skip to Main Content

Technology Is Not Enough: Climate Change, Population, Affluence, and Consumption

Mitchell, Ronald B.. 2012. Technology Is Not Enough: Climate Change, Population, Affluence, and Consumption. The Journal of Environment and Development, 21(1): 24-27.

Abstract

Reducing human emissions of carbon dioxide by 80% by 2100 requires more than technological innovation. Historical rates of emissions decline due to such innovation of about 0.7% are insufficient to offset the 3% growth in emissions that stems from population and per capita income growth. Existing scientific and political debates are dominated by a “technophilic optimism” that projects emission reductions from technological improvement that are not supported by the evidence. If we fail to develop policies proactively to constrain population, affluence, and consumption while respecting other human values, we will almost certainly face impacts from climate change that constrain population, affluence, and consumption for us.

You might like these publication categories

Recent publications

Climate Refugees: Global, Local and Critical Approaches

The last few years have witnessed a flurry of activity in global governance and international lawseeking to address the protection…

The Political Impact of the Sustainable Development Goals: Transforming Governance Through Global Goals?

Written by an international team of over sixty experts and drawing on over three thousand scientific studies, this is the…

The Normative Foundations of International Climate Adaptation Finance

Billions of dollars are annually transferred to poor nations to help them adapt to the effects of climate change. This…