Economic Growth and the Environment

Would pursuit of economic development as called for by the food security synthesis compromise the environment and contribute to global warming as massive carbon-based energy is used to fuel expanding economies? Numerous empirical estimates of environmental Kuznets curves indicate that environmental degradation increases as per capita income rises up to a turning point, after which degradation per capita falls (Meier and Rauch, 2000; Hervani and Tweeten, 2002). Economic growth also reduces population growth, eventually to a point where absolute population count falls. The turning point at which environmental damage begins to drop differs by environmental variable, but for several variables including petroleum energy, the turning point is at $15,000 to $20,000 of income per capita (Hervani and Tweeten, 2002). The environmental dilemma is how to get poor countries through the turning point to lower greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems without irreversibly damaging the environment in the process.

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