With more and more evidence validating the climate change hypothesis, the global energy-environment problem is unfolding. The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is inextricably related to economic output, as measured by GDP. We show the exact correlations between GDP, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions for the entire world, both across time and cross-sectionally. The energy consumption, which has expanded substantially since 1970, is the intermediating link between total GDP and total emissions. Although energy consumption per GDP unit has decreased, the increase in GDP is more than sufficient to ensure that energy consumption per capita continues to rise. The findings presented here are unmistakable: Reducing energy consumption would result in a halt in economic growth, as GDP affects overall energy consumption, which in turn decides total CO2 equivalent emissions to a great extent.
University of Freiburg, Germany.
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