Dec 31, 1999
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.
Population Size: Trends and Environmental Implications
Population Distribution: Trends and Environmental Implications
Population Composition: Trends and Environmental Implications
Mediating Factors: Science and Technology, Institutions and Policy, and Culture
Specific Arenas of Interaction: Climate Change and Land-Use Change
Conclusions and Implications
"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."
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