Quotation Lutz, Wolfgang. 2017. How population growth relates to climate change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 114 (46), 12103-12105.




Currently, around 7.5 billion people live on our planet and scenarios for the future show a plausible range from 8.5 to over 12 billion before the population will level off or start to decline, depending on the future course of fertility and mortality (1, 2). These people will also have to cope with the consequences of climate change that may be in the range of 1.5 °C to more than 3 °C, depending on the scale of mitigation efforts. The paper by Scovronick et al. in PNAS on the “Impact of population growth and population ethics on climate change mitigation policy” (3) links these two global megatrends and asks how different population scenarios change the rationale for mitigation policies and vice versa. The paper shows convincingly that the answers depend on a rather abstract philosophical choice: namely, whether the goal is to maximize total utility (TU) or average utility (AU).


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
Citation Index SCI
WU-Journal-Rating new MAR-A+, VW-A
Language English
Title How population growth relates to climate change.
Volume 114
Number 46
Year 2017
Page from 12103
Page to 12105
Reviewed? Y
URL http://www.pnas.org/content/114/46/12103
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1717178114


Lutz, Wolfgang (Former researcher)
Institute for Statistics and Mathematics IN (Details)
Demography Group AB (Details)
Research Institute for Human Capital and Development FI (Former organization)
Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital SO (Former organization)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1162 Statistics (Details)
5404 Demography (Details)
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