Human drivers of national greenhouse-gas emissions


Centuries of speculation about the causes of human stress on the environment is now being disciplined with empirical evidence, including analyses of differences in greenhouse-gas emissions across contemporary nation states. The cumulative results can provide useful guidance for both climate projections and for policy design. Growing human population and affluence clearly contribute to enhanced environmental stress. Evidence does not support the argument for amelioration of greenhouse-gas emissions at the highest levels of affluence. However, the role of other factors, such as urbanization, trade, culture and institutions remains ambiguous.

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E.A.R. was partially supported by the Boeing Environmental Sociology Professorwhip. T.D. was partially supported by AgBio Research of Michigan State University. We thank R. Kelly for her overall assistance and S. Bryant for a close reading of the manuscript.

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Rosa, E., Dietz, T. Human drivers of national greenhouse-gas emissions. Nature Clim Change 2, 581–586 (2012).

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