China has the world's third largest. A simple way to analyze energy use in China is to use the accounting equation:. Thus, energy use is the product of population, per capita economic output, and energy intensity—that is, energy use per unit of output.
Chinese energy use in was percent of what it was in , while population was percent, GNP per capita percent, and GNP 97 percent of levels:. This analysis suggests that roughly two-thirds of the rapid increase in Chinese energy use was a result of economic development, and the rest was due to population increase. But a closer look at the relationship of energy use and GNP gives a different picture—one that puts much more emphasis on technology and its social control. China's energy use is a story not only of economic development, but also of persistently intensive energy use.
China's economy is far more energy-intensive than that of most other countries or, put another way, China gets much less economic output from each unit of energy. Tables and show that China's economy may be the most energy-intensive in the world. In terms of CO 2 emissions per unit of economic output, China is by far the world leader National Academy of Sciences, a.
The few available analyses of energy use in China suggest that its energy intensity has two main sources: industrialization and inefficiency. Industry is more energy-intensive than other productive sectors, and China devotes a greater proportion of its recorded energy consumption to industry and is more dependent on coal in that sector, than most other countries see Table This pattern may be traceable to a Stalinist development policy that.
The government, which determines production by directive rather than allowing it to respond to demand, is said to continue to command steel production, despite huge surpluses Smil, , and personal communication. The main reason for energy intensity, however, appears to be an inefficiency that has several contributing causes:. Inefficient End Uses Coal burning in China is typically done in small, old units owned by households or small enterprises—characteristics that spell inefficiency.
In the United States, 85 percent of coal is burned to generate electric power, at an average efficiency of 36 percent. By contrast, 22 percent of Chinese coal is converted to electric power, with an overall efficiency of only percent Kinzelbach, ; Xi et al. The bulk of Chinese coal is burned at still lower efficiencies, in industry 46 percent of coal use and for commercial and residential heating 26 percent.
Residential coal stoves often have only percent efficiency Xi et al. Adoption of more efficient furnaces and replacement of coal-fired space heating with combined heat and power installations proceed slowly for lack of capital. Price Structure Policy sets coal prices for the state-owned mines artificially low, below the cost of production.
Although the industry operates at a loss Xi et al. Many analysts see price as the key source of continuing. The Command Economy The practice of government-dictated production, combined with the price structure, allows highly inefficient enterprises to continue operating despite financial losses. Enterprises that could compete by using energy more efficiently do not have incentives to do so. Moreover, the system of production quotas encourages the shipment of uncleaned, unsorted coal with an energy value of 30 percent less than actual tonnage Smil, Such coal fulfills quotas easily, inflating production statistics by over Mt per year, but it strains the Chinese railroads, 40 percent of whose cars are devoted to moving coal; wastes fuel in transport; and results in substantial emissions of unburned particulates when the coal is used.
Table offers a rough guide to the amount of inefficiency a command economy can produce. Although data are available only for a few such economies, among these are four of the five least energy-productive economies in the world. The other large-population, low-income countries of the world, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, get 2. Although China cannot be expected to increase its energy productivity 2. The future of global climate change depends very much on how energy-intensive future Chinese development will be.
Between and , Chinese coal use—and CO 2 emissions—increased at the same rate as total economic output. If both continue to increase at the recent historic rate of 4 percent per year, the Chinese contribution to global CO 2 emissions will quadruple in less than 40 years and surpass that of the United States, presuming that the latter also follows recent trends.
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However, if future economic growth can be less energy-dependent than past growth has been, the picture would be quite different data from World Bank, ; Fulkerson et al. What determines whether economic growth will or will not increase CO 2 emissions? Historical data show that successful. Economic growth can proceed with decreasing energy intensity because of shifts of production from industrial to service sectors and adoption of more energy-efficient processes and technologies World Resources Institute and International Institute for Environment and Development, ; energy use per capita, however, has continued to increase in these countries World Bank, The future of China's energy use can be analyzed in the terms of the accounting equation: population growth, economic development, and changes in energy intensity or productivity.
A fourth factor—shifts from fossil fuels to other energy sources—is unlikely to have much influence in China for several decades unless there is a major international effort to promote such shifts. Population growth, barring wars, epidemics, and the like, is easier than the other variables to forecast, because it is driven mainly by the current age distribution and slowly changing fertility trends. Beyond a few decades, though, uncertainties increase: desired family size may change, as may population policy, which has recently been holding family sizes below the levels parents seem to prefer.
Forecasts for the year give a range of 1. Economic growth and energy intensity are closely interrelated and very difficult to forecast. The Chinese national growth plan calls for quadrupling GNP from to , but for coal use to increase only 2. There are tremendous uncertainties in predicting whether these goals can be met, even though Chinese energy use is certainly inefficient enough to allow this much technological improvement. Some observers believe the goals can be met only after continued economic liberalization, including price reform and market incentives, and political reforms that would overhaul wasteful management practices and attract needed foreign technology, expertise, and capital e.
The probability of such policy changes is notoriously uncertain, as the political events of in China. And given the current level of knowledge about the functioning of command economies, even if policy changes were known in advance, the success of their implementation, and therefore their precise effects on energy productivity, would be hard to predict. No one knows how the Chinese will use the fruits of future economic development. If they make major investments in energy productivity—for instance, modernizing the coal industry, using electricity to replace inefficient coal burning, and developing the service sector of the economy—much can be done to mitigate CO 2 emissions.
But other directions of investment, focusing on new manufacturing and expanded energy services such as refrigeration and personal transportation, would be much more energy intensive. If China makes a major shift toward market incentives, the decentralization of choice will promote efficiency in production, but it might also encourage energy-intensive consumption, as individuals gain disposable income. The net effect on energy intensity is still unknown. Another important unknown is whether government policies will emphasize energy efficiency and the global environment.
China already has policies to reduce coal use, but not in order to improve energy efficiency. The priorities are urban air pollution, freeing rail cars for noncoal cargo, and reduction of sulfur oxide emissions. These priorities encourage some energy-productive investments, such as combined heat and power plants that capture waste heat to warm buildings. But other important energy-productive investments do not fit these priorities. The future thrust of Chinese environmental policy depends, of course, on politics.
Current environmental policies have been set from the top down, influenced by the exposure of traveling Chinese officials to the environmental concerns of foreign scientists, international organizations, and investors Ross, If China turns inward to resist democratization, global concerns about energy efficiency may not influence Chinese policy for a long time.
If environmental politics in China decentralizes and democratizes, an opening will appear for local environmental movements, which have been prevented from forming horizontal linkages in the past Ross, Freedom for Chinese environmentalists, however, might lead to pressure for local changes, rather than for policies that improve energy efficiency nationally. In sum, the Chinese contribution to global climate change depends on the interactions of technology with social factors, including population growth, economic development, policy, and.
Scientists know much about the technical changes that could mitigate China's greenhouse gas emissions, but they have relatively little quantitative understanding of the social factors that make possible, and interact with, technological change. Enough is known to identify some of the critical determinants of Chinese energy intensity, but not to quantify their effects or specify their interactions.
That will require further research. For example, critical changes in policy, such as increased emphasis on market incentives and decentralized decision making, might greatly improve energy productivity. Studies of transitions to increased market control in other command economies might provide valuable knowledge for projecting the likely effects of such policy changes on energy efficiency in China. The future of Chinese energy demand also depends on changes in the structure of the Chinese economy and of consumer demand. Careful comparative studies of the social determinants of energy intensity and changes in energy intensity at the level of nation-states are critical for understanding and projecting China's future contribution to the greenhouse effect.
Clearing of tropical forests is generally considered to be the most important single cause of recent losses in the earth's biological diversity. It also accounts for about 15 percent of the effect of human greenhouse gas emissions. Clearing has been very extensive in recent years, and the disturbances are not readily reversible, as deforestation by indigenous slash-and-burn techniques had previously been Conklin, ; Nye and Greenland, ; Sanchez et al. The damage is now so extensive and severe as to preclude regeneration to original cover without special measures that are only now being developed Uhl et al.
The most widely used definition of biological diversity includes three levels: genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity Norse et al. Office of Technology Assessment, Deforestation reduces diversity at all three levels. Genetic diversity, or the diversity of genes within a species, provides the raw material for evolution, as it allows some individuals of a species to survive environmental changes that prevent other individuals from living or reproducing.
Species diversity, which refers to the many million species now estimated to exist on earth, is richest in the tropical forests, particularly in the Amazon Basin Erwin, Many of the Amazonian species are closely tied to particular forest ecosystems and tree species, so that they are very narrowly. Ecosystem diversity, that is, the existence of distinctive communities of species in different physical situations based on factors such as soil types or height above the river channel Prance, , is also great in the Amazon Basin, even between physical situations that look identical to the untrained eye.
Amazonian deforestation threatens these forms of biological diversity in many ways. Elimination of forests destroys the habitat of many species that are closely tied to particular trees or ecosystem types. Species whose habitats are not totally destroyed may become extinct when an insufficient number are left in the remaining habitat, or remaining patches do not contain the resources they need such as nest sites or food from a particular tree necessary to sustain the species.
Species may be eliminated because of ecosystem simplification, as when removal of a single species eliminates the many species dependent for their existence on the local population of that species, 1 or when cutting eliminates the cool, moist, windless microclimates of the forest interior that many species require. Diversity is vulnerable to drying of the regional climate, because evapotranspiration from the forest generates about half the rainfall in the Amazon Basin Salati and Vose, Road building, in addition to destroying the forest, increases access to it and facilitates further deforestation.
Deforestation favors species that occur only in highly disturbed areas, such as weeds, mosquitoes, and cattle, and that spread disease, compete with native organisms, and change the soil structure Denevan, Finally, much deforestation is a by-product of industries such as mining, which not only destroys the forest at the industrial site, but may also use large numbers of trees for fuel.
Deforestation reduces biological diversity in several ways. In general, the species hardest hit are likely to be the ones with large area requirements, narrow ranges, or value to humans for food, medicine, or timber, yet the entire taxonomic spectrum may suffer major losses. The threatened ecosystems provide regionally important services, such as creating soils, moderating temperatures, reducing soil erosion, cleaning the air and water, and preventing flood and drought Smith, The net effect on hu-.
Amazonian forest land is cleared for many purposes. Logging is a major industry, with four of the six states in the Brazilian Amazon Basin depending on wood products for more than 25 percent of their industrial output Browder, Other industries destroy forest both as an integral part of the manufacturing process and as a by-product.
For example, , hectares ha of forest per year are used to produce charcoal for iron smelting in the Gran Carajas region of Brazil Treece, Damming rivers to generate electricity for aluminum refining and for urban power inundates huge areas because of the low relief of the land. But the largest single source of Amazonian deforestation and the focus of this discussion is cattle raising, which now covers an estimated 72 percent of the cleared area Browder, The transformation of forest into inferior, rapidly degrading pasture was not inevitable.
It was strongly influenced by national policies and supported by international development agencies, which encouraged migration and land clearing through land-titling arrangements, provided a publicly financed infrastructure of roads, and established credit and tax incentives to benefit ranching. Given these institutional conditions and the presence of abundant, accessible, and relatively cheap land in the Amazon, individual actors made rational economic choices that furthered their own best interests and helped create a system with its own economic and social momentum that continues deforestation even after state incentives have been removed.
Road Building With support from the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank, and other international lending institutions, the Brazilian government improved and paved major north-south Belem-Brasilia and east-west Cuiaba-Porto Velho highways, hoping to tap the wealth of the Amazon, make minerals and timber accessible, and promote agricultural enterprises Fearnside, If, as the planners intended, settlers had migrated from the poor, drought-stricken northeast to settle along the trans-Amazon highway, they might have developed the area intensively, with permanent, smallholder farming and agroforestry, and limited deforestation.
But mass migration did not occur in the northeast, and much of the area was abandoned to pasture. Browder, ; Moran, , The opening of new lands and the relative absence of people favored extensive development, such as ranching, over intensive development. Land Tenure Rights For centuries, it has been the legal practice to grant rights of possession to whoever deforests a piece of Brazilian land.
Rights of ownership soon follow Fearnside, Squatters on public land can gain the rights to ha by living on it and using it, but ha is not sufficient for ranching. Ranchers often buy up the lots of failed farmers, and in it became possible for a company to acquire a tract of up to 66, ha Smith, Large individual and corporate ranchers can build their own access roads and lay claim to extensive plots far from major highways.
By the time roads are constructed, most state land in the Amazon is already claimed Binswanger, Brazilian land laws encourage both extensive holdings and extensive use. For instance, the constitution provides that land ''in effective use,'' that is, cleared, cannot be expropriated for the purpose of agrarian reform Hecht, b. Speculation Land holding has been a useful hedge against Brazil's galloping inflation and an excellent speculative investment.
This is four times what the laborer could hope to earn from ordinary farm work. The largest speculative gains accrue to large investors with good connections in government and the courts because the value of land is greatly influenced by "institutional factors such as validity of title, [and] access to credits" Hecht, b Financial Incentives from Government To encourage development in the Amazon, the Brazilian government made rural credit available to those with a land title or a certificate of occupancy at low, indeed at negative, interest rates.
The credits were so attractive that money flowed from the nonagricultural sector into extensive ranching Binswanger, Small farms were not taxed on land, large ones could reduce their already low taxes by converting forest to pasture or crops Binswanger, , and corporations could deduct up to 75 percent of the cost of approved development projects in the Amazon from their federal tax liability Browder, Corporations could also write off losses on Area-.
These incentives favored extensive enterprises and encourage livestock production even when returns from beef alone did not pay the cost of production. Fiscal incentives for livestock raising have largely dried up since , but the cattle population has continued to grow at an annual rate of 8 percent Schneider, , suggesting that profit can now be made without subsidies, partly from the appreciation of land values Binswanger, Livestock and Crop Economics The strategy that is generally most immediately profitable when land is plentiful and labor scarce is one of extensive and often transitory use.
An example is shifting cultivation, the predominant indigenous strategy of land use. Fire removes cut brush and trees, and there is no need to turn the soil, weed frequently, irrigate, drain, or terrace. Beef production demands even less work per unit output and, with the help of modern technology and fossil-fuel energy for clearing forests, can be much more extensive than shifting cultivation. Fattening cattle on grass requires little labor or expenditure on fencing and corrals, and no weeding.
Ranchers can take advantage of the highly productive first years after forest clearance to overstock the range and increase short-term profit. Such ranches, established with government subsidies, are now able to survive without them by marketing more timber from the land, selling beef to recent migrants to the new urban centers in the region, walking their cattle to market, and using new and better-adapted grass species and selectively bred cattle Schneider, Ideology, Politics, and Economics of Development Throughout much of the s and s, the Brazilian government with support from international financial institutions pursued a strategy of large-scale, capital-intensive development projects.
These often meant monocropping, relatively low labor inputs, mechanization, and the maximization of short-term financial returns. The strategy, elaborated in textbooks on development e. The international debt incurred in part to promote such development increased demands for rapid returns, high profits, and the production of exports to pay the interest.
Recently, disappointing economic returns, declining international aid, and an awareness of rapid ecological deterioration are becoming associated with changing priorities, and analysts in the World Bank and elsewhere are becoming critical of the old development philosophy Binswanger, ; Mahar, ; Schneider, However, the period witnessed stronger movements of population from the already settled hinterland to cities, combined with considerable natural increase in urban areas.
The decline in rural population density is reflected in the phrase, " Quando chega o boi, o homen sai, " When the cattle arrive, the men leave Browder, The extensive clearing of forest on the frontier reflects population pressure and food needs outside the local region, combined with a lack of population pressure locally Denevan, The Amazonian case illustrates the difference between intensive and extensive patterns of land use in tropical forests. Table provides a summary representation of the extremes of these patterns, presented as ideal types actual land use almost always has features of both types.
The Amazonian forest has long been inhabited by peoples that used a mixture of these strategies to support their economies. Indigenous groups combined relatively extensive strategies, such as temporary or shifting cultivation followed by natural forest regeneration and hunting and gathering of dispersed game, fish, and wild food plants, with more intensive farming of alluvial riverine and other soils of high, renewable fertility.
More recently, both native American Posey, ; Prance, and immigrant populations such as the rubber tappers have maintained the forest by a mixed-management strategy that mimics rather than replaces the biologically diverse natural environment Browder, The modern forms of land use most implicated in deforestation—cattle ranching, crop agriculture, and logging and other industrial uses—are extensive and rapidly expansive, market and capital dependent, specialized in one or a few commodities, and mechanized or labor saving. Some observers point to modern strat-.
High average yields, low variability, high diversity cereals, tubers, vegetables, trees, livestock. Low total inputs, seasonally variable, unskilled, high returns per hour, often hired. High total inputs, steady inputs throughout year, skilled, low returns per hour, often household. High, output sold, inputs largely purchased, national and international commodity markets. Subsistence combined with cash production, not totally dependent on market prices, some purchased inputs.
Private, land values speculative but initially low, legal access politically determined. Private and common property rights, land values high, inheritance important, legal protections. They claim that intensive, stable agricultural land use with a mixture of crops and livestock can be combined with labor-intensive efforts to maintain soil quality by careful, thorough tillage, agroforestry, manuring, terracing, irrigation, and drainage. Thus they can provide high, reliable, sustainable production from smallholdings with high inputs of household labor and little capital or fossil fuel energy.
These systems may also help preserve mature forest ecosystems from destruction by reducing development pressure on them Anderson, The potential for a future of less-extensive forest use in the Amazon Basin relates in part to land distribution. Inequality of land holdings in Brazil has increased greatly over the last few decades, with 70 percent of Brazilian farmers now landless and 81 percent of the farmland held by just 4. This pattern of increasing inequality also holds in the Amazon, making access to resources more difficult for subsistence farmers and hunters and gatherers and threatening indigenous land tenure systems based on communal rights Chernela, n.
Larger landholdings bring more extensive use. More intensive cultivation means that less forest must be displaced to meet human needs. Moreover, stable smallholders have an incentive to economize on land and keep it productive, so that land degradation can be slower with more intensive use. Thus, the current pattern of extensive development, by displacing indigenous peoples and small-scale extractors, has removed a brake on deforestation and threatens a store of valuable knowledge about the intensive management of forest species for human consumption.
There are barriers to a transition to a mixed-development strategy in the Amazon. One is the social change resulting from the current extensive strategy. Another is the politics of change.
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With rural poverty increasing and a political choice between dividing up large landholdings and encouraging the landless to colonize unclaimed or "unused" frontier lands, migration and resettlement policies are much the more palatable alternative Macdonald, And finally, there are intrinsic social limits. Extensive, extractive. In sum, the causes of Amazon deforestation lie partly in the same frontier conditions that have led to extensive land use in nineteenth century North America and elsewhere. In addition, development policy around the world has supported capital-intensive development of export monocultures.
The unique institutional and political history of Brazil has helped determine the particular development pattern there, a pattern significantly different from that of tropical forest development in Zaire or Indonesia Allen and Barnes, ; Brookfield et al. A key to the future of the forests lies in policy changes that could limit deforestation and extensive land use while increasing food production from existing agricultural areas. However, the social and economic changes brought about by Amazonian development have created barriers to making and implementing such policies.
The examples above illustrate how the proximate causes of global environmental change result from a complex of social, political, economic, technological, and cultural variables, sometimes referred to as driving forces. They also show that studies of driving forces and their relationships have been and can be done National Research Council, b; Turner, However, little of this research has been conducted on a global scale, for at least three important reasons: demand for such studies is a very recent phenomenon; relevant data at the global level are scarce; and social driving forces may vary greatly with time and place.
Consequently, much additional work is needed to support valid global generalizations. We distinguish five types of social variables known to affect the environmental systems implicated in global change: 1 population change, 2 economic growth, 3 technological change, 4 political-economic institutions, and 5 attitudes and beliefs.
Vocal arguments have been made for each of these as the exclusive, or the primary, human influence on global environmental change. In each instance, supportive evidence exists below the global level. Evidence at the global level, however, is generally insufficient either to demonstrate or dismiss claims that a par-. We briefly outline the evidence supporting and qualifying claims that each class of variable is an independent influence on global environmental change.
Our citations are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather to refer the reader to typical sources and critiques of claims about the importance of particular variables.
Globalization and Families: Accelerated Systemic Social Change
For many of the authors cited, links between key explanatory variables and global environmental change are only implicit; in such instances, we draw out the implications for global environmental change. We also outline some of the key unanswered but researchable questions regarding these driving forces.
Of all the possible driving forces of environmental change, none has such a rich history in Western thinking as population growth. Starting with Malthus, scholars have attempted to understand the effects of population growth on resource use, social and economic welfare, and most recently the environment.
Few debates in the social sciences have been so heated or protracted as that around the impacts of population growth. Clearly, each person in a population makes some demand on the environment and the social system for the essentials of life—food, water, clothing, shelter, and so on. If all else is equal, the greater the number of people, the greater the demands placed on the environment for the provision of resources and the absorption of waste and pollutants. Stated thus, the matter is a truism.
The source of controversy centers around more complex questions. Does all else remain equal in the face of population growth? Do simple increases in numbers account for most of the increase in environmental degradation in the modern world? Can population growth occur without major environmental damage? If not, is population growth a root cause of the degradation that follows, or merely an effect of more deeply underlying causes, such as changes in technology and social organization? Ehrlich and others Ehrlich, ; Ehrlich and Holdren, , ; Ehrlich et al.
They argue that the doubling of the world's population in about one generation accounts for a greater proportion of the stress placed on the global environment than has increased per capita consumption or inefficiencies in the production-. They do not hold that other factors are unimportant in placing stress on the earth's resources and on the biosphere, only that population growth must be considered primary, because if all other factors could be made environmentally neutral, population growth of this magnitude would still spur resource stress and environmental degradation.
Indeed, it is argued that once population has reached a level in excess of the earth's long-term capacity to sustain it, even stability and zero growth at that level will lead to future environmental degradation Ehrlich and Ehrlich, The critiques of this position are many. One strand of criticism argues that technological and socioeconomic factors are primary e. Another criticism comes from those who argue that population, though it may be a driving force of change, is not necessarily a driving force of degradation Boserup, ; Simon, ; Simon and Kahn, Rather, they view population growth as a driving force of improvement, which increases the capacity of society to transform the environment for the better, or as a reflection of society's success in improving the environment so as to support greater numbers.
These critics offer evidence from long sweeps of history, such as the relationships between major sociotechnical changes in society and global increases in population Deevey, ; Boserup, Others have suggested that these population increases are also associated with increasing global environmental change Whitmore et al. In addition to supporting individual studies, these bodies have devoted substantial resources to institutional development by subsidizing education, professional journals, and centers of excellence. The result has been impressive in building demography as a respected, interdisciplinary field within the social sciences, and in gaining knowledge of the causes of population growth.
As we note in Chapter 7 , this experience provides a useful model for advancing interdisciplinary social science research on global change. Research on the causes of population growth provides some useful insight into the causes of global change and strategies to deal with them. For example, current fertility and mortality patterns suggest that world population will continue to increase well into the next century. But if fertility declines as fast throughout.
This research helps clarify how much growth is more or less inevitable because of the momentum built into the age structure of the world population. Compared with research on the causes of population growth, very little research has been devoted to understanding its consequences for environmental quality. This is ironic, because it is concern with the consequences that motivates much support for research on the causes of growth. There is some research on the effects of population growth on economic growth and social welfare, though the topic is still subject to some controversy much of this literature is summarized in National Research Council, Only a handful of empirical studies have examined the effects of population growth on the environment, and many of these are quite dated [e.
As a result, it is difficult to assess just how important population may be as a driving force. For example, in a National Research Council study committee composed of economists and demographers concluded that slower population growth might assist less-developed countries in developing policies and institutions to protect the environment, but could find little empirical work on the link between population growth and environmental degradation National Research Council, We believe an extensive research program is needed to explicate the environmental consequences of population growth and provide a sounder basis for deciding what actions may be appropriate in response.
Such research should begin by acknowledging that the environmental consequences of population growth depend on other variables. For instance, a population increase of people with the standard of living and technological base of average North Americans in would use 35 times as much energy as an increase of the same number of people living at India's standards—and their respective effects on the global climate would be in roughly the same proportion.
The critical questions for research, then, are about the conditions determining the environmental effect of a projected population increase at a particular place and time. What are the multipliers that represent the environmental impacts of a new person in a particular year and coun-. To what extent are multipliers such as annual income or annual distance traveled constant for a country, and to what extent are they contingent on other factors that may change over time, such as the manufacturing intensiveness or energy supply mix of the country's economy or the country's policies on income distribution or energy development?
Global economic growth, defined as increases in the measured production of the world's goods and services, is likely to continue at a rapid rate well into the future. The human impulse to want more of the material things of life appears to be deep-seated, and the areas of the world in which people are most lacking in material goods are those with the greatest—and most rapidly increasing—population.
Assuming United Nations and World Bank projections for world population to double to about 10 billion in about 50 years, with 90 percent or more of that growth occurring in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and assuming that per capita income grows 2. Under these conditions the relative gap between per capita income in developing and developed countries would narrow, but the absolute gap would increase substantially. To the extent that per capita income aspirations in the developing countries are driven by comparison of their incomes with those in developed countries, aspirations for additional income growth in the developing countries may be even stronger in 50 years than they are now.
Increased income or economic activity as measured by such indicators as gross national product is not, of course, equivalent to increased well-being.
Globalization and Families: Accelerated Systemic Social Change
There is considerable debate in the economic literature on how to measure welfare, focused on such questions as how to count things people value that are not traded in markets and whether expenditures for pollution control should be considered an addition or a subtraction from net welfare e. Although these questions are very important for analyzing human-environment interactions, most current analyses of the effects of economic growth and environmental quality are based on conventional definitions of economic activity. Economic activity has long been a major source of environmental change and, for the first time in human history, economic activity is so extensive that it produces environmental change at the global level.
The key issues concern the extent to which current and future economic activity will shape the proximate causes of global change. The production and consumption of goods and services is bound by a fundamental natural law—the conservation of matter. Whatever goes into production and consumption must come out, either as useful goods and services or as residual waste materials. Since the conversion of inputs to useful outputs is never entire, it is fair to say economic activity inevitably stresses the environment by generating residual wastes.
Wastes must be disposed of somewhere in the environment. Economists note that disposal presents no important social problem if it is managed to reflect its true social costs and to be equitable in the sense that the costs are borne by those who generate the residuals. However, true social costs can be very difficult to determine, especially when wastes alter biogeochemical processes that are poorly understood. And when the wastes are released to the atmosphere, rivers, and oceans, it is difficult to ensure that those who generate the waste pay the costs.
The problem of defining social cost and the separation of those who generate the costs of waste disposal from those who bear them are the keys to the waste-induced environmental problem Kneese and Bower, Economic growth also depletes the stock of nonrenewable natural resources such as coal, oil, natural gas, and metallic minerals and, in some cases, the stock of renewable resources as well, as when the rate of soil erosion exceeds the rate of restoration of soil and nutrients.
Environmental degradation follows when extraction disturbs land or biota and when resource use generates wastes. Economic growth may also destroy aspects of the natural landscape, for example, pristine wilderness areas or vast geological features such as the Grand Canyon. Continued use of depletable resources will create economic pressure to develop renewable energy resources, expanded recycling, and substitute materials see, e.
Depletion of nonrenewable resources need not threaten long-run economic growth if management of the resources takes adequate account of their future value and the likelihood of finding substitutes. This condition may be easier to meet than the condi-. Property rights are relatively easy to establish because, unlike in the atmosphere and the oceans, nonrenewable resources are localized, spatially well defined, and fixed in place.
But markets in nonrenewable resources are no panacea for the environmental effects of minerals extraction or fossil energy use. Current markets have no sure way to anticipate, and therefore reflect, the value future generations will put on the depleted resources.
This is the issue of intergenerational equity in resource management, and there are strong arguments that markets cannot deal adequately with the issue Sen, ; Weiss, ; MacLean, The values future generations will hold can only be guessed at, drawing on human experience so far. Given this uncertainty, most analysts advocate more cautious resource management than what current market signals indicate. So economic growth necessarily stresses the environment directly by increasing quantities of wastes and indirectly by depleting resources.
However, the relationship between economic growth and environmental stress is not fixed. The key analytic questions concern the conditions under which a given amount of present or future economic growth produces larger or smaller impacts on the environment.
Several conditions apply. It matters which pattern of goods and services is produced. An economy heavily weighted toward services appears to generate fewer wastes and less resource depletion per unit of output than one weighted toward manufactured goods. Experience so far indicates that consumption patterns shift toward services as per capita income rises, suggesting that the process of growth itself may induce less than proportional increases in environmental stress.
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It seems that past some point, consumers use their economic resources to purchase well-being that is decreasingly dependent on material goods see Inglehart, If the historic pattern holds, future economic growth in the low-income developing countries will be materials and energy intensive for quite some time before a transition to a service economy sets in. But this projection is uncertain because of incomplete knowledge about the causes of that transition and the ways it might be altered by deliberate action.
Other shifts in economies can also change the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality. Per capita. Waste management based on recycling, redesign of production processes, and the treatment of the wastes of one process as raw materials for another can reduce the environmental impact of economic activity e. Office of Technology Assessment, ; Friedlander, And an observed trend in the United States, in which the main source of pollution has shifted from production activities to consumption activities, has effects on the overall economy-environment relationship that are not yet clear Ayres and Rod, ; Ayres, The environmental effect of economic growth may also depend on forms of political organization.
The comparison of emissions of CO 2 and pollutants in Eastern and Western Europe suggests that democratic countries may be able to deal more effectively with the effects of wastes than nondemocratic countries. When people who feel the effects, or become concerned about the effects on others, have ready access to political power, their concerns may possibly have more influence on policy. If this hypothesis is correct, then political trends toward democracy, such as in Eastern Europe, will tend to reduce the amount of degradation resulting from economic growth there.
National policies also help determine the environmental costs of economic growth. In many developing countries, policies have favored extensive use of ''unused'' resources and "underpopulated" land to increase national power and improve the welfare of their citizens. Countries such as the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Australia had such policies during rapid development phases, and other countries have followed the example.
This model of development through frontier occupation and rapid creation of wealth required cheap food and raw materials from rural areas, an infrastructure of roads and transport to open up these areas, and huge infusions of capital for enterprises and settlement. An alternative development model generates increased production per unit of land by agricultural intensification rather than by extensive land uses such as shifting agriculture or ranching Boserup, ; Turner et al.
Development of this kind can be carried out in a sustainable manner Conway and Barbier, ; Sublet and Uhl, The effects of economic development on the proximate causes of global change appear to be contingent, among other things, on. However, the nature of these contingent relationships, particularly the relationships between policy and the other variables, is not understood in detail. Research is critically needed on the ways consumer demand changes as income increases, the effects of national policies on patterns of production and consumer demand, the effects of agricultural intensity on economic growth and the environment, and the causes of shifts from more to less energy-and materials-intensive economies.
These questions call for research both within and across the boundaries of disciplines and academic specialties. Technological change affects the global environment in three ways. First, it leads to new ways to discover and exploit natural resources. Second, it changes the efficiency of production and consumption processes, altering the volume of resources required per unit of output produced, the effluents and wastes produced, and the relative costs and hence the supply of different goods and services.
Third, different kinds of technology produce different environmental impacts from the same process e. Some technologies have surprising and serious secondary impacts, as the history of refrigeration illustrates see also Brooks, In one view, technological development tends to hasten resource depletion and increase pollutant emissions.
Interview with Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim on Individualization – Theory, Culture & Society
In this view, technology as currently developed is a Faustian bargain, trading current gain against future survival e. Modern technology is seen as a much more significant contributor to environmental degradation than either population or economic growth. One reason is that modern technological innovation progresses much faster than knowledge about its damaging effects, both because the effects are intrinsically difficult to understand and because the powerful economic interests that benefit from new technologies influence research agendas to favor knowledge about the benefits over knowledge about the costs Schnaiberg, Three arguments are advanced to oppose or qualify the Faustian theme.
In the first, technology's contribution to environmental change is deemed relatively unimportant Ehrlich and Holdren, In the second, technological innovation and adoption are. The third argument is that technological change is a net benefit to the environment because it can ameliorate environmental damage through more efficient resource use and the lessening of waste emissions e.
These contradictory arguments, all plausible, can be weighed only by research that is specific e. For instance, technological progress is affected by the relative prices of energy, materials, and labor, with inventors and entrepreneurs having a built-in incentive to develop technologies that economize on the more expensive factors of production.
As a result, technological development starting in countries with low-cost energy will be more energy intensive than technologies developed in countries in which energy is expensive and therefore more likely to have negative environmental effects. The effects of technology on the environments of poor countries may reflect the fact that much of the technological innovation adopted in poor countries originated in rich countries, which face different economic and environmental problems.
National economic policies, as well as environmental and energy policies, can favor particular kinds of technological innovation and thus hasten or forestall environmental degradation. In the United States, debates about apportioning government energy research funds between nuclear, fossil, conservation, and renewable energy development have always been, in part, debates about the effect of these technologies on the environment. And the environmental effects of technology look quite different depending on the time scale being considered or the state of environmental knowledge when the analysis is done.
For example, the environmental effects of refrigeration technology look much different now than they would have looked in an analysis done in the s. As with other human influences on the global environment, the effects of technology are likely to be contingent on the other driving forces.
Consequently, research on the effects of technology on global change will need to consider the social context. Several critical topics for research are obvious: one involves com-. Such studies should be specific at first, focusing on the alternatives available in a particular place and time, and should examine the technologies as they are implemented in actual social systems rather than under idealized conditions.
Another involves diffusion of production technologies across national boundaries, particularly from more-developed to less-developed countries: How do the environmental impacts differ between the innovating countries and the adopting countries, and how do the differences depend on the social organizations using the technologies e. We have a dedicated site for Germany. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected through economic integration, technology, communication, and political transformation, the sphere of the family is a fundamental arena where globalizing processes become realized.
For most individuals, family in whatever configuration, still remains the primary arrangement that meets certain social, emotional, and economic needs. It is within families that decisions about work, care, movement, and identity are negotiated, contested, and resolved. Globalization has profound implications for how families assess the choices and challenges that accompany this process.
Families are integrated into the global economy through formal and informal work, through production and consumption, and through their relationship with nation-states. Moreover, ever growing communication and information technologies allow families and individuals to have access to others in an unprecedented manner. These relationships are accompanied by new conceptualizations of appropriate lifestyles, identities, and ideologies even among those who may never be able to access them.
Despite a general acknowledgement of the complexities and social significance inherent in globalization, most analyses remain top-down, focused on the global economy, corporate strategies, and political streams. This limited perspective on globalization has had profound implications for understanding social life. The impact of globalization on gender ideologies, work-family relationships, conceptualizations of children, youth, and the elderly have been virtually absent in mainstream approaches, creating false impressions that dichotomize globalization as a separate process from the social order.
Moreover, most approaches to globalization and social phenomena emphasize the Western experience. These inaccurate assumptions have profound implications for families, and for the globalization process itself.