a]nd increased literacy, education levels, and productivity generally.” Moreover, the paper observes that reductions in population growth in high-income countries will have a greater impact on climate change reduction, due to “much higher per capita consumption and greenhouse gas emissions” in those countries. 

“Fears of ‘demographic crises’ from falling population growth rates in richer countries are dangerous, especially considering the implications for climate change,” Rosnick said. “In fact, not only can working-age populations continue to support larger numbers of retirees, but declining population rates are good for the planet as a whole.”


New Paper Projects Significant Carbon Emission Reductions with Fewer Work Hours

February 4, 2013

Analysis: Myth That Offshore Drilling Would Lower Gas Prices Gets Boost from Major Media
September 4, 2008

New Paper Suggests Bolivian Conflict Revolves Around Lopsided Control Over Land and Natural Gas
July 30, 2008    En español

New Report Raises Doubts About IMF Growth Projections
April 4, 2007

More >


Federal Reserve Board Policy and the Price of Oil
May 25, 2011, Testimony of Dean Baker before the Oversignt & Government Reform Committee

Other Resources

May 7-8, 2007, New York City
A North American Labor Assembly on Climate Crisis: Building a Global Movement for Clean Energy, Mark Weisbrot spoke at Cornell Global Labor Institute's conference

Bad Logic on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
March 9, 2007, Dean Baker's blog Beat the Press

CEPR Economics Seminar Series

Audio and video files of ten CEPR lectures on economic issues

Clean Energy Corps :Clean Energy Corps
Clean Energy Corps: Jobs, Service, and Equal Opportunity in America’s Clean Energy Economy
by Clean Energy Corps Working Group (featuring Dean Baker)

Reclaiming Development:Reclaiming Development
An Economic Policy Handbook for Activists and Policymakers
by Ha-Joon Chang and Ilene Grabel

Latest Press Hits

Combined Federal Campaign #79613