Greenhouse Gas Emission Drivers: Population, Economic Development and Growth, and Energy Use [March 5, 2010] [open pdf - 361KB]
"The interactions of three variables underlie debates on the issue of climate change and what responses might be justified: the magnitude and rates of change of (1) population, (2) incomes, and (3) intensity of greenhouse gas emissions relative to economic activities. This report examines the interrelationships of the variables to explore their implications for policies that address climate change. Both internationally and domestically, initiatives are underway both to better understand climate change and to take steps to slow, stop, and reverse the overall growth in greenhouse gas emissions, the most important of which is carbon dioxide (CO2), emitted by the combustion of fossil fuels. [...] This upward trend in greenhouse gas emissions runs counter to the long-term objectives of these climate change initiatives. This report identifies drivers of the increase in emissions and explores their implications for efforts to reduce emissions. During this exploration, it is useful to bear in mind that although short-term efforts may not achieve emissions reductions that immediately meet goals to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system, such endeavors may nevertheless establish a basis for longer-term efforts."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33970