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Abstract

The globe is now inhabited by 6 billion people, twice as many as in 1960. Understanding the effects this population growth has on the environment will be paramount in developing policies that will mitigate the negative environmental effects. This report discusses the relationship between population and environmental change, the forces that mediate this relationship, and how population dynamics specifically affect climate change and land-use change. The author outlines both sides of the policy debate that have emerged — those who would limit fertility and population growth in the developing world and those who call for reduced consumption in the developed world. She concludes by calling for policymakers to pay increased attention to the role of population and forsake the search for one-step solutions to environmental problems.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Population Size: Trends and Environmental Implications

  • Chapter Three

    Population Distribution: Trends and Environmental Implications

  • Chapter Four

    Population Composition: Trends and Environmental Implications

  • Chapter Five

    Mediating Factors: Science and Technology, Institutions and Policy, and Culture

  • Chapter Six

    Specific Arenas of Interaction: Climate Change and Land-Use Change

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions and Implications

Book Review Excerpts

"Policy analysts studying interdisciplinary topics (such as population-environment issues) must synthesize research from various sources and fields into a policy-friendly and -relevant format. RAND's Population Matters project has undertaken this challenging task for policymakers on population issues. The Environmental Implications of Population Dynamics is Population Matters' first look at macro-level population and environment trends--and the implications these trends pose for policy at the local, national, and global levels… [It] is an exemplary sample of work targeted to a policy audience. Its recommendations are clear, concise, and easy to find within the text. Hunters' use of case studies and examples coupled with research and data provides analysts and policymakers all the tools they need for informed decisions. In addition, Hunter includes a useful list of references for those wanting to read more about population and environment linkages. The report is targeted specifically toward those doing policy work, but it would also be a useful tool for students wanting an introduction to the topic from a policy perspective."

- ECSP Report

"Aimed at policy makers but accessible to general readers, this study draws on environmental and demographic literature in order to assess the relationship between population dynamics and the environment. Chapters cover environmental effects of population size, distribution, and composition, then discuss possible mediating factors and climate change, concluding with discussions on implications of the findings."

- Reference & Research Book News

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. The work was conducted in the Population Matters project within RAND's Labor and Population unit.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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