Meiying Lin

Silver lining

Three decades ago, scholars still argued about how the rapid growth of the human population was under control and may not necessarily lead to a climate change, resource crisis or ecological disaster (Caffey. et al, 1990). No one is that optimistic about the population explosion or climate change any more. These two issues are currently the most urgent matter for any policy maker around the globe.

It is predicted that the world will witness over 9 million of population growth within the future five decades. This demographic trend will directly lead to the increase of energy consumption, CO2 emission or industrial pollution, severing global warming, changing climate pattern and hence jeopardising eco-balance.

Along with the increase population density, the population aging has been another serious issue especially in economic develop countries. The downside of aging is evident in literature: such as reducing workability, productivity and commercial of a economy entirely.

Although the population growth has directly impact to human activities and hence plays a defining role in greenhouse gas emission and power consumption, how aged group will impact the speed of climate change (and other issues) are almost unexplored in academic area. In a recent published paper “Population ageing, income growth and CO2 emission: Empirical evidence from high income OECD countries ” (Kamrul Hassan, 2015), the results show despite the harmful human activities to the environment and economy, this phenomenon (created by population growth) is self-limiting.15 develop sample countries have presented are in the downward sloping region of environmental Kuznets curve (EKC), indicating a decreasing trend in pollution and greenhouse gas emission. 10 countries are still at the upward sloping region, and once they reach the turning point on EKC, the CO2 emission will begin to drop. This means the aging population actually has a counterpart effect to the environmental effect and will reduce the climate change. This result provides insight to policy maker, to consider the trade-off between population growth and aging. Government should consider stopping the intervention to population aging, especially in these 15 sample countries. This study presents a solution to future population growth and its consequence. At a cost of reducing economic growth, the aging population could possibly reduce the global warming.

Similarly, global health expert at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, Hans Rosling, projected that if we only invest renewable and sustainable technology and control climate change, and if the energy is still resource sustainable, the world population growth may stop at 2050. These research results surprisingly show that human activities’ damage to the world is not inevitable. It is upon the current policy-maker to shift the growing trend of population to a stable level.

The environmental Kuznets curve is established from
Kuznet Curve which describes an inverted U-shape 
relationship between income inequality and economy 
(Kuznets, 1955).It is commonly used to analysis the 
effect to environment in relation to economic development. 


Daniel Caffey Walter Block, (1999),”POSTPONING ARMAGEDDON: WHY POPULATION GROWTH ISN’T OUT OF CONTROL”, Humanomics, Vol. 15 Iss 4 pp. 66 – 79

Kamrul Hassan , Ruhul Salim , (2015) “Population ageing, income growth and CO2 emission: Empirical evidence from high income OECD countries”, Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 42 Iss: 1, pp.54 – 67

Kuznets, S. (1955), “Economic growth and income inequality”, American Economic Review , Vol. 45 No. 1, pp. 1-28. 


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