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  • 1. People andthe planetApril 2012
  • 2. People and the planetThe Royal Society Science Policy Centre report 01/12Issued: April 2012 DES2470ISBN: 978-0-85403-955-5© The Royal Society, 2012Requests to reproduce all or part of thisdocument should be submitted to:The Royal SocietyScience Policy6 – 9 Carlton House TerraceLondon SW1Y 5AGT +44 20 7451 2500E science.policy@royalsociety.orgW royalsociety.orgCover image: Earth’s city lights shows how human-made lights highlight particularly developed or populated areas of the Earth’ssurface. The brightest areas of the Earth are the most urbanized, but not necessarily the most populated. (Compare western Europewith China and India.) Cities tend to grow along coastlines and transportation networks. Even without an underlying map, the outlinesof many continents are still visible. The United States interstate highway system appears as a lattice connecting the brighter dots ofcity centers. In Russia, the Trans-Siberian railroad is a thin line stretching from Moscow through the center of Asia to Vladivostok. TheNile River, from the Aswan Dam to the Mediterranean Sea, is another bright thread through an otherwise dark region.Data courtesyMarc Imhoff of NASA GSFC and Christopher Elvidge of NOAA NGDC. Image by Craig Mayhew and Robert Simmon, NASA GSFC.Original version available at
  • 3. ContentsPresident’s foreword.......................................4 Chapter 5 – ellbeing of people W and the planet................................83Membership of Working Group.......................5 5.1 Pathways towards sustainable development...............................83Summary and recommendations.....................7 5.2 Human wellbeing...........................................84 5.3 Changing consumption patterns...................86Chapter 1 – ntroduction............................... 11 I 5.4 Demography for wellbeing............................911.1 The evidence.................................................. 11 5.5 Planning for change.......................................951.2 The challenges............................................... 11 5.6 Conclusions....................................................991.3 The search for solutions................................. 12 1.4 The future....................................................... 13 Chapter 6 – onclusions and C1.5 About this report............................................ 14 recommendations.................... 101 6.1 Human impact on the earth......................... 101Chapter 2 – A diverse world.......................... 15 6.2 Consumption, population and equality........ 1012.1 Introduction.................................................... 15 6.3 Migration, urbanisation and ageing.............1032.2 Demography – a basic introduction............... 15 6.4 Education.....................................................1032.3 Recent population trends...............................20 6.5 The role of science and technology.............1032.4 Population challenges and opportunities......35 6.6 Economic governance.................................1042.5 Conclusions....................................................45 6.7 Road map.....................................................105 Chapter 3 – onsumption..............................47 C References................................................... 1073.1 Introduction....................................................47 3.2 What is consumption and Acknowledgements...................................... 125 why does it matter..........................................47 3.3 Material consumption patterns......................49 Glossary....................................................... 1263.4 Drivers of consumption..................................573.5 Conclusions....................................................62 Appendix 1 Details of evidence received................................ 128Chapter 4 – finite planet............................63 A4.1 Introduction....................................................63 Appendix 24.2 Natural capital and ecosystems.....................63 Country groupings............................................... 1324.3 Trends in environmental change due to population and consumption.........................654.4 Modelling human environmental impact.......684.5 finite planet?...............................................69 A4.6 Will markets and technology neutralise environmental constraints?............................724.7 Conclusions....................................................82 People and the planet 3
  • 4. President’s foreword Sir Paul Nurse FRS Rapid and widespread changes We hope this report, the Royal Society’s first in the world’s human population, substantive offering on this topic, will be a coupled with unprecedented springboard for further discussion and action by levels of consumption present national and international Governments, scientific profound challenges to human bodies, non-governmental organisations, the media health and wellbeing, and the and many others. natural environment. I would like to thank Sir John Sulston FRS, the The combination of these Working Group and the Society’s staff for making factors is likely to have far reaching and long-lasting sense of such a complex set of topics. I would also consequences for our finite planet and will impact on like to thank the many people who contributed future generations as well as our own. These impacts throughout the project, including Council’s Review raise serious concerns and challenge us to consider Panel, who have all helped to bring clarity to these the relationship between people and the planet. It is enduringly important issues. not surprising then, that debates about population have tended to inspire controversy. This report is offered, not as a definitive statement on these complex topics, but as an overview of the impacts of human population and consumption on Paul Nurse the planet. It raises questions about how best to seize President of the Royal Society the opportunities that changes in population could bring – and how to avoid the most harmful impacts.4 People and the planet
  • 5. Membership of Working GroupThe members of the Working Group involved in producing this report were as listed below. The WorkingGroup Members acted in an individual and not an organisational capacity and declared any potential conflictsof interest. The Working Group Members contributed to the project on the basis of his or her own expertiseand good judgment. Chair Sir John Sulston FRS Chair of the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation, University of Manchester Members Sir Patrick Bateson FRS Emeritus Professor of Ethology, University of Cambridge Professor Nigel Biggar Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, University of Oxford Professor Cai Fang Director of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Professor Suzana Cavenaghi Council member and ex-President of the Latin America Population Association, Brazil Professor John Cleland CBE FBA Professor of Medical Demography, London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine Dr Joel Cohen Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor, Laboratory of Populations, Rockefeller University and Columbia University, USA Sir Partha Dasgupta FBA FRS Professor of Economics, University of Cambridge Professor Parfait M Eloundou-Enyegue Associate Professor Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, and Associate Director of Cornell Population Program Professor Alastair Fitter FRS Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of York Professor Demissie Habte President of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences Professor Sarah Harper Director of Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, University of Oxford Professor Tim Jackson Director of the Research Group on Lifestyles, Values and Environment, University of Surrey Professor Georgina Mace CBE FRS Professor of Conservation Science, Imperial College London Professor Susan Owens OBE FBA Professor of Environment and Policy, University of Cambridge Jonathon Porritt CBE Co-founder, Forum for the Future Professor Malcolm Potts Bixby Professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA Professor Jules Pretty OBE Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Environment and Society, University of Essex Professor Faujdar Ram Director International Institute for Population Sciences Professor Roger Short FRS Honorary Professorial Fellow in Reproductive Biology, University of Melbourne, Australia Sarah Spencer CBE Deputy Director, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford Professor Zheng Xiaoying Director of Population Institute, Peking University and Vice Chairman of Chinese Population Dr Eliya Zulu Executive Director, African Institute for Development Policy and Past President, Union for African Population Studies People and the planet 5
  • 6. Review Panel This report has been reviewed by an independent panel of experts before being approved by the Council of the Royal Society. The Review Panel members were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of the report but to act as independent referees of its technical content and presentation. Panel members acted in a personal and not an organisational capacity and were asked to declare any potential conflicts of interest. The Royal Society gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the reviewers. Dame Jean Thomas DBE FRS Biological Secretary (Review Panel Chair) Professor David Fowler FRS Centre for Ecology Hydrology, Edinburgh Professor Charles Godfray FRS Hope Professor, Department of Zoology, Oxford University Sir Brian Greenwood CBE FRS Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine, London School of Hygiene Tropical Medicine Rainer Münz Head of Research and Development, Erste Bank, Vienna, and Senior Fellow, Hamburg Institute of International Economics Professor Fred Sai Director, Medical Services and Professor of Community Health, Ghana; Senior Population Advisor, World Bank Alex de Sherbinin Senior Staff Associate for Research, Center for International Earth Science Information, Columbia University Sir Alan Wilson FBA FRS Professor of Urban and Regional Systems, UCL Science Policy Centre Staff Marie Rumsby Policy Adviser Dr Nick Green Head of Projects Ruth Cooper Senior Policy Adviser Rachel Garthwaite Senior Policy Adviser, Environment, Energy and Climate Change (to January 2012) Ian Thornton Policy Adviser (December 2010 to September 2011) Interns Claire Chivers, Marie-Claire Hawthorne, Yassine Houari, Hannah James, Francesco Migneco, Robert Stiff, Nuria Vazquez6 People and the planet
  • 7. S UMMARYSummaryThe 21st century is a critical period for people and the and at different rates. Countries such as Iran andplanet. The global population reached 7 billion during South Korea have moved through the phases of this2011 and the United Nations projections indicate transition much more rapidly than Europe or Norththat it will reach between 8 and 11 billion by 2050. America. This has brought with it challenges differentHuman impact on the Earth raises serious concerns, from those that were experienced by the moreand in the richest parts of the world per capita developed countries as they reached the late stagesmaterial consumption is far above the level that can of the sustained for everyone in a population of 7 billionor more. This is in stark contrast to the world’s 1.3 Population is not only about the growing numbersbillion poorest people, who need to consume more of people: changes in age structure, migration,in order to be raised out of extreme poverty. urbanisation and population decline present both opportunities and challenges to human health,The highest fertility rates are now seen primarily in wellbeing and the environment. Migrants oftenthe least developed countries while the lowest fertility provide benefits to their countries of origin, throughrates are seen in the more developed countries, remittances, and to their host countries by helpingand increasingly in Asia and Latin America. Despite to offset a workforce gap in ageing populations.a decline in fertility almost everywhere, global Current and future migration will be affected bypopulation is still growing at about 80 million per environmental change, although lack of resourcesyear, because of the demographic momentum may mean that the most vulnerable to theseinherent in a large cohort of young people. The global changes are the least able to migrate. Policy makersrate of population growth is already declining, but should prepare for international migration and itsthe poorest countries are neither experiencing, nor consequences, for integration of migrants and forbenefiting from, this decline. protection of their human rights.Population and consumption are both important: Developing countries will be building the equivalentthe combination of increasing global population of a city of a million people every five days fromand increasing overall material consumption has now to 2050. The continuing and rapid growth ofimplications for a finite planet. As both continue to the urban population is having a marked bearingrise, signs of unwanted impacts and feedback (eg on lifestyle and behaviour: how and what theyclimate change reducing crop yields in some areas) consume, how many children they have, the typeand of irreversible changes (eg the increased rate of employment they undertake. Urban planning isof species extinction) are growing alarmingly. The essential to avoid the spread of slums, which arerelationship between population, consumption and highly deleterious to the welfare of individuals andthe environment is not straightforward, as the natural societies.environment and human socioeconomic systemsare complex in their own right. The Earth’s capacity The demographic changes and consumption patternsto meet human needs is finite, but how the limits described above lead to three pressing challenges.are approached depends on lifestyle choices andassociated consumption; these depend on what is First, the world’s 1.3 billion poorest people needused, and how, and what is regarded as essential for to be raised out of extreme poverty. This is criticalhuman wellbeing. to reducing global inequality, and to ensuring the wellbeing of all people. It will require increased perDemographic change is driven by economic capita consumption for this group, allowing improveddevelopment, social and cultural factors as well as nutrition and healthcare, and reduction in family sizeenvironmental change. A transition from high to in countries with high fertility rates.low birth and death rates has occurred in variouscultures, in widely different socio-economic settings, Summary. People and the planet 7
  • 8. SU M M A RY Second, in the most developed and the emerging Science and technology have a crucial role to play economies unsustainable consumption must be in meeting these three challenges by improving urgently reduced. This will entail scaling back or radical the understanding of causes and effects (such as transformation of damaging material consumption and stratospheric ozone depletion), and in developing emissions and the adoption of sustainable technologies, ways to limit the most damaging trends (such as and is critical to ensuring a sustainable future for all. enhancing agricultural production with reduced At present, consumption is closely linked to economic environmental impact). However, attention must models based on growth. Improving the wellbeing be paid to the socio-economic dimensions of of individuals so that humanity flourishes rather than technological deployment, as barriers will not be survives requires moving from current economic overcome solely by technology but in combination measures to fully valuing natural capital. Decoupling with changes in usage and governance. economic activity from material and environmental throughputs is needed urgently for example by Demographic changes and their associated reusing equipment and recycling materials, reducing environmental impacts will vary across the globe, waste, obtaining energy from renewable sources, meaning that regional and national policy makers and by consumers paying for the wider costs of their will need to adopt their own range of solutions to consumption. Changes to the current socio-economic deal with their specific issues. At an international model and institutions are needed to allow both people level, this year’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable and the planet to flourish by collaboration as well as Development, the discussions at the UN General competition during this and subsequent centuries. This Assembly revisiting the International Conference on requires farsighted political leadership concentrating Population and Development (ICPD+20) scheduled on long term goals. for 2014/2015 and the review of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 present opportunities Third, global population growth needs to be slowed to reframe the relationship between people and the and stabilised, but this should by no means be planet. Successfully reframing this relationship will coercive. A large unmet need for contraception open up a prosperous and flourishing future, for remains in both developing and developed countries. present and future generations. Voluntary family planning is a key part of continuing the downward trajectory in fertility rates, which brings benefits to the individual wellbeing of men and women around the world. In the long term a stabilised population is an essential prerequisite for individuals to flourish. Education will play an important role: well educated people tend to live longer healthier lives, are more able to choose the number of children they have and are more resilient to, and capable of, change. Education goals have been repeatedly agreed by the international community, but implementation is poor.8 Summary. People and the planet
  • 9. S UMMARYRecommendationsRecommendation 1 Recommendation 6The international community must bring the In order to meet previously agreed goals for universal1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 education, policy makers in countries with lowper day out of absolute poverty, and reduce the school attendance need to work with internationalinequality that persists in the world today. This will funders and organisations, such as UNESCO, UNFPA,require focused efforts in key policy areas including UNICEF, IMF, World Bank and Education for All.economic development, education, family planning Financial and non-financial barriers must beand health. overcome to achieve high-quality primary and secondary education for all the world’s young,Recommendation 2 ensuring equal opportunities for girls and boys.The most developed and the emergingeconomies must stabilise and then reduce Recommendation 7material consumption levels through: dramatic Natural and social scientists need to increase theirimprovements in resource use efficiency, including: research efforts on the interactions betweenreducing waste; investment in sustainable consumption, demographic change andresources, technologies and infrastructures; and environmental impact. They have a unique and vitalsystematically decoupling economic activity from role in developing a fuller picture of the problems, theenvironmental impact. uncertainties found in all such analyses, the efficacy of potential solutions, and providing an open, trustedRecommendation 3 source of information for policy makers and theReproductive health and voluntary family public.planning programmes urgently require politicalleadership and financial commitment, both Recommendation 8nationally and internationally. This is needed to National Governments should acceleratecontinue the downward trajectory of fertility rates, the development of comprehensive wealthespecially in countries where the unmet need for measures. This should include reforms to thecontraception is high. system of national accounts, and improvement in natural asset accounting.Recommendation 4Population and the environment should not be Recommendation 9considered as two separate issues. Demographic Collaboration between National Governments ischanges, and the influences on them, should be needed to develop socio-economic systems andfactored into economic and environmental debate institutions that are not dependent on continuedand planning at international meetings, such as the material consumption growth. This will informRio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and the development and implementation of policies thatsubsequent meetings. allow both people and the planet to flourish.Recommendation 5Governments should realise the potential ofurbanisation to reduce material consumptionand environmental impact through efficiencymeasures. The well planned provision of watersupply, waste disposal, power and other serviceswill avoid slum conditions and increase the welfareof inhabitants. Summary. People and the planet 9
  • 10. C H A PT E R 110 Chapter 1. People and the planet: Introduction
  • 11. C HAPTER 1IntroductionThe number of people living on the planet has Patterns of consumption have led to big changesnever been higher, their levels of consumption are in the environment. The amount of carbon dioxideunprecedented and vast changes are taking place in (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased steadily fromthe environment. This report reviews the evidence for pre-industrial times (Keeling 1960; Keeling and Whorfthese changes, considers the likely problems 2004a). Emissions of CO2 from energy use reachedthey raise and finally offers possible solutions to an all time high in 2010 (IEA 2011). The world hasthose problems. warmed by 0.8 ˚C from pre-industrial levels with a widespread melting of snow and ice. Since 1978 theGiven the controversies that surround the issues annual average Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk byof population, consumption and the environment, 2.7% per decade (IPCC 2007a). With high levels ofthe Royal Society felt that a close look at the CO2 more of it is absorbed into water and the oceansdebates would be both timely and appropriate. It are acidifying (Royal Society 2005; IAP 2009). Theestablished an international Working Group, with increase in food production has meant that morewide ranging expertise covering natural and social land is taken over for agriculture and fish stocks havesciences, to provide an overview of the impact of dwindled rapidly. The loss of biodiversity has beenhuman population and human consumption on dramatic (Convention on Biological Diversity 2010).the planet, and the subsequent implications forhuman wellbeing. The Working Group received a 1.2 The challengeswealth of evidence in response to its open call for The Royal Society perceives two critical issues thatevidence, which was invaluable in assessing these must be addressed quickly in order to establishissues. Details of the evidence received are given in a sustainable way of life for all people and avoidAppendix 1. undermining the wellbeing of future generations. The first is the continuing expansion of the human1.1 The evidence population. The annual rate of global populationThe human population reached 7 billion in late growth has slowed from its peak at above 2.0% in2011 (UNFPA 2011). Overall, humans are older the mid 1960s; fertility rates have fallen so that inand more urban than ever before. Fertility and 2010 almost 48% of world population had a totalmortality have declined markedly in many countries fertility of less than 2.1 children per woman (UNand life expectancy has increased (Cohen 2005), 2011a). However, rapid population growth continuesbut differences in family size, life expectancy and in some parts of the world. The upward populationincome vary enormously around the globe and are trend will not reach its peak for another 40 years orgreater than they have ever been. The World Bank more because present day children and the unbornestimates that 1.3 billion people in the developing have yet to have children are trapped in absolute poverty living onless than US$1.25 per day (World Bank 2012). Just The second major issue facing the planet is that,under a fifth of the world’s people have families taken as a whole, per capita consumption isaveraging between 4 and 7 children and live in increasing. Total consumption will continue tocountries where 90% of future population growth increase as the population gets larger, as moreis expected to occur. In contrast the people who people on the planet means more mouths to feednow have two children or fewer (42% of the world’s and more goods to satisfy their aspirations. Peoplepopulation), have the highest per capita incomes and depend on their natural environment for meetingconsumption. many of these needs and desires, but over- consumption of material resources is eroding thisA greater number of consumers exist than ever natural capital. Access to sufficient food, water andbefore because of population growth. Economic fuel for everybody is already a problem (UNDP 2011).development has meant that the material needs ofsocieties have become more complex, reflecting The unprecedented growth in consumption ofaspirations as well as basic needs. Over the last natural resources has provided real benefitssixty years total fish production has increased nearly for many. According to the 2010 UN Humanfivefold (Swartz et al. 2010) and total world meat Development Report (UNDP 2010), people aroundproduction fivefold (FAO 2006). the world have become better educated, healthier Chapter 1. People and the planet: Introduction 11
  • 12. C H A PT E R 1 and wealthier over the last 20 years. However, the separate challenges but as ‘inexorably linked’ (WCED economic benefits from development have not 1987), and crystallised the concept of ‘sustainable been equitably distributed. Many of the adverse development’ as ‘development that meets the needs impacts of environmental degradation have fallen of the present without compromising the ability of disproportionately on the poor (UN 2011c). future generations to meet their own needs’. This Reducing these differences in wealth is challenging. report takes this definition to mean that present generations have a duty to adjust their conduct so The problems posed by population size and overall as to make the world capable of sustaining future consumption are interlinked. Lifting 1.3 billion people people, and that no individual is more important out of poverty will necessarily increase consumption than anyone else because of where and when they in some regions and must be done in a way that will were born. not totally alienate those who are already wealthy and whose consumption in certain areas needs to fall The United Nations Conference on Environment and (World Bank 2012). While migration can contribute Development (UNCED) was held in Rio de Janeiro in to development and to meeting the needs of ageing June 1992. Agenda 21 was adopted by more than developed countries, it also impacts on local politics, 178 Governments at that meeting. Agenda 21 is a communities and services. comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally involving United Nations 1.3 The search for solutions organisations and Governments. The Commission Concerns regarding the growth of human populations on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created were voiced as far back as 3600 years ago (Cohen in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of 1995). Attempts to formulate international policy on UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation population began before World War II and continued of the agreements at the local, national, regional in 1946 when the UN Economic and Social Council and international levels. Since then, sustainable Population Commission was established. A World development has itself been the subject of extensive Population Plan of Action was produced following the debate and multiple (sometimes divergent) first inter-governmental population meeting in 1974 interpretations, but is widely agreed to have (WPPA 1974). environmental, social and economic dimensions. (For further discussions see Elliott 1999, Holdgate Vigorous debate about the finite nature of the 1996, Owens 2003, Owens and Cowell 2011). planet’s resources started when Dennis Meadows and his colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Detailed consideration of the interrelationships Technology (MIT) published their predictions of between population, environment and poverty catastrophic collapse in The Limits to Growth. The MIT eradication was left to the subsequent 1994 team argued that indefinite growth was impossible in International Conference on Population and a finite world (Meadows et al. 1972). Development (ICPD) meeting in Cairo. In the run-up to the Cairo meeting, the world’s scientific Critics of Limits accused the authors of ‘Malthusian academies convened a population summit to explore reasoning’, failing to allow for the social and economic in greater detail the complex and interrelated issues feedback mechanisms that could overcome scarcity of population growth, resource consumption, and environmental constraints. The critics also argued socioeconomic development, and environmental that, without unprecedented redistribution, an absence protection (Royal Society 1994). The ICPD reflected of economic development would condemn millions to a growing awareness of the interconnectedness poverty (Simon and Kahn 1984; Beckerman 1972). of population, poverty, consumption, and the environment (UN 1994). However, since the A polarised ‘economic development versus 1994 Cairo Conference the critical links between environment’ debate continued through the 1970s demography, environment and development have into the 1980s, arguably paving the way for the been overlooked in international sustainability reconciliatory message of the Brundtland Report, debates. Our Common Future, published in 1987. Brundtland saw environment and economic development not as12 Chapter 1. People and the planet: Introduction
  • 13. C HAPTER 1The ICPD reinforced a human rights approach 1.4 The futureto family planning while also drawing attention The UN population projections for the rest of theto the continued need to slow rapid population 21st century vary widely between 6.2 billion and 15.8growth. A new 20 year International Programme of billion in 2100 (UN 2010). Demographic projectionsAction (IPOA) recommended among other things are not predictions and demography is not destiny.improvements in gender equality and women’s History has shown population growth can slow downempowerment, strengthening reproductive rights and without coercion. However, timing is of the essence.reproductive health, and integration of population The sooner high fertility rates decline the soonerissues with development and environmental populations will peak. The policies and investmentsstrategies. Yet today at least a quarter of a billion that are made in the coming decades will influencewomen have no access to modern contraceptives, whether population moves towards the upper orand a great many girls only receive primary school lower boundary of population projected for the resteducation. Gaining access to modern contraceptives of the century.and improved education have both been shown tohelp women choose the number of children they Slowing rapid population growth, however, will nothave. Improved access to voluntary family be sufficient to assure wellbeing. Over and under-planning can help make every birth a wanted consumption, by the world’s richest and poorestbirth and eventually stabilise global population respectively, will continue to maintain or even(Potts et al. 2009). increase inequalities around the world as well as decreasing wellbeing for everyone. Lifting the world’sIn 2000 at the Millennium Summit, world leaders poorest out of poverty is essential and it is a widelycame together to adopt the Millennium Declaration, accepted view that those surviving on less than $1.25committing their nations to a new global partnership a day have a right to a higher standard of reduce extreme poverty and setting out theMillennium Development Goals (MDGs), a series of All the dimensions of population, such as the agetime-bound targets with a deadline of 2015. Issues of structure, the degree of urbanisation and the extentfamily planning and population were perceived as too of migration, affect the rate and type of consumption.controversial to include in the MDGs and although Current levels of consumption are very much skewedthe UN Millennium Declaration refers to UNCED and to wealthier countries. A central issue is how anAgenda 21 it did not mention the Cairo IPOA (see acceptable level of wellbeing for each person can be achieved without having a seriously adverse effect onpdf). the environment. Apart from general considerations of stewardship, this is important because humanThe 2002 World Summit on Sustainable wellbeing is utterly dependent on the naturalDevelopment‘s remit was to review progress in environment. The environment has many differentsustainable development ten years after the first kinds of resources, some of which are renewedEarth Summit, and to renew commitment to action quickly and can therefore be used sustainably, whiletowards integrating economic development, social others are slow to replenish or are non-renewable.equity and environmental protection, leading tosustainable development. The Conference saw a If sustainable development is to be achieved, themajor shift away from environmental issues toward goals of economic development must be and economic development. This shift, which Gross Domestic Product (GDP) seeks to measurewas driven by the needs of the developing countries the market value of all final goods and servicesand strongly influenced by the MDGs, is only one produced within a country in a given period. GDPexample of how sustainable development has been has come to be adopted as the primary measure ofpulled in various directions over its 20 plus year national prosperity, but it does not capture muchhistory. The 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on of what is valuable in human life such as freedom,Sustainable Development Plan of Implementation security, health and social relations. Resources on(POI) included only one reference to the ICPD IPOA which economic activity depends are not necessarilyand contained no explicit acknowledgement of the unlimited. While some such as fresh water mayimportance of demographic factors in sustainable replenish, they may also suffer from irreversibledevelopment. deterioration when overused. Because such Chapter 1. People and the planet: Introduction 13
  • 14. C H A PT E R 1 resources are not included as scarce assets in current The context for the population debate has economic models, they are undervalued by market changed: the 21st century is a unique combination prices. Nobody wishes to see a reduction in their of demographic diversity, global environmental standard of living, but wellbeing can improve without change and globalisation. Countries around the growth in GDP. world will experience novel economic, social and environmental challenges as a consequence By 2050, the global population is likely to have of growing consumption and the demographic increased by an additional 2.3 billion people and will changes that are now underway. How decision be predominantly urban (FAO 2009). Nearly a quarter makers respond to these challenges will influence of the population will be over the age of 60. These the overall size of the human population and the represent major changes to the demography of the rate at which the environment is degraded, with planet, and will present major social, economic and the potential to forestall a downward economic, environmental challenges, and significant obstacles socio-political and environmental spiral. Over the to achieving sustainable development goals. next few years new goals and targets will be set to Degradation of the planet is a serious issue which guide global sustainable development activities. An already impacts on human wellbeing. Fish stocks opportunity exists now to reframe the debate before can recover if no-fish zones are properly enforced. these targets are set. With the Rio+20 meeting in Pollution of the atmosphere can be reduced by 2012, the ICPD+20 scheduled for discussion at the use of renewable sources of energy that do the UN General Assembly in 2014/2015, and the not generate carbon dioxide. All of this requires review of the Millennium Development Goals in concerted action by the governments of the world 2015, the opportunity exists for the reinvigoration and the signs are that some politicians at least are of discussions about the inter-linked issues of starting to think ahead. population size, equity, human wellbeing and sustainable development. 1.5 About this report In the next Chapter the basic demographic concepts are introduced to show the diversity of demographic change occurring across the world and the opportunities and challenges that these changes bring. Chapter 3 summarises recent trends in the consumption of natural resources. Chapter 4 describes how human consumption drives environmental change, and how that behaviour is bringing the global population closer to environmental limits. Chapter 5 outlines different pathways towards a more sustainable future, and Chapter 6 contains conclusions and recommendations.14 Chapter 1. People and the planet: Introduction
  • 15. C HAPTER 2A diverse world2.1 Introduction influence fertility and mortality rates with impactsThe size of the world population increased rapidly on population size and structure and therefore theduring the 19th and 20th centuries from approximately society, economy and environment. Furthermore,1 billion in 1825 to 7 billion in 2011. According to population matters because population numbersthe 2010 medium projection of the United Nations, can sometimes overwhelm the capacity of theby 2050 the world will have 9.3 billion people1. At a environment to support people’s needs.time when so many people remain impoverished andnatural resources are becoming increasingly scarce, The objective of this Chapter is to introducecontinued population growth is cause for concern. demographic concepts, review major demographicHowever, population growth is only part of the story. trends and drivers, and highlight the challenges andDifferences in population composition, in particular opportunities presented by these trends.age composition, density (especially the growth inpeople living in towns and cities) and distribution, Unless otherwise stated, projections cited in thisas affected by migration, are also important report refer to the UN 2010 medium fertility variant.considerations. The early 21st century represents The Least1, Less2 and More3 Developed Countrya period of unprecedented demographic change. groupings are those of the United Nations (2011).From 2000, the number of people aged 60 years ormore outnumbered the very young (0-4 years) for the 2.2 Demography – a basic introductionfirst time in human history, from 2003 the median Discussions of population are often framed inwoman (though not the average woman) had and will terms of population size and population growth.probably continue to have less than two children, and However demographic change is a dynamic processin 2007 the number of urban dwellers outnumbered that arises from changes in mortality, fertility andrural dwellers (Cohen 2005). The 21st century is also migration, and the effects of these changes are nota period of unprecedented demographic diversity limited to population size or growth rate. Changesacross the world. For example, the European region in these variables also influence the age structureis already widely urbanised, is rapidly ageing and and distribution of the population. When populationcould experience a decline in population by 2050 growth is rapid there tends to be a higher proportion(under the UN medium population projection). In of young people and a smaller proportion of old in thecontrast, the population across Africa is growing population. As mortality and fertility rates decline therapidly and is projected to more than double by proportion of old people in the population increases.2050. Many of the countries within this region This process is known as the demographic transition;have predominantly young populations with a high or the changes that occur as a country moves fromproportion under the age of 25, and urbanisation high mortality and high fertility to low mortality andlevels are currently low relative to other parts of the low fertility. During this transition, population growthworld although the rates of urbanisation are high. and movement occur. People migrate from place to place within countries, from rural to urban areas orThese trends in demography and their diversity internationally.reflect trends in social, economic and environmentalinequalities. Population matters because relative The demographic transition concept (see Figurerates of increase, differences in age structure, and 2.1) is useful for understanding the drivers andmigration influence inequality between countries. consequences of population change. The transition isEconomic and social inequalities within countries classically considered to be driven by improvements in wealth, education and health care (Notestein 1945;1 This figure could be between 8.1 (low variant) and 10.6 billion (high variant) depending heavily on the population policies for the next few years.2 Any country defined as ‘Least Developed’ by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolutions (59/209, 59/210, 60/33, 62/97, 64/L.55). This is based on low performance in three criteria: per capita gross national income (GNI), human assets and economic vulnerability to external shocks. (See Appendix 2).3 Any country which is not ‘Least Developed’, but is in a ‘Less developed region’, comprising all regions of Africa, Asia (excluding Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean plus Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.4 Any country which falls into a ‘developed region’, comprising Europe, Northern America, Australia / New Zealand and Japan Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 15
  • 16. C H A PT E R 2 Figure 2.1 The demographic transition Note: Natural increase is produced from the excess of births over deaths. Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Birth rate Birth/death rates Natural increase Death rate Time Data Source: Population Reference Bureau 2006 David 1967). The shift from the first stage of the of past high fertility, the working age population transition (a state of high mortality and high fertility) continues to grow. The ratio of workers to less to the second stage of the transition is signalled by productive ages increases. This is the third stage of a decline in mortality that most improves infant and the transition. The number of births per thousand child survival and so increases the proportion of (crude birth rates) and population growth remain high children in the population. A sharp increase in the for several decades because of the disproportionately size and density of the population follows as more large number of women in the reproductive ages, a people survive. There is therefore a high youth feature termed demographic momentum. At this dependency ratio. Many Least Developed Countries stage, population growth may still be high despite currently show these features. declining fertility. This phase is still underway in many Less Developed Countries and some Least After a time lag, which may vary significantly in Developed Countries. length between countries, fertility declines and the youth dependency ratio begins to fall but, as a legacy16 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 17. C HAPTER 2Box 2.1 Demographic terms and definitionsTotal fertility rate (TFR) Demographic dividendThe average number of children a hypothetical Occurs when there is a higher proportion ofcohort of women would have at the end of their workers to dependents within a population,reproductive period if they were subject during and therefore a potential for added productivitytheir whole lives to the fertility rates of a given which can produce a bonus of economic growth,period and if they were not subject to mortality. assuming that the correct policies are in place toIt is expressed as children per woman. take advantage of this.Replacement fertility Demographic deficitReplacement level fertility is the average number Occurs when there is a higher proportion ofof children born to a woman so that a population dependents to workers in the population,exactly replaces itself from one generation to the potentially leading to reduced productivitynext (Craig 1994). In More Developed Countries, and restricted economic growth.this is roughly total fertility rate of 2.1 children perwoman, but the global variation is substantial, Demographic momentumranging from less than 2.1 to 3.5, due principally The tendency for population growth to continueto variation in mortality rates (Espenshade 2001). beyond the time that replacement-level fertilityThis report assumes a replacement level fertility has been achieved because of the relatively highof 2.1 children per woman. concentration of people in the childbearing years.Youth dependency ratio Demographic inertiaThe youth dependency ratio is the number of The tendency for current population parameters,persons 0 to 14 years per one hundred persons such as growth rate, to continue for a period of15 to 64 years. time; there is often a delayed population response to gradual changes in birth and mortality rates.Old-age dependency ratio A common example of demographic inertia occursThe old-age dependency ratio is the number when a well-below replacement level of fertilityof persons 65 years and over per one hundred becomes established over several cohorts.persons 15 to 64 years.Total dependency ratioThe total dependency ratio is the number ofpersons under age 15 plus persons aged 65 orolder per one hundred persons 15 to 64. It isthe sum of the youth dependency ratio and theold-age dependency ratio. Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 17
  • 18. C H A PT E R 2 As the fourth stage of the transition is reached The greatest difference between the demographic inevitably the profile of the population ages, as transition processes in the Least, Less and More, fertility declines, as mortality declines, and as more Developed Countries has been the speed of mortality individuals survive to increasingly older ages (see Box and fertility decline. Mortality has declined more 2.2). The age-structure of the population will depend rapidly relative to fertility decline in most of the upon all three of these factors. Most of the More Less and Least Developed Countries, compared to Developed Countries have reached this fourth stage. the relative rates of decline in mortality and fertility There is some indication that during the late stages in the More Developed Countries, and as a result of the demographic transition, demographic inertia the populations of the Less and Least Developed may set in whereby a well-below replacement level Countries are growing much more rapidly today than of fertility becomes established over several cohorts, More Developed Countries did at the comparable potentially leading to a decline in population numbers stage of the transition. Mortality decline in the Less were populations not maintained by in-migration. and Least Developed Countries is currently heavily Such societies also experience a shift towards a concentrated in infancy and early childhood leading higher old-age dependency ratio. to a higher proportion of women of reproductive age alive in the population. This has a pronounced While the classic demographic transition theory multiplier effect on population growth: population assumed that the ultimate destination was a stable growth is much more rapid in these countries population with replacement level fertility, fertility in (Rayner and Malone 1998). many countries has fallen well below replacement, with many people postponing the birth of their The drivers of the demographic transition may first child and changes in the pattern of marriage differ between countries and the time taken to and parenthood being observed. This unexpected complete the transition may vary significantly. Some development has been dubbed the second demographers believe that all countries in the world demographic transition (Leeson 2009; Reher 2011; are in different but converging stages of this process, Lesthaeghe and Neidert 2006). others believe that the completion of the transition is not an inevitable end point for all. The global The drivers behind the second demographic population comprises many populations at different transition are complex and not well understood. stages of the transition. For example, some of the Some economists, for example, argue that the Least Developed Countries are still in the very early basic causes of the second demographic transition stages of the transition, eg many of the sub-Saharan are rooted in technological advances and changes African countries are currently growing rapidly in the market which have altered the costs and because mortality has declined but fertility remains rewards of marriage and child rearing (Lundberg high. The majority of Less Developed Countries eg in and Pollak 2007; Kohler et al. 2006). Others argue Asia and Latin America, now have declining fertility that postponed fertility is a response to economic and slowing rates of population growth. Many of certainty, reinforced however, by changes in society the More Developed Countries are in stage four of which enlarges women’s opportunities for economic the transition and have fertility rates at or below activity. Others suggest that ideational changes replacement. For example, Japan is experiencing which accompany increased affluence are the main population decline due to continuing low fertility. reason, leading to a focus on individual autonomy Some of the European countries would be and self-realisation (Lesthaeghe 2010). experiencing decline were it not for net in-migration.18 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 19. C HAPTER 2Box 2.2 The demographic transition in South KoreaThe shift in age structure experienced as countries the population growth rate had abated to 0.6%move through the transition is well illustrated by per year. Between 1960 and 2000 the numberthe example of South Korea. By 1960, mortality of working-age adults (15-64 years) per 100had already declined but fertility remained high dependents rose from 120 to 250. Between 2000at about six births per woman and the population and 2040 it is projected that the proportion ofwas growing at 2.8% per year. At that time, 42% Korea’s population aged 65 or more will riseof the total population were aged under 15 years from 7.4% to 30.5% and the ratio of workersbut only 3% were aged 65 or more. South Korea to dependents will fall from 250 to 137 perinstituted a comprehensive voluntary family 100 dependents. All of the More Developedplanning programme, and by 2000 the number Countries now face similar challenges as the Graph A: Korea 1960 Graph B: Korea 2000of births per woman was about 1.4 and population ages. Males Females Males Females Graph A: Korea 1960 Graph A: Korea 1960 Graph B: Korea 2000 Graph B: Korea 2000 Males Males Females Females Males Males Females Females 0 03000 2000 1000 1000 2000 3000 3000 2000 1000 1000 2000 3000 Numbers Numbers 0 0 0 03000 3000 2000 2000 1000 1000 1000 1000 2000 2000 3000 3000 3000 3000 2000 2000 1000 1000 1000 1000 2000 2000 3000 3000 Numbers Numbers Numbers Numbers Graph C: Korea 2040 Source: Cleland et al. 2006 Males Females Graph C: Korea 2040 Graph C: Korea 2040 Males Males Females Females 03000 2000 1000 1000 2000 3000 Numbers 0 03000 3000 2000 2000 1000 1000 1000 1000 2000 2000 3000 3000The vertical axis shows 5 year age cohorts from0 to 80; the top bar is 80+. Red bars are working Numbers Numbersage cohorts, from 15 to 65. Horizontal axis showspopulation numbers in 1000s. Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 19
  • 20. C H A PT E R 2 Figure 2.2 A figure of absolute population growth to illustrate the difference between absolute growth versus percentage growth. The line shows percent growth, the bars show absolute growth (per decade). 900900 2.52.5 800800 Absolute population increase per decade (millions) Absolute population increase per decade (millions) 2.02.0 700700 Annual Population Increase (%) Annual Population Increase (%) 600600 1.51.5 500500 Absolute Decadal Growth, Absolute Decadal Growth, 400400 Least Developed Countries Least Developed Countries 1.01.0 Absolute Decadal Growth, Absolute Decadal Growth, 300300 Less Developed Countries Less Developed Countries (excluding Least Developed (excluding Least Developed Countries) Countries) 200200 0.50.5 Absolute Decadal Growth, Absolute Decadal Growth, More Developed Countries More Developed Countries 100100 World population annual World population annual 0 0 0 0 percentage increase percentage increase 2050 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 Source: UNPD 2011 2.3 Recent population trends will continue and that mortality and fertility will carry on declining over the next century. The rate at 2.3.1 Population size which these declines occur will determine whether According to UN observations, the global population the global population is closer to the low or high increased rapidly over the 19th and 20th centuries, variant for 2050, as projected by the UN Population and by late 2011 the world population had reached Division. Changes in fertility, not mortality, are likely the 7 billion mark. While the average annual rate of to have the greatest impact on future population size, population change peaked in the 1960s at 2% and growth and age structure. Under the UN medium now stands at 1.1% per year, the absolute rate of fertility variant the population is expected to reach growth peaked at 89 million per annum in 1988 and 9.3 billion by 2050, but an increase or decrease in now stands at 78 million (see Figure 2.2). TFR by 0.5 will determine whether the world reaches 8.1 or 10.6 billion (see Figure 2.3). The case of Ghana Globally, mortality and fertility have been in general illustrates the importance that decisions about decline since the 1950s as incomes have increased, childbearing made today, and in the future, have on standards of living have improved, and more people determining the future size of the population. In 2010 have had better access to education and health care, the population of Ghana was a little above 20 million including reproductive health care. Developments with a fertility rate of 4 births per woman. If fertility in technology and communication have also played declines dramatically and reaches replacement level an important role. It is expected that these trends20 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 21. C HAPTER 2Figure 2.3 Global population numbers for the low, medium and high variants,and what happens if fertility rates remain constant, up until 2100. 30 25 20Total population (billions) 15 10 Constant fertility Low variant 5 Medium variant 0 High variant 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090Source: UNPD 2011 2100by 2020, the population would nevertheless continue cultural reasons which are difficult to grow for a further 40 years until it stabilises at 40 The projected size of the population looks verymillion. If replacement level fertility were achieved by different if the fertility levels experienced in each2040, the population would stabilise at 50 million and country between 2005-2010 were maintained untilif this achievement were delayed further to 2060, the 2100 (see Figure 2.3, constant fertility, and Figurepopulation would reach 65 million before stabilising. 2.4 constant fertility by development group). The annual rate of population change would keep onAs with all projections there is uncertainty associated increasing, leading to a significantly larger globalwith the UN figures. The projections depend on the population. Figure 2.5 shows the medium projectionassumption that the countries that currently have by development group.high fertility will repeat the experience of countriesthat have seen a marked fall in family size. However, The age structure and composition of a populationthis assumption is by no means certain. For example, are the result of the three demographic componentsthe pace of fertility decline in sub-Saharan Africa has (mortality, fertility and migration). The next sections inproceeded more slowly than some commentators this report summarise some of the current trends inexpected, probably due to a combination of lack of these components around the world, and also looksinvestment in female education, family planning and at trends in urbanisation and ageing. Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 21
  • 22. C H A PT E R 2 Figure 2.4 UN constant fertility. These populations would result if the current fertility of the three regions were maintained indefinitely. The plots up to 2010 show the actual populations. 30 25 20 Total population (billions) 15 10 World More Developed Countries 5 Less Developed Countries 0 Least Developed Countries 1950 2000 2050 2100 Source: UNPD 2011 Figure 2.5 UN medium projections of total population size. The More Developed Countries have been below replacement fertility for three decades, and are relatively stable. The average TFR of the Less Developed Countries (excluding Least) has fallen to 2.3; they are still growing rapidly due to demographic momentum, but with a small further decline in fertility will stabilise by the middle of the century. The Least Developed Countries are experiencing continued rapid growth at an average TFR of 4.1, and most of them need a substantial decline in fertility to reach stability. 12 10 8 Total population (billions) 6 4 More Developed Countries Less Developed Countries 2 Least Developed Countries 0 World 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100 Source: UNPD 201122 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 23. C HAPTER 22.3.2 Mortality trends Afghanistan (2008). In the Less Developed CountriesIn the More Developed Countries mortality first it was 293 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2008. Instarted to decline after 1750 and this decline the More Developed Countries, the maternal mortalityaccelerated in the late 19th and early 20th century, ratio is 18 per 100,000 per live births. It is 5 or below isdue to medical advances. More recently mortality some countries, such as Greece, Ireland and Denmarkrates among those over 65, and more recently (UNFPA 2011).still among those over 85, have fallen rapidly andcontinuously. In the Less Developed Countries Life expectancy at birth in the Less Developedimproved survival typically started in the 1920s or Countries (excluding the Least Developed Countries)1930s and accelerated after the World War II, with is now 70 years or more. This has increased from 42dramatic improvements in child survival. Since 1950, and 43 for males and females respectively in 1950, toinfant mortality rates have declined everywhere, 67 and 71 in 2010, and is projected to increase to 73although at varying rates between the Least, Less and 78 by 2050, and 79 and 83 in 2100, respectively.and More Developed Countries (see Figure 2.6). In In the Least Developed Countries the same trendthe Least Developed Countries mortality rates have is expected, although life expectancy is currentlydeclined rapidly but are still high. well below that of the other country groupings and currently stands at 57 and 60 for males and females,The maternal mortality ratio (deaths of women while respectively. In the More Developed Countries lifepregnant or within 42 days of a delivery or abortion) expectancy at birth is now at 75 for males and 81 forremains extremely high for the Least Developed females, and is projected to increase to 80 and 86 byCountries at an average of 597 per 100,000 live 2050 and 85 and 90 by 2100 (see Figure 2.7).births (2008), and is 1,400 per 100,000 live births inFigure 2.6 Under-5 mortality trends (estimates for 1980 – 2010 and medium projectionsfor 2010 – 2050), calculated at 5 year intervals, plotted as midpoints of those intervals. 225.00Under-5 mortality (5q0) (deaths under exact age 5 per 1000 live births) 200.00 175.00 150.00 125.00 100.00 75.00 50.00 More Developed Countries 25.00 Less Developed Countries 0 Least Developed Countries 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050Source: UNPD 2011a Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 23
  • 24. C H A PT E R 2 Figure 2.7 Female and male life expectancy at birth 2005 – 2010 Female life expectancy at birth, 2005 – 2010 80 and over 70 – 79 60 – 69 under 60 N/A Male life expectancy at birth, 2005 – 2010 80 and over 70 – 79 60 – 69 under 60 N/A Source: Harper 2012; UNPD 201124 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 25. C HAPTER 22.3.3 Fertility trends In many of the More Developed Countries fertilityThe global trend in fertility since the 1950s has been rates have declined in two phases (see Figure 2.9).one of general decline. However, as emphasised Fertility decline started in the late 19th century. Birthabove, this observation obscures the variation in rates fell to very low levels in the 1930s but rosefertility seen around the world. Broadly speaking the again after the World War II. This baby boom wasworld can be split into four groups: the low fertility most pronounced in the USA where fertility increasedcountries that have TFRs at, below or approaching from 2.9 births per woman in 1946 to 3.7 in 1957.replacement - 2.1 and under; the low-medium Japan is the clearest exception to this trend as birthfertility countries with TFRs of 2.2-3.1; the high rates declined from 4.5 in 1947 to 2.0 in 1957. Themedium fertility countries with fertility rates of 3.2- mid-1960s marked a second phase of fertility decline4.1 and the high fertility countries with TFRs of 4.2 in the More Developed Countries, and by 1980or more (see Figure 2.8). Those below replacement fertility rates had fallen below two births per woman.are concentrated in the More Developed Countries The Total Fertility Rate for the More Developedbut also in parts of Asia and Latin America. Those Countries is estimated to be 1.71 (in 2010-2015,countries with high fertility rates are primarily Least UN 2010a).Developed Countries, predominantly in sub-SaharanAfrica but also in parts of Asia, Oceania and Latin In the Less Developed Countries the decline inAmerica. High fertility rates and demographic fertility started in the 1950s, dropping from 6 birthsmomentum mean that their populations are projected per woman to 2.3 for the period 2010-2015. Fertilityto more than double over the next 40 years in the Least Developed Countries started to decline(UN 2011a). in the 1970s, going from 6.7 in 1965-1970 to 4.1 in 2010-2015.Figure 2.8 Total fertility rate 2005 – 2010 Total fertility rate 2005 – 2010 2.1 and under 2.2 – 3.1 3.2 – 4.1 4.2 and over N/ASource: Harper 2012; UNPD 2011a Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 25
  • 26. C H A PT E R 2 Figure 2.9 Total fertility rate estimates for 1950 – 2010 and medium projections for 2010 – 2050, calculated at 5 year intervals, plotted as midpoints of those intervals. 8 7 Total Fertility Rate (children per woman, over lifetime) 6 5 4 3 2 More Developed Countries 1 Less Developed Countries 0 Least Developed Countries 2050 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 Source: UNPD 2011a As the century progresses the UN medium proportion of the population aged 60 and above is population projections are based on the assumption projected to increase from 20% to more than 30% that fertility in the More Developed Countries will by 2050. There will be twice as many older people rise to 1.97 in 2045-2050, whilst the fertility in the as young and the proportion of the working age Less Developed Countries will fall to replacement population will have declined from 62% to 52%. The (2.00) in 2045-50. The fertility in the Least Developed proportion of the population aged 60 and above in Countries is projected to fall to 2.8 by 2045-2050. the Less Developed Countries is projected to go from Given that fertility decline in Sub-Saharan Africa 8 to 20%, and in the Least Developed Regions from has been slower than expected over the last decade 5 to 10% (UN 2011). The Asian Pacific region will these latter figures, at least, are uncertain. hold two-thirds of the world’s 2 billion elders. 2.3.4 Trends in global population age structure However, not all countries are at this stage of the One of the consequences of a global decline in demographic transition. Many of the Least Developed mortality and fertility rates has been the ageing of the Countries have predominantly young populations and global population. In global terms the rate of ageing therefore high youth dependency ratios. For example, currently underway and the number of old people half of Niger’s population is under the age of 15 in the population are unprecedented in human (Sippel et al. 2011). Many of the Less Developed history. Since 1950 the proportion of people aged Countries, for example, Brazil, have populations that 60 and above has been rising steadily as a result of have moved beyond this stage of the transition into a slowdown in the growth of the number of children the phase when the majority of the population are of coupled with a steady increase in the number of old working age. people due to declines in later life mortality. In 1950 5% of the global population was aged 65 and above, 2.3.5 Migration trends in 2010 this had increased to 9% and is expected to The number of international migrants is estimated reach 20% in 2050 under the UN medium variant to have increased from 156 million in 1990 5 to reach (UN 2009). By 2050 there may be 1.9 billion people 214 million in 2010. This represents a 38% increase aged over 65. In the More Developed Countries the in the number of people living abroad in just two26 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 27. C HAPTER 2decades. Numbers are approximately constant in constant over time in most regions and at globalthe Least Developed Countries, but they have risen levels. However, it is argued that one of the mainslightly since 1995 in the Less Developed Countries, changes in international migration in recent yearsand they have risen steeply in the More Developed has been the increasing number of women who areCountries (see Figure 2.10). The percentage of the migrating on their own (Castles and Miller 2009). Inworld’s population living outside of their country of the past, men were more likely to migrate, either asbirth has increased only slightly, to 3.1% in 2010 single young men or with the intention of bringingfrom 2.9% in 1990. However, the More Developed wives and children over at a later date. NowadaysCountries have seen a larger increase in the migrant women are increasingly migrating independentlyshare of the population from 7.2% in 1990 to 10.3% in order to look for better job opportunitiesin 2010 (UNDP 2009). Part of the apparent overall (UN-INSTRAW 2007).increase in the number of international migrantshowever is a reflection of the changes in international Refugees accounted for about 8% of total globalborders when many countries became sovereign migration in 2010 (about 16.4 million). This representsnations after 1990, such that some of their residents a considerable decrease from the 12% share of 1990.appear in the statistics as international migrants from This number will also have been affected by countriesanother country. becoming sovereign nations. This share tends to be greater in Africa and Asia (13% and 18% respectivelyGlobally, 49% of those living abroad are women, in 2010) and smaller in Europe and Northern Americabut in the Less Developed Countries the number of (about 2% in each case in 2010). The large number offemale migrants has been historically lower (about refugees in Asia (about 11 million in 2010) is in part45% since 1990). The share of international migrants explained by the number of refugees in Western Asiarepresented by women has remained relatively (which includes the Middle East).6Figure 2.10 International migrant stock by region of the world. 140000Estimated number of international migrants at mid-year (thousands) 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 More Developed Countries 20000 Less Developed Countries 0 Least Developed Countries 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010Source: UN(2009a) Trends in International Migrant Stock (2008 revision)5 Unless otherwise specified all data cited in this sub-section are from the United Nations Population Division (UN 2009b).6 In the UNPD definition Western Asia includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 27
  • 28. C H A PT E R 2 Estimates of future trends in international migration 2.3.6 Urbanisation trends are much less reliable than projections of population Urbanisation is defined as an increasing proportion growth and structure. In the 2010 revision of the of a population living in urban areas, and is mostly UNPD population estimates, the assumptions on the due to the net movement of people from rural to future of international migration were based on the urban areas (UN definition). Urbanisation should not policy stance of each country and previous migration be confused with urban growth (an absolute term, trends. The result was a slightly declining level of rather than a proportion) (Satterthwaite 2007), which net-migration to More Developed Regions over the is usually due to the fact that those living in (and next decades. It is possible that this assumption is migrating to) urban areas are of reproductive age. wrong; as the population of Europe continues to age and decline, it is likely that the region will Urbanisation appears to be a global process as all want to attract more migrants. After 2050, net countries of the world are becoming more urbanised, migration is assumed to decline at a faster pace. ie a greater proportion of the population are living in However, international migration is the most urban areas. dynamic component of population change in many destination countries (Cangiano 2011). Globally, the proportion of people in urban areas rose from 29% in 1950 to 49% in 2005 and is expected to Even if lower rates of population growth in reach 69% by 2050. In 2005, the total population of developing countries reduces the pool of potential the Least, Less and More Developed Countries living international migrants in the future, making in urban areas was 27%, 46% and 74%, respectively. assumptions about the future of global migration The Least Developed Countries are now seeing the remains a challenge. This has been accepted by fastest annual growth rate in the proportion of the the UN in the past. For instance, the 1998 revision total population that is urban, at 4% between 2000 of the World Population Prospects suggested and 2005, compared to 2.7% for the Less Developed that “international migration is the component of Countries, excluding the Least Developed Countries, population dynamics most difficult to project reliably. 0.7% for the More Developed Countries and 2.2% This occurs in part because the data available on past worldwide (UN 2010). trends are sparse and partial, and in part because the movement of people across international boundaries, 2.3.7 Drivers of and barriers to demographic change which is a response to rapidly changing economic, This section describes the most important drivers geopolitical or security factors, is subject to a great of change in mortality, fertility, migration and deal of volatility” (UNPD 1999 as cited in Cohen urbanisation rates, to enable a better understanding 2003). This is a problem common to all population where policies may be able to positively influence projections, not only the UNPD estimates. demographic variables. Six broad trends have been identified in recent 2.3.8 Drivers of and barriers to mortality change patterns of migration: globalization – the tendency It is sometimes assumed that economic growth is for more countries to receive migrants from a necessary for increased life expectancy, but in fact large range of source countries; acceleration in the social development, especially education, together number of people involved; growing differentiation with public health and social support for the very in the range of categories of migrant; feminisation, poor play important roles. Cuba, Costa Rica and with increasing proportions of women as primary the Indian State of Kerala are examples of countries migrants; politicisation, in its impact on domestic that have achieved high life expectancy despite low politics and prominence in bilateral and international incomes. Different social development factors can agreements; and transition, where countries of play different roles in increasing life expectancy at emigration become countries of immigration different times and in different countries (Riley 2001). (Castles and Miller 2009). The drivers of the initial declines in mortality rates in New patterns of migration to African countries such the More Developed Countries starting around 1750 as Ghana and Morocco, from within and beyond the were improvements in nutrition and public health continent, challenge perceptions that it is only for the services, including basic sanitation (see Box 2.3) More Developed Countries that the challenges posed and management of solid waste and provision of by immigration have to be addressed (Jonsson 2009). clean drinking water. In the developing countries the28 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 29. C HAPTER 2decline in mortality was prompted by improvements and important improvements in the treatment ofin medicine and public health – the introduction AIDS sufferers have been made, with an increaseof antibiotics such as penicillin, treatments for from 50,000 on treatment 8 years ago to 6.6 milliondiseases such as tuberculosis and diarrhoea, in 2010.and the use of DDT, which helps control malaria.These advancements have contained or eradicated Recent studies have shown that oral antiretroviraldiseases that once killed millions of people, and were drugs (ARVs) can prevent heterosexual HIVaccompanied by improved sanitation, better nutrition transmission. Transmission rates were substantiallyand the wider practice of healthier behaviours (Bloom reduced if the ARVs were taken by the HIV-negativeet al. 2003), and better immunisation programmes. partner and were virtually eliminated for at least two years if taken by the HIV-positive partner, although itThe drivers of declines in maternal mortality have is uncertain if this strategy can be brought to scalebeen sexual and reproductive health care and (Shelton 2011).nutrition. Poor sexual and reproductive health careaccounts for an estimated one third of the globalburden of illness and early death among women of Box 2.3 Improvements in sanitationreproductive age (Bernstein and Hansen 2006). Itwas estimated that in 2008 that there were around Sanitation is the process of promoting good355,000 maternal deaths, with 50% of those deaths health by separating waste, such as urine andtaking place in sub-Saharan Africa and 45% in Asia faeces, from human contact (WHO 2012). Poor(WHO 2010). It is estimated that around 13% of sanitation, coupled with unclean water supply,annual maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion, dramatically increases the risk of water-bornewith around 97% of unsafe abortions occurring in disease and account for an estimated 4.0% of alldeveloping countries (Hill et al. 2007). The most deaths globally (Prüss 2002). More Developedcommon cause of maternal mortality in all parts of Countries suffer virtually no mortality fromthe world is obstetric haemorrhage. For women aged disease due to poor sanitation, whereas in Less15-19, complications during pregnancy and birth Developed Countries, 21 deaths per 100,000count as the most frequent cause of death worldwide people are caused by poor sanitation and water;– it is twice as high compared to women between in the Least Developed Countries this figure risesthe ages of 20 and 24. Girls younger than 15 have an to 112 deaths per 100,000 (derived from WHOeven higher mortality risk during pregnancy and birth. Data). In Uganda, where 98 deaths per 100,000The dramatic declines in maternal mortality that were people are attributable to poor sanitation, nineseen in the USA, UK and Sweden between 1900 and in ten households use shared or basic latrines.2000 were due to improvements in obstetric care, These are a major source of solid waste runoffchanges in the abortion law and changes in patterns which contaminates waterways and facilitatesof childbearing (Diamond-Smith and Potts 2010). disease outbreaks (see evidence received from Pro-biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda).Globally, the four major killers of children under 5 arepneumonia (18%), diarrhoeal diseases (15%), preterm WHO projections (WHO 2008) indicate thatbirth complications (12%), and birth asphyxia (9%). improved sanitation will continue to lowerUndernutrition is an underlying cause in more than mortality rates. A baseline scenario for globala third of under-five deaths. Malaria is still a major diarrhoeal disease is that 88% are attributable tokiller in sub-Saharan Africa, causing about 16% of poor sanitation (WHO 2004), 1.7 million deathsunder-fives deaths (WHO 2008). in 2008 will drop to 1.3 million in 2015 and 0.7 million by 2030. Yet it is expected that 2.7 billionEvery day, 6,000 people are infected with HIV, and will still lack adequate sanitation facilities inin some countries HIV prevalence is still high. In 2015. Continued efforts are essential if mortalitySwaziland, for example, one in three adults now is to fall as the global population with HIV (Glasier et al. 2007). In 2010 about 1.8million people died from AIDS, of whom 1.2 millionwere in sub-Saharan Africa. However, in manyAfrican countries, rates of infection have declined Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 29
  • 30. C H A PT E R 2 As deaths from infectious diseases fall, Countries face 2.3.9 Drivers of and barriers to fertility change an epidemic of chronic or “lifestyle” diseases. There The causes of the huge fertility declines of the past is a general consensus that the most significant of 130 years are well established. Increased use of the ‘lifestyle’ risks to emerge as a major threat to contraception is the major cause with important population health in the 20th century was cigarette contributions from marriage postponement smoking. Obesity is an independent risk factor for and abortion. Access to contraception and safe diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, abortion are influenced by government policies and and the increasing prevalence of obesity in the programmes. The broader drivers of fertility rate population may have a sufficiently large impact change include the empowerment of women (see on mortality to halt present upward trends in life Box 2.5), economic development, mortality decline, expectancy (see Box 2.4). The other lifestyle risks improved education, and the spread of new ideas found in most of the populations of the world’s and technologies. These are discussed below. most affluent countries are an unhealthy diet, lack of regular exercise and excessive alcohol consumption. No country has experienced deep and sustained (Howse and Harper 2009). However, in recent declines in fertility without prior or parallel mortality decades, the More Developed Countries have decline (Ni Bhrolcháin and Dyson 2007). The common seen decreases in late life mortality which appear argument is that parents reduce their family sizes as to be driven by advances in medical interventions. they realise that child mortality has fallen. However, Pharmaceuticals are increasingly becoming one there is little evidence that parents consciously adjust of the most important inputs for the production of their reproduction to improving survival probabilities. health in More Developed Countries, and possibly It is more probable that falls in mortality steadily for extending life expectancy. increase the number of dependent children in households, imposing an economic pressure that can only be relieved by a reduction in births. The Box 2.4 Obesity and life expectancy In all groups improved nutrition has played a Although there is now accumulating evidence large role in reducing mortality and extending that obesity increases mortality risk, and the life expectancy. However, just as improved mechanisms by which this might happen are nutrition has driven declines in mortality, in some becoming better understood, estimates of the countries anyway, it seems likely that it may also increased mortality risk associated with obesity are inhibit them. A combination of a more sedentary by no means uniform (Howse Harper 2009). lifestyle and an increased calorie intake is leading to an increase in the average Body Mass Index, In one study obesity reduced the life expectancy of and a higher proportion of people being either forty year old non-smokers by 5.8 years for males overweight or obese. There is no sign of the trend and 7.1 years for females (Peeters et al. 2003). In flattening out. In England for example,1 in 5 adults other studies no excess mortality was associated are now obese. The proportion has trebled over with being overweight rather than being obese the last 20 years, and two-thirds of adults over 45 (eg Flegal 2007; Reuser 2008). The mortality risks years are overweight or obese (NAO 2001). Since of obesity diminish considerably in old age (eg obesity is an independent risk factor not only Bender 1999). In the USA the association between for diabetes, but also for cardiovascular disease obesity and mortality has declined over time and some cancers, the increasing prevalence of (Mehta Chang 2011). However, studies that obesity in the population may have a sufficiently control for smoking and ‘reverse causality’ – the large impact on mortality to halt present upward fact that serious illness often causes weight loss - trends in life expectancy (Olshansky et al. 2005). come up with much larger estimates (Adams et al. One recent estimate of the annual mortality 2006; Lawlor et al. 2006; Greenberg 2007). associated with excess weight in the EU puts the figure as high as 1 in 13 (Banegas et al. 2003).30 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 31. C HAPTER 2drivers of mortality decline were discussed in the Family planning programmes are discussed in moreprevious section (2.3.8). detail in Chapter 5. The underlying drivers of changes in fertility rates are discussed below.In the More Developed Countries, the initial phaseof fertility decline, starting in the late 19th century, Economic developmentoccurred without the benefit of highly effective There are many ways in which economicmodern methods of contraception. However, the development, industrialisation and urbanisationadvent of these methods and changes in social may influence fertility (Notestein 1945). Thereand economic factors, including the increased are moderately strong associations betweensocial and financial costs of children, rising ages at indicators of economic development such as GDPmarriage and increases in non-marriage, divorce, per head, and fertility. Economic development canincreased acceptance of diverse sexual lifestyles, lead to improvements in sanitation, nutrition andand a growing independence and labour force healthcare, which drive mortality decline, whichparticipation of women have played a part in the precedes fertility decline. Economic developmentsecond phase of decline, starting in the 1960s. In leads to an increase in the opportunity cost of timemany of the Less and Least Developed Countries, expended in childcare, and increased expenditure onfertility decline started in the 20th century. Alongside children’s education, health care, and so on, whichthe factors identified above, improvements in levels is thought to reduce fertility rates. However, it isof primary and secondary school education alongside important to note that economic development is notwidespread health improvements also played an a precondition for fertility decline; fertility rates haveimportant role in reducing both fertility and mortality declined in countries with low measures of economic(especially infant mortality). development, eg in Hungary and Bulgaria in the 1920s, Vietnam in the 1960s and Indonesia inA number of countries that had high fertility in the 1970s.1950 saw a much more rapid decline in the TFRthan Europe, once they had access to modern family Education is widely seen to be another key driverplanning. For example, Bangladesh went from a TFR of falling fertility. It is suggested that universalof 6.3 to 3.4 between 1975 and 1998 (BDHS 2007), secondary school education, especially forIran from 5.5 to 2.8 between 1989 and 1995 (Abbasi- women, not only enhances their opportunities forShavazi 2009), while the US went from a TRF of 6 to employment in the formal labour market, which it is3.5 between 1842 and 1900 (Sai 1993). Other factors argued will reduce the number of children they have,could also influence this change in fertility. It has but also introduces them to alternative lives whichbeen argued that family planning programmes work include having fewer children. In addition, educationbest when desired fertility has declined because of facilitates better access to and information aboutsocioeconomic development, and that they are more family planning, helping to remove the barriers toeffective when integrated into other government information and technology available for managingpolicies in areas such as health, education and rural family size. It also leads to a change in attitude indevelopment (Rayner and Malone 1998). which ‘quantity’ of children is replaced by ‘quality’ (Becker 1991; Lutz et al.1999), ie couples want toThere are some important exceptions where birth have fewer children with better life chances (Lutz etrates remain high, and high levels of unintended al. 1999). Alongside this, more educated people havechildbearing remain, such as in Mali, Burkina Faso, lower mortality (there is evidence that this is a realYemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, due to the effect and not just owing to selectivity).severe barriers that are in place. Some of thesebarriers are obvious in nature (information, As Lutz et al. (1999) point out, these educationalaccess and affordability) and some less obvious differentials can be very significant, particularly at the(unnecessary medical restrictions, concerns about beginning of the fertility transition. Ethiopian women,social acceptability and effect on health) (Campbell for example, without any formal education have onet al. 2006; Casterline et al. 2001; Ruttenberg and average six children, whereas those with secondaryWatkins 1997). education have only two. However as the transition proceeds, as in the case of Europe, the relationship becomes more complex. For example there is some Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 31
  • 32. C H A PT E R 2 evidence that the strongly negative association of that the advent of modern methods of contraception education and fertility is replaced by a U-shaped often evokes initial ambivalence and fear among pattern in which the most educated women women and is intensively discussed, along with have a somewhat higher fertility than those with related conversations about family size (Watkins intermediate education. Others have disputed the 2000; Entwisle et al. 1996). direction of causality between female education and fertility reduction (Cochrane 1979; 1983). Women’s Cultural drivers education may well reduce fertility; however, the Views on why high levels of fertility persist initiation of child-bearing may itself be a factor in throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa vary. the termination of education. Some see it as a reflection of low socioeconomic development, while others think it is a distinctive Communication and technology feature of cultural and social organisation that set the In Europe and more recently in developing countries, region apart from Asia and Latin America. It has been it has been observed that changes in fertility were shown that Africans attach a higher value to large strongly conditioned by linguistic, religious and families than citizens elsewhere. One explanation ethnic factors, suggesting that new ideas and for this pronatalism lies in the subordination of the behaviour were diffusing within populations with a nuclear family to the lineage (Caldwell and Caldwell shared culture and language. Moreover, the speed 1987). However, the rapid increase in contraceptive with which contraception use can increase and prevalence once contraception was made realistically fertility fall within homogeneous populations also available in countries such as Zimbabwe and Rwanda supports the view that reproductive change is fuelled suggests that access to family planning choices is by social influences and social learning. It is not pivotal, just as it was in Asia. The exception may be known what was being diffused in historical Europe some countries in the Sahel7 characterised by a low but it is clear from studies in developing countries age of marriage and high prevalence of polygamy. 7 The Sahel is a belt that crosses Africa just south of the Sahara. The region is among the poorest and most underdeveloped in the world. It is characterized by low levels of seasonal rainfall. In recent years, rainfall has decreased and become more erratic (European Commission).32 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 33. C HAPTER 2Box 2.5 Reproductive inequality and women’s empowermentWomen bear the main physical burden of not imply empowerment on others. For instance,reproduction: pregnancy, breastfeeding and Japanese women have traditionally played a minorchildcare. They also bear the main responsibility role in public life but often control domesticfor contraception as most methods are designed budgets (Pilling 2007; Diggs 1998). Family sizefor their use. Men, it may be argued, reap the has fallen in Iran and women have become thebenefits of children without incurring an equal majority in universities yet they continue to haveshare of the cost. It follows that women may be low employment levels and face many restrictionsmore favourable to the idea of small families and on their behaviour, imposed by planning than their partners but unableto express their inclinations in male-dominated Women often cite husband’s opposition as a reasonsystems. Such views received international for non-use of contraception and the relatively highendorsement in the Program of Action resulting level of clandestine contraceptive use by womenfrom the UN conference on population in 1994. is also indicative of men’s opposition (BiddlecomParagraph 4.1 states that “improving the status of and Fapohunda 1998). Yet numerous surveys ofwomen is essential for the long-term success of men suggest that their reproductive aspirations andpopulation programs”. attitudes to contraception differ little from those of women, except in the high-fertility countries in sub-The labels “status”, “empowerment” and Saharan Africa where they appear to want larger“autonomy” are often used interchangeably and families than women (Mason and Taj 1987; Beckertheir conceptualisation and measurement are 1996; Westoff and Bankole 2002). When spousesnot straightforward (Federici et al. 1993; Presser disagree about future childbearing, the husband’sand Sen 2000). At the national level, gender views do not inevitably prevail (Blanc 2001).differences in schooling, wage employmentand political representation are commonly used What of the reverse effect of lower fertility andmeasures; alternatives include age difference widespread contraceptive use on empowerment?between spouses, preferences for the sex of Transition from a fertility rate of, say, six birthschildren and the prevalence of polygamy. The UN per women to two represents a profound revolutionDevelopment Program has developed a gender in the lives of women and the ability to manageinequality index with which it ranks countries family size is central to the autonomy of women.(UNDP 2010). At the individual level, freedom to Under the high fertility scenario it has beentravel unaccompanied outside the neighbourhood estimated that women spend 70% of their livesof residence, decision-making power, and bearing and rearing children whereas under a lowcontrol over household resources are taken to be fertility regime, the figure drops to 14% (Lee 2003).dimensions of empowerment (Jejeebhoy 1995). When fertility is low, marriage and the family need no longer dominate women’s lives; increasedDespite extensive research, evidence on the participation in paid work more usually follows thancentral proposition – that women’s empowerment precedes the decline in childbearing (Mammen andis a critically important determinant of Paxson 2000).reproductive modernisation – is mixed, perhapsbecause empowerment on one dimension does Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 33
  • 34. C H A PT E R 2 2.3.10 Drivers of and barriers to migration and that environmentally related migration is Migration patterns are shaped by a complex complex and related not only to the temporality interplay of economic, demographic, political, and kind of environmental change, but to other social, technological and environmental factors economic, political and social drivers. (Adepoju (Massey et al. 1993; Brettel and Hollifield 2000) 2010; Warner 2010; Bardsley and Hugo 2010; Tocali Conflict can be a trigger to move, but poverty, 2009; Barnett and Weber 2010; Skeldon 2009). It is insecurity, lack of the rule of law, environmental however likely that environmental change will affect degradation, the proportion of young people in migration now and in the future, specifically through source countries, as well as income differences its influence on the range of economic, social and between countries can be the underlying structural political drivers which themselves affect migration. factors. Government policies in receiving countries In the decades ahead, it is anticipated that millions of are a further factor (Malmberg et al. 2006; OECD people will be unable to move away from locations in 2009). Individuals may feel compelled to move which they are extremely vulnerable to environmental but in many cases do so for positive reasons – as change, because of lack of capital; and that people students, to work, rejoin family, or retire to sunnier are as likely to migrate to places of environmental climates. vulnerability as from them. It is those with lower levels of capital that are most likely to live in areas Demand for labour can be a structural feature of vulnerable to environmental change, creating a advanced industrial economies. For migrants, one ‘trapped population’ (Foresight 2011a). of the primary reasons for migration is the quest for better economic conditions, with destination The mobility of people has in other respects been countries often benefiting from workers with facilitated during recent decades by political complementary skills or workers that are willing to reforms, cheaper transport and a transformation accept conditions unattractive to the resident labour in communications that has broadened access to force. Ageing populations can contribute to that information, ideas and networks. Networks of kin and demand and migrants can partially substitute for regions of origin can incentivise migration and choice the declining numbers of young workers as well as of destination. Networks reduce the cost and risk of caregivers for the elderly (OECD 2009). moving by helping migrants secure access to jobs and accommodation, providing information, contacts Population growth can have two related effects on and support. New migrants in turn reduce the migration: it raises the young adult share of the costs for later arrivals. Thus migration can become population (ie the number of potential migrants) progressively more independent of the original and it can create an oversupply in the labour market drivers in sending and destination countries (Gurak worsening the employment outlook in the sending and Caces 1992; Haug 2008). country (Hatton and Williamson 2002). Migration from developing countries to developed countries 2.3.11 Drivers and barriers of urbanisation relates strongly with rapid population growth and Virtually all nations that have seen high levels of fast-growing labour forces in sending countries, in urbanisation over the last 50 – 60 years have had contrast with stagnating or shrinking labour forces long periods of rapid economic growth, alongside in receiving countries (Martin 2009). Migration has large shifts in employment patterns from agricultural the potential to impact upon population growth or pastoral activities to industrial, service and and structure through the interaction between the information activities. Nations with high proportions number of migrants, their relatively young age of urban populations and the largest cities are those structure and their higher fertility (Harper 2011). that have the largest economies. In the 19th and 20th centuries industrialisation, urbanisation and modern There has been a growing awareness that economic growth occurred at the same time, whilst environmental changes, including climate change, in recent decades urbanisation has occurred in may result in migration. Several authors have settings in which sustained economic growth and predicted that as environmental changes increase, industrialization are largely absent (Dyson 2011). migratory pressures will also increase (IPCC 2007b). Recent papers have emphasised that the environmental refugee scenario may be overstated34 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 35. C HAPTER 2Local factors such as the site, location and natural in natural resources and other forms of capitalresource endowment, as well as the demographic per head. The nature of the relationship betweenprofile of the population, can all have an influence on population growth and economic growth will dependurban change. The scale and nature of urbanisation on the rate of population growth; a slow populationand the underlying causes differ between countries, growth rate, of say 1% per annum might have anwithin a country and over time. There are difficulties advantage over a negative growth rate, whilst higherin calculating global urban statistics, due to the lack growth rates, of say 2% or more, are unlikely to haveof data available for some nations. There are also a positive impact on economic growth. The rate ofvariations between countries in how urban areas are capital accumulation is also important; without majordefined (Satterthwaite et al. 2007). accumulation of capital per capita, no major economy has or is likely to make the low-to middle-income2.4 Population challenges and opportunities transition. Though not sufficient, capital accumulationThe previous sections have described the processes for growth is absolutely essential to economic growthof demographic change, the demographic trends (Turner 2009).that are observed at the global and regional level, andthe drivers of changes in these trends. It has detailed More recently, the debate has refocused onhow the global population size, distribution, density the economic consequences of changes in ageand age structure are also changing. These changes composition within a population (eg Mason and Leeare happening at different rates and on different 2006; Bloom et al. 2003). As discussed earlier inscales in the Least, Less and More Developed this Chapter, when a population goes through theCountries, presenting a variety of challenges and demographic transition, inevitably the ratio of theopportunities. elderly (65 and over) to young (under 15) increases and alters the dependency and support ratios of2.4.1 Population and economic development the population. The combination of these within aThe relationship between population growth and population influences the productivity and economiceconomic development has long been debated. growth of that population as the young and the oldMalthus in the 18th century was interested in the tend to consume more than they produce, whileeconomic effects of rapid population growth and the those of working age (defined as those betweenrelationship with the capacity of the earth to sustain the ages of 15-64 years) produce more than theyit. These concerns resurfaced in the middle of the consume, and therefore can save or transfer their20th century when it became clear that an era of production to earlier or later generations.unprecedented, rapid increase in the populations ofthe developing countries had started. Since Malthus, Declining fertility and the continued growth of theother authors have highlighted the potentially working age population due to the legacy of pastnegative impact of continued population growth high fertility (see Box 3.2 on South Korea) leads to a(eg Coale and Hoover 1958; Ehrlich 1968, 2008; decline in the youth dependency ratio, creating theTurner 2009) while others have argued that potential for a demographic dividend. The dividend istechnological advance and institutional development due to a substantial increase in the potential labourcould counter negative effects of rapid population force, greater per capita output, and enhancedgrowth on development (Kuznets 1967; Boserup savings potential leading to economic growth (Lee1981; Simon 1981). It is clear from this debate and Mason 2010). This dividend may enable thethat economic development and the demographic population to increase its aggregate per capitatransition are linked in complicated and reciprocal income level before the fraction of elderly in theways, and that different challenges and opportunities population rises, and to accumulate assets whichare presented at different stages of the transition. can be drawn upon to help finance the consumption needs of an elderly population. However, theIn terms of the effect of population factors on realisation of the demographic dividend (or bonus)economic growth the common view is that rapidly is by no means guaranteed and is conditional onincreasing populations have a negative effect on effective institutions for saving and investment,economic growth and employment, due to declines macro-economic policies and the alignment of Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 35
  • 36. C H A PT E R 2 other factors such as terms of trade, the rule of law, There is a body of evidence that emigration can secure property rights, education, and institutions contribute to economic and social development, that encourage public and private sector investment while development can, in the short term, increase (Barro 1997). This stage is also only temporary and is the rate at which people leave. Emigration can hinder inevitably followed by a decline in the ratio of workers development through loss of skilled people (‘brain to dependents as the population ages. About 30% of drain’) but can generate benefits through acquisition the rapid economic growth of the ‘East Asian tiger’8 of skills, trade and investment connections, through economies is attributable to demographic changes liberation of women from traditional roles and (Bloom et al. 2000). through the injection of ideas and enhanced skills when migrants return. Remittances are a significant The economic consequences of population ageing source of income for migrants’ families which in turn remain uncertain. As fertility continues to decline and contribute to the growth of local economies. In 2004, life expectancy increases, the old-age dependency remittances to developing countries exceeded $125 ratio of the population increases, creating a billion per year while annual Official Development demographic deficit. Research suggests that an Assistance rarely exceeds $60 billion. The impact on increase in the dependent population has a negative rural households is particularly significant (evidence effect on per capita income growth. This is based on from Martin). Remittances by migrants tend to two broad assumptions; that demographic decline reduce global economic inequality. In some countries leads to decline in economic activity because of remittances from migrants make up a substantial a decline in demand for goods and services with proportion of the national economy, for example in consequent impacts on economic growth and 2009, 35% of Tajikistan’s GDP was from remittances employment, and demographic ageing leads to (Mohapatra et al. 2010). economic burden due to an increased requirement for pensions and healthcare and a reduced capacity In destination countries migration can similarly bring to fund them (Bloom and Canning 2006; Bloom economic and social benefits, and costs. Migrants and Sousa-Poza 2010; Harper 2010a; 2011; Lee and who work, study or join families contribute to Mason 2006). The impact of ageing on incomes can meeting skill and labour shortages, bring investment, be mitigated by increasing labour force participation cultural capital and benefits to trade and international of those of working age, by raising retirement ages relations. In developed and developing countries and by reform of pension systems. Moreover, it they nevertheless may contribute to demands on seems probable that low fertility societies are well accommodation and services, exacerbate rapid positioned to invest heavily in human capital, thereby urbanisation, displace workers, reduce wages increasing productivity (Lee and Mason 2010). and be the focus of tensions where resources are scarce or cultural differences are unresolved (UNDP 2009). Migration can also be a factor in the growth and changing age structure and composition of populations (Coleman 2008). 8 The term ‘Asian Tiger’ is used to describe the developed economies of certain south-eastern Asian countries. The list varies between sources but commonly includes Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.36 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 37. C HAPTER 2Migration can impact upon demography in numerous 2.4.2 Demographic challenges and opportunitiesways, and recent advances have been made in the in the high fertility countriesunderstanding of the relationship between migration The Least Developed Countries have the highestand the demographic deficit (Harper 2011). There is population growth rates in the world and are thegeneral agreement that migration will not prevent least able to meet the needs of growing numbersageing and the so called demographic deficit but of people (UN 2011). Countries in the very earlymay slightly alleviate it (Coleman 2002; Espenshade stages of the transition typically have relatively high2001; Feld 2000; Lesthaeghe 2000). The impacts of but declining mortality at all life stages, increasingmigration on innovation, employment in general, life expectancy, high but declining fertility and rapidand welfare are more complex and contested. population growth. Family sizes may be large, thereImmigration will in the short term increase TFRs, is likely to be a high youth dependency ratio, andpopulation growth and labour market participation. gender and economic inequality may be high. Early marriage, polygamy and low status of women mayAs covered in section 2.3.11, economic change is also be present.the primary driver of urbanisation (Satterthwaite et al.2007). Rapid urbanisation throughout the developing Keeping up with the pace of population growth is aworld is seriously outstripping the capacity of most challenge in these countries, most of which lack thecities to provide services for their citizens (Cohen resources to meet demand for infrastructure, basic2005). The challenge is keeping up with the rate of health and education services, and job opportunities.urbanisation, as people migrate to urban areas to In the poorest countries economic and reproductiveseek out opportunities, and to ensure adequate living inequality can be self reinforcing - unwantedconditions for the urban poor. childbearing is invariably more common among the poor than the rich as the poor have less informationThe relationship between demography and economic about contraception, greater misgivings about itsgrowth should not be overstated; demography is not use, and restricted access to service.the sole determinant of economic success. Manyother factors – quality of government, institutional In theory, a rapidly growing population with a youngstructures, inherited culture, geographical location age structure could contribute to a demographicand resource endowment – are also important. dividend that stimulates economic and social development as occurred in parts of Asia (UNFPA 2011). In a country such as Rwanda this might happen, but in the Least Developed Countries in Africa, such as in the Sahel, and parts of western Asia such as Afghanistan, lack of education, a weak infrastructure and poor governance make this unlikely. According to the UN there is greater potential for the demographic dividend in the Asian Least Developed countries than in the African Least Developed Countries as their fertility rates are declining at a faster rate (UNFPA 2011). Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 37
  • 38. C H A PT E R 2 Box 2.6 The Republic of Niger The Republic of Niger provides an extreme example need for family planning: (World Bank 2011a). These of a country at the early stages of the demographic cultural dynamics mean that gender inequality is transition and one that faces severe constraints high (UNHDI 2011). Child marriage is common - 60% on development. It has one of the highest rates of of girls aged 15-19 are married and 28% entered population growth in the world at 3.5% per year, marriage before the age of 15 (Afolayan et al. 2008). implying a doubling of the population every 20 years, and over a quarter of women older than 40 The combination of rapid population growth and have given birth to 10 or more children. a decline in mortality in the youngest age groups means that Niger currently ranks as the world’s Life expectancy has improved significantly in youngest population. This has implications for the Niger over the last thirty years, increasing from economic development potential of the country; 39.5 in 1980 to 54.7 in 2011 (UN HDI 2011), but it undermines the potential to build up the savings the average woman has over a one in twenty needed to expand the country’s infrastructure chance of dying in childbirth during her lifetime9. and to help lift the country out of poverty. Recent government initiatives have led to Niger being one of the five countries with the greatest Household size is also a key poverty factor. Over absolute reductions in overall under-five mortality 89% of the population live in rural areas and the rates, however child mortality rates remain high economy is largely dependent on agriculture and compared to some other countries, with infant so is vulnerable to climatic factors. During each mortality rates of 73 and under-5 mortality rates year’s “lean season”, which extends roughly from of 143 per 1000 live births (UNICEF 2011). June to October, Niger faces recurrent food and nutritional crises. In April 2010, approximately half Niger has experienced little change to its TFR of of the country’s population found itself facing about 7 over the last 50 years. Even assuming the moderate or severe food insecurity (Médecins TFR falls to 3.9 by 205010 (as assumed in the UN Sans Frontières 2011). medium fertility variant) the population will grow from 15.5 to 55.5 million by 2050. Given recent A future in which population increase outstrips the trends in TFR and an estimated contraceptive production of food and other necessities of life is prevalence rate of 15% (May 2011) this is a real possibility for Niger. The big question is how considered by many to be an optimistic projection. such a disaster can be averted. Increased food production is certainly possible through expanded Niger’s high fertility can be explained partly by irrigation and improved agricultural techniques, its endemic poverty, poor access to education though it is uncertain whether it can increase and health care services and little emphasis on sufficiently to meet the needs of a population that making family planning available (IMF 2007). may double in the next 20 years. Food self-sufficiency The TFR varies widely with the level of education is not necessary for development, provided that of the woman (ranging from 4.6 children per exports of minerals and manufactured goods can woman with secondary school education to 7.3 offset the costs of food imports. International for those without education) and income (6.2 migration is likely to be a crucial safety valve. children versus 8.0 children in rich versus poor Nevertheless, it is difficult to see a bright future households, respectively) (IMF 2007). However, for the country without sharp reductions in fertility Niger’s polygamous culture is the primary reason and population growth, together with increased for the continued high fertility levels experienced, investment in health and education to improve together with large desired family size (in 2006 human capital and thereby enhance prospects for married women and men reported wanting an industrialization in the medium term. Because of the average of 8.8 and 12.6 children respectively (INS strongly pronatalist culture, reducing fertility voluntarily 2007)). This preference for large family sizes is will require a massive communication effort as well as reflected by a relatively low level (16%) of unmet expanded access to contraception, and research on practical ways to raise the age of first birth.38 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 39. C HAPTER 2 Box 2.7 Urbanisation and growing urban poverty in Africa – the city of Nairobi Despite being the least urbanised of the world’s basic amenities, poor health outcomes, insecurity, major regions, Africa’s urban populations are and unstable incomes and livelihoods. growing at much higher rates than the other regions. Africa’s high rates of urbanisation Nairobi, Kenya’s economic hub, typifies the have not been accompanied by the broad challenge of growing urban poverty that many socioeconomic transformations and economic countries in sub-Saharan Africa are facing. The city’s growth that other regions experienced. Although population grew from 120,000 in 1948 to 3,140,000 urban areas have been the main drivers of in 2009. The city grew at an annual average rate of the limited economic growth that Africa has 5% between 1989 and 1999, and 4% during the experienced in the recent past (Kessides 2005), period 1999 – 2009, despite the fall in employment the inability of African economies to create opportunities associated with Kenya’s economic enough economic opportunities for their rapidly downturn during this period. Between 40% and growing populations has brought unique 60% of Nairobi residents live in slum settlements. challenges in urban settings. A key outcome of rapidly growing urban populations amidst Research carried out in the slums of Nairobi has slow economic growth and poor urban planning documented the significant health and economic has been the growth of informal settlements, disadvantages that slum residents face, relative to commonly referred to as slums, in sub-Saharan other population sub-groups in Kenya. Although Africa major cities. Estimates by UN Habitat many of the slum residents are migrants from rural indicate that about 62% of urban residents in areas (only 15% were born in the slum settlements), sub-Saharan Africa live in slum settlements, and who come to Nairobi in order to get better livelihood that the number of slum dwellers almost doubled opportunities, only 3.6% of women and 22.3% of from 103 million to 200 million between 1990 and men get salaried employment and most of them end 2010. Slum settlements are characterized by poor up in unstable and low-paying jobs. Slum residents housing conditions, poor social services, poor exhibit poorer health outcomes compared to Health/Population Indicator Slum Settlements Urban Areas in Kenya National (2008) (2008) (Kenya 2008) Infant Mortality Rate (per 65.5 59.2 62.8 1000) Under Five Mortality Rate (per 86.2 74.5 83.7 1000) TFR (children per woman) 3.3 2.9 4.6 Proportion of under five 31.9% 19.4 17.1 children with diarrhea Proportion of children with 64.2% 43.3% 42.3% fever Proportion of children with 42.9% 72.6% 59.1% fever who received treatment Proportion aged 18+ in Women: 3.6% Salaried Employment Men: 22.3% % Below the Poverty Line 34.7% Source: African Population and Health Research Center (2002); Zulu et al. (2011); Emina et al. (2011)9 Maternal mortality ratio is 820 per 100 000 live births, (UN HDI 2011).10 Under the UN medium fertility variant which assumes continuous decline in TFR to 2050 (to 3.9). Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 39
  • 40. C H A PT E R 2 other population sub-groups in Kenya due to and other emerging economies, urbanisation can a combination of three main characteristics of be associated with, and help propel, economic slum settlements. Firstly, slum dwellers live in prosperity. But rapid urbanisation can present congested locations, they reside in one-room enormous challenges unless the economies houses, and lack access to safe drinking water, transform fast enough to generate enough jobs sanitation, and garbage disposal services. These for the growing labour force. Additionally, good poor environmental conditions increase their governance and planning are required to develop vulnerability to infectious diseases, including HIV/ the urban infrastructure and social services that AIDS (Ziraba et al. 2009). Secondly, slum residents meet the needs of the growing population, have limited access to quality health services including decent housing and amenities for low since health care is mostly provided by informal income people. and unregulated health providers. Finally, slum dwellers do not access the quality services that In 2011, the third most populous city in Kenya, after are found in non-slum parts of the city because Nairobi and Mombasa, became a refugee camp they lack money to pay for such services (Zulu et called Dadaab with 465,000 refugees as of July al. 2011). These urban disadvantages also extend 2011 from drought and from conflict in Somalia. to other social services like education. Children It possible that many will never return to their in slum settlements have relatively high dropout homes. It is highly likely that such migration will rates and uniquely low progression rates from be repeated many times in the future as rapid primary to secondary school (Ngware et al. 2011), population growth and climate warming meet thereby leading to poor human capital among across the Sahel. To the problems of slum life slum residents. outlined above are added violence and rape as women and children walk many miles in search The rapid urban transition that Africa is of food and water. undergoing presents an opportunity as well as a development challenge. As in developed regions 2.4.3 Demographic challenges and opportunities of As a consequence of the rapidity of the fertility medium fertility countries decline, many of these countries experienced a shift The fertility of many of the Less Developed Countries in the age structure, which may enable them to has declined rapidly since the 1950s while mortality realise a demographic dividend. Countries in East declined even more rapidly. A small number of the Asia and South East Asia have already benefited Least Developed Countries - Bangladesh, Cambodia, while countries in South and Latin America (Loewe Myanmar, for example - also experienced rapid 2007) were less successful. In some of these declines. Despite the decline in fertility many of these countries the window of opportunity is just about to countries are experiencing rapid population growth open (eg Cambodia), while in others the window is due to population momentum and this is likely to about to close (eg Republic of Korea and China). The continue for the next 50 years. For example although main challenge in this group of countries is to provide fertility in Asia and Latin America is now about 2.3 productive employment for a rapidly growing labour births per woman and is expected to fall further, force. This in turn requires matching the educational population size is projected to increase between 2010 and training system to the employment skills and 2050 by about 30%. required. When the economy is unable to generate sufficient employment or when the educational system is ill tuned to economic opportunities, civil unrest may result (see Box 2.9 on youth bulge).40 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 41. C HAPTER 2Box 2.8 Latin America: one of the most unequal regions in the world – now seeinga convergence of trends.The Latin America and Caribbean region is the regional growth, however, is population decline,most unequal economically, and the differences albeit modest, in a few of the smaller countries ofin trends and levels of almost all demographic the region (Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Guyana,indicators reflect enormous inequalities and high Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago)rates of poverty. Yet Latin America has an average continued modest increases in some otherincome per capita above Africa, Asia, China and countries and population stabilisation elsewhere.India. There has been a lot of progress in severalareas, and most of this progress has directly or Despite the continued inequalities in the region,indirectly been brought about by demographic there is evidence of a convergence of demographictransformations (Cavenaghi and Alves 2011). trends. Fertility across the region plummeted fromSince 2003 the region has seen an accelerated 1950 to 2010 as individuals abandoned religiousincrease in per capita income, and the percentage teachings on sex and fertility. In 1950, levels hadof people living below the poverty line dropped to varied from 2.73 in Uruguay to 7.6 in the Dominicanits lowest level at 32.1% in 2010 (Leeson 2011). Republic. By 2010 this variance was from 1.54 in Cuba to 3.71 in Guatemala. In the most populousBy the mid 20th century, Latin America and the countries of the region, the declines have been fromCaribbean were experiencing a population boom 6.1 to 1.7 in Brazil and from 6.7 to 2.0 in mortality declined while fertility remainedrelatively high leading to population growth rates Education, socioeconomic status and urban versusof almost 2.8% per annum in the early 1960s rural residence are all important determinants of– the highest rates of growth in any region of access to family planning information and methods.the world. In 1950, the population of the region Fertility tends to decline with increasing levels ofmatched that of North America (Canada and the urbanisation; to decline with increasing educationalUnited States), but 60 years on the North was attainment of both males and females; and todemographically overshadowed by its southern decline with increasing socioeconomic status.neighbours by more than 200 million people. By2010, despite continued declines of fertility to Similarly, most countries of the region began toaround 2 children per female, the population of experience significant mortality declines after 1950,the region had increased by a third to 589 million, which led to marked increases in life expectanciesnow comprising 8.5% of global population. At at birth for both males and females. Across thethe same time, the region was becoming more region, however, there has been and still isurbanised, with 8% of the population living in noticeable variation between countries. In 1950 lifeurban settings in 2010. expectancy at birth for males ranged from less than 40 years in Bolivia and Haiti to more than 60 yearsThe UN 2010 medium variant projects that the in Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Paraguay and Argentina.population of Latin America and the Caribbean will By 2010, this range was from 60 years in Haiti tocontinue to grow, reaching 729 million by 2050, almost 80 in Costa Rica.outranking its northern neighbours by almost 300million by that time. Underlying this continued Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 41
  • 42. C H A PT E R 2 Box 2.9 Youth bulge The term youth bulge refers to a population with as income level, ethnic heterogeneity, and type a high proportion of people aged 15-24 or 29 of political regime (Moller 1968; Fuller and Pitts years. A wide range of definitions have been 1990; Collier et al. 2007, Potts and Hayden, 2008). used, including the percent of young people in However, an unusually comprehensive study the total population, in the total adult population of events of major political instability, including and in the working age population (15-64 years). ethnic and revolutionary wars, between 1995 and Youth bulges persist until a couple of decades 2003, found no effect of youth bulges whereas after the onset of fertility decline which acts political and economic factors emerged as strong initially to stabilise and then reduce cohort size. predictors (Goldstone et al. 2005). Similarly, Urdal In Least Developed Countries, the percentage of and Hoelscher (2009), in an analysis of violent and the working age population who are aged 15- non-violent disorder in 55 major Asian and African 24, remained constant at 36-37% between 1980 cities, found no evidence that age structure was an and 2010 but is projected to decline to 31% by important influence. 2030. In Less Developed Countries (excluding the Least Developed Countries), this indicator of Whether youth bulges are a contributory cause the youth bulge has been declining since 1980 of violent disorder remains uncertain but swollen and is projected to fall to 22% by 2030 (UN 2010 cohorts of young people entering the working age medium projections). population pose a huge challenge for sufficient job creation. Where policy and institutional contexts In view of the fact that young adults, particularly are unfavourable and the educational system men, are responsible for most crime and violence, poorly attuned to the job market, the consequence it is perhaps unsurprising that some analysts of is high unemployment among young people and conflict have found a statistical link between youth blighted aspirations. Conversely, when conditions bulges and the incidence of intra- or inter-state are favourable and the job market buoyant, youth violent conflict, both in the more distant past and bulges are part of the “demographic dividend” and in the latter half of the 20th century, even after a force for rapid economic growth, as in East Asia. allowance for such obvious confounding factors 2.4.4 Demographic challenges and opportunities and shows no sign of rising above it; unprecedented of low fertility countries and continuing declines in late-life mortality; and, in All of the More Developed Countries are now in the some cases, relatively high levels of inward migration late stages of the demographic transition, or have (although not, for instance, in others such as Japan entered the ‘second demographic transition’, with and some central and Eastern European countries). TFRs below replacement rates. In 2010 the UN As a consequence these countries have experienced estimated the population of the More Developed a decline in the proportion of younger people Countries to be 1.24 billion and this is projected to (through falling fertility), an increase in the proportion reach 1.31 billion by 2050 under the UN medium and number of older people (through both falling fertility variant (1.48 billion under the high variant fertility and mortality), and a more ethnically diverse and 1.15 billion under the low variant) (UNPD 2011). composition (through increased migration) (Harper Life expectancy in the More Developed Countries 2010a). According to Howse (2010) there are four now stands at 77 years (both sexes) (UN 2010). particular challenges posed by these trends: This reflects a long history of declining mortality at all life stages. • those that arise from the changing age structure of the population – specifically the increase in In most of these countries (but not all) the the proportion of older people and the decrease demographic situation is defined principally by in the proportion of younger people (ie changing three dominant trends: a fertility rate that has been dependency ratios); below replacement level for several decades now42 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 43. C HAPTER 2• those that arise from the ageing of the older although this is dependent partly on the health status population (ie more people surviving in ‘late of the elderly. Furthermore even if the labour force old age’); shrinks, this does not necessarily lead to labour shortages. There may also be economic potential• those that arise from inward migration and the created by an ageing society – when considering the growth of migrant communities within the potential consumer possibilities of older people, such host society; as health care, security, housing and home services, leisure and wellness.• those associated with persistent below- replacement fertility (ie population decline as Emphasis is shifting to the idea of demographic opposed to population growth). inertia, whereby groups experiencing very low fertility (TFR less than 1.5), across more than oneThere is a widespread assumption that the structural generation, are predicted to retain low fertility asageing of the population leads to what has been called their social groups adapt to one or no children pera demographic deficit. For example it is projected couple. Some have raised concerns that populationthat for Europe, age-related public spending such decline may result from a change in preferenceas pensions, health and services for older adults will for smaller families, negative population growthrise by 3 to 4 GDP points between 2004 and 2050, momentum, and decline in income as the populationrepresenting an increase of 10% in public spending ages. While migration may partially alleviate the so(EPC and EC 2006). This will be particularly pronounced called demographic deficit, it is only in combinationbetween 2020 and 2040. However, public spending with significant increases in fertility, which is unlikely,may be protected by the general move within the that future working age populations can be fullyEU to transfer responsibilities from governments and replenished. However, migration in combinationcompanies to individuals. There is also a reduced with increased productivity and extended workingpotential for the capacity of ageing populations to lives will go some way to alleviate the demographicfinance pensions and long term health and social care. deficit. Migrants currently increase national TFRs inIn the EU for example, average annual GDP growth the short term and make much less use of benefitsbetween 2004 and 2010 was 2.4%, and is projected to and public services. Migrant workers also fill bothfall to 1.2% for 2030-2050 due to the reduction in the the demand for highly skilled workers and the gap inworking age population (EPC and EC 2006). unskilled employment arising from young people’s unwillingness to undertake certain jobs, particularlyThe types of opportunities presented to a population in the growing old age personal care the fourth stage of the demographic transitionhave been less well considered. For example, a The shift to a low mortality and low fertility societydeclining population can reduce pressure on natural results in an increase in the number of livingresources. Population decline does not necessarily generations, and a decrease in the number oftranslate into a comparable decline in the size of the living relatives within these generations. Increasedlabour force because of the potential for increased longevity may increase the duration spent inlabour force participation among women (eg in certain kinship roles, such as: spouse, parent ofcountries where it is currently low relative to men non-dependent child and sibling. A decrease insuch as Japan and Italy), increased retirement age, fertility may reduce the duration of other roles,and increases in net immigration which tends to such as parent of dependent child, or even theselect people of working age. It is also possible that opportunity for some roles, such as sibling.ageing could lead to an increase in total spendingrather than necessarily economic dependency, Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 43
  • 44. C H A PT E R 2 Box 2.10 The UK in the context of Europe The UK is a high income country with a per The structure of the UK population is projected to capita gross national income of $33,296 (2005 age gradually, with the number of people in the PPP$) (UN HDI 2011). In 2009 it had a TFR of oldest age groups increasing the fastest. The 1.96 (Eurostat 2010), low mortality rates (infant proportion of people over the age of 80 in the UK mortality is at 5 per 1000 live births, the maternal will increase from 4.6% in 2010 to 9.0% in 2050, mortality ratio is 12 per 100,000 live births which is similar to the projected increase for (UNFPA 2011)) and high life expectancy (82 years Europe as a whole (4.2% in 2010 and 9.3% in for women and 78 years for men at birth, in 2009 2050) (UNDP 2010). (Eurostat 2010)). The ageing of the population and a decreasing workforce, a high population density, Population growth: population growth due to a high migration rate The balance between population growth due to and natural increase, and increasing number of inward migration and population growth due to households have had and will continue to have natural increase (growth due to an excess of births socioeconomic consequences for the country. over deaths) has changed in the UK over the last While the EU-27 countries will see population 35 years. Between 1994 and 2007, net inward shrinkage of around 0.2% per year between 2020 migration was the main source of overall population and 2045 (Italy and Germany for example, will be growth in the UK. A decrease in net inward particularly affected with projected falls from 60 migration was seen for 2008 until mid-2009, million to 57 million in Italy between 2010 and increasing slightly to the end of 2009, due largely 2050, and 82 million to 74.5 million for Germany), to a fall in the number of people emigrating from the predicted UK population could increase over the UK rather than an increase in the number of the same period from 62 million in 2009 to 74.5 immigrants (UK RCEP 2011). million by 2050, partly due to natural growth and partly due to net migration (Eurostat 2010). In the UK some of the economic consequences of an ageing workforce may be met through migration Ageing population and decreasing workforce: as a complement to other measures aimed at In 2010, 16% of the UK’s population was over improving education levels and skills, housing the age of 65. This is predicted to increase to mobility and the jobs available in the labour market. 24% in 2050. The proviso here is that by 2050, Across Europe for example the size of the working the number of people over the age of 65 years population would decline significantly (20% by may no longer be a meaningful definition for “old 2050) without international migration, exacerbating age”, and the “working age” population may be the age dependency ratio and threatening economic significantly extended beyond these boundaries. growth and competitiveness. Several studies have However these ages are used to estimate a concluded that overall migrants make a net country’s “dependency ratio”. (See Box 2.1 on contribution in the UK (Gott 2002; Sriskandarajah demographic terms). 2005). Similarly, research by Rendall and Ball (2004) suggests that almost half of overseas-born The next decade and beyond will see a rapid shift immigrants to the UK emigrate again within five towards increased old-age dependency ratios in years. This process of return migration among most industrialised countries. The EU-27 old age UK’s overseas-born immigrants will lower the dependency ratio is set to double from 24.5% UK’s old-age dependency ratio in at least the in 2009 to reach 50% by 2050 (Eurostat 2010), immediate future. as the working-age population (15-64 years), decreases by 48 million between now and 2050, and the EU-25 will change from having four to only two persons of working age for each citizen aged 65 and above (European Commission 2006).44 hapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World C
  • 45. C HAPTER 2As this Chapter has described, it is not just the global will be over the age of 60. The economic, socialsize of the population that is changing, but also the and environmental challenges and opportunitiesdistribution, density and age structure. From 2010 to presented by these changes will differ greatly2050, it is projected that the global population will between the Least, Less and More Developedadd 2.3 billion people, and become predominantly Countries.urban. Nearly a quarter of the population (22%) 2.5 Conclusions 1. Population is about much more than total population growth in the Least Developed numbers of people. All the components Countries is necessary but not sufficient for – composition, density, distribution - must these countries to progress socially and be considered in the context of sustainable economically. development and human wellbeing. 5. Continued rapid global population growth 2. There is huge demographic diversity is inevitable for the next few decades but between the different regions of the whether it continues in the longer term will world. Those in the Least Developed be determined by the investments made Countries are seeing high but declining and the policy frameworks constructed by fertility rates, high population growth rates, countries and the international community. a high youth dependency ratio, and some of The longer the delay in reducing fertility rates the highest rates of urbanisation in the world. the more momentum is built into the system Those in the Less Developed Countries are and the less likely it becomes that the global seeing declining fertility rates but continuing population follows the UN medium projection. population growth and a potential demographic dividend, whilst those in the 6. Some demographic changes, such as More Developed Countries are experiencing age structural change and urbanisation low levels of fertility, an ageing of the must be adapted to and planned for. population and facing a potential Planning and investment are required for demographic deficit. urbanisation, to realise the demographic dividend, to manage demographic deficit, and 3. Globally, total population is still to identify opportunities presented by ageing increasing although peak fertility has populations. passed. The annual increase in total numbers of the world’s population peaked in the 7. Migration for economic, social, 1990s and is slowly abating. The percentage demographic, geopolitical and increase in global population peaked in the environmental reasons will continue 1970s. In the 1980s it was close to 2% and and may increase. Migration can make the absolute increase in population was an important contribution to economic approximately 75 million a year. By 2050 and social development and to addressing global population is expected to still be some of the issues raised by age structural growing by 40 million more births than changes, but can bring challenges which deaths each year. need to be well managed at the global, national and local level. 4. The speed at which the demographic transition takes place is important; different speeds create different social, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities for countries. Slowing rapid Chapter 2. People and the planet: A Diverse World 45
  • 46. C H A PT E R 346 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 47. C HAPTER 3Consumption3.1 IntroductionThe previous Chapter described the dynamics of Box 3.1 Capital assets can be classifiedhuman populations and the diversity of demographic as follows:change around the world. The present Chapterdescribes the overall patterns of consumption and 1. Natural capital: includes species, habitats, once again the diversity of these patterns. First, to local ecosystems, biomes, sub-soilunderstand how consumption is having an impact resources etc including farmland, on the planet, it is necessary to consider what biogeochemical cycles, the atmosphere, consumption is and why it matters. The profound ocean, food, fibre, ecosystem services inequalities among the peoples of the world are including aesthetic, spiritual andthen described. To help understand why there recreational values.are such huge variations in consumption levels 2. Manufactured or reproducible capital:between different parts of the world, the drivers includes infrastructure including roads,of consumption are explored. We will revisit these buildings, ports, machinery, equipment,drivers in Chapter 5, where we discuss ways to housing, personal and commercialreduce consumption inequalities. transport etc.3.2 What is consumption and why doesit matter? 3. Human capital: includes education, skills,Consumption serves people’s needs, tastes tacit knowledge, health.and values and is usually defined in one of two 4. Knowledge capital: includes science andways; consumption of material resources or the technology, arts and humanities.consumption of goods and services (also knownas economic consumption) (Evans and Jackson 5. Institutional (or social) capital: the range2008) that are the direct inputs to human wellbeing of formal and informal arrangements(Dasgupta 2011). The latter definition refers to an between people, including rule of law, economic process and is not restricted to material social norms of behaviour, habitual socialgoods so that a variety of goods and services are practices, economic markets, traditions, consumed, some of which involve virtually no governments at all levels.resource consumption at all (Jackson 2006). Materialresource consumption generally refers to the Dasgupta 2010a.consumption of natural resources or what is oftenreferred to as natural capital (see Box 3.1), and hasimplications for resource scarcity and environmental Consumption has been conceptualised as thedegradation. This distinction between material and consumption of material and non-material goodsnon-material consumption is important because and services within and sometimes outside of thewhile both are necessary for meeting human needs monetised economy (UNDP 1998). Consumptionand delivering human wellbeing they have different is critical to human development and contributesimplications for sustainable development. positively when it: • enlarges the capabilities of people without adversely affecting the wellbeing of others; • is as fair to future generations as to the present ones; • respects the carrying capacity of the planet; • encourages the emergence of lively and creative communities. Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 47
  • 48. C H A PT E R 3 This conceptualisation is useful because while it (Box 3.2). The environmental consequences are draws a distinction between material and non- considered in the following Chapter. Natural capital material forms of consumption, it also emphasises provides the productive base for the economy that they are determinants of sustainable and also provides many of the elements required development. Material consumption does not for social, mental and physical wellbeing. The necessarily lead to positive development, and is not consumption of natural capital is a necessity for always necessary for human development advances. life, not a luxury and so the trends in consumption It is possible that economic consumption (or the of natural capital warrant special attention in a consumption of goods and services) can contribute discussion of the impacts of population. positively to human and economic development, without causing environmental degradation. There are huge variations in consumption patterns around the world, for several reasons. All forms of Economists, sociologists, anthropologists, consumption are correlated with population size and environmentalists, philosophers and theologians have levels of economic development. Because of the link different perspectives on consumption (UNDP 1998). between economic development and consumption, This Chapter adopts an environmental approach, those in the More Developed Countries have the which focuses on consumption as it relates to the opportunity to consume more, while consumption use of renewable (for example; water, wood and possibilities for those in the Least and some of food) and non-renewable natural resources (for the Less Developed Countries are restricted. As example, energy and minerals). Unsustainable use international trade increases, the production of of this natural capital depletes the earth’s resources, goods can become increasingly detached from and has been termed the tragedy of the commons direct consumption. Goods exported from one Box 3.2 The tragedy of the open access commons Many resources are subject to collective action However Hardin was mistaken to assume that problems: if each actor pursues what is in his or all commons are open access, and can be used her short-term interest, things will go much less by anyone without control or rules. Almost well than if all agree to abide by rules that are in all commons are closed access, with distinct the common interest. Collective action problems rules and norms. Closed commons are and can are sometimes thought to arise inevitably from be regulated in such a way that they can be common ownership of resources, but this is not successfully protected and sustained. (Ostrom the case. Hardin (1968), in coining the phrase 1990). Nonmaterial goods, such as knowledge, the “tragedy of the commons” assumed that which are also vital for human wellbeing, are common ownership of physical resources such not subject to scarcity and can be provided as fields and lakes is problematic because it will for all without being in any way degraded be in the interest of each to consume more of (Wilson 2012). the resource than is sustainable. Thus, on Hardin’s analysis, shepherds will tend to overgraze a field which is held in common, as each shepherd seeks to ensure that he or she has as many sheep as possible, and that each sheep is well-grazed. If all (or most) shepherds behave in this way, then the commons will become overgrazed, and its ability to support sheep will soon be destroyed.48 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 49. C HAPTER 3country to another carry with them “embodied” use. 0.4% (140,000 km3) of freshwater is accessiblematerial consumption, which is necessary for their for direct human uses in lakes, rivers, reservoirs andmanufacture. Thus the water use and CO2 emissions shallow underground sources. These stores of waterof More Developed Countries appear lower than are not static; availability, renewability and qualitythey would under full accounting, because they are depend on the transfer rates between them.partially outsourced to Less Developed Countries.The patterns of change in consumption also vary Freshwater is essential to life on earth. It is a naturalgeographically and across income categories. It is resource which enables the production of food andthe Least and Less Developed Countries that have energy, provides hygiene and sanitation and servesthe highest population growth rates, and as the as the primary link between human society, climateeconomies and aspirations of these countries grow, systems and the environment. It is fundamental forso too will their consumption. maintaining human health, agricultural production, economic activity as well as critical ecosystem3.3 Material consumption patterns functions (Gleick and Palaniappan 2010).This section considers the consumption of fourmaterial resources – water, food, energy and Over the last few centuries global aggregate waterminerals. These resources are the most basic needs use has grown exponentially (MA 2005a) and hasfor survival, and in some parts of the world even been closely linked to economic development andthese basic needs are not being met for some people. population growth. A fifteen-fold increase in globalBy contrast, high levels of material consumption water withdrawals occurred between 1800 and 1980seen in many parts of the world may lead eventually (Lvovich and White 1990) when population increasedto loss of wellbeing for the consumer and, in an by a factor of four (Haub 1994): a 3.5 fold increase ininequitable world with finite resources, also result in average per capita consumption. Since 1980 per capitathe deprivation of others. water use rate has dropped a little from 700 to 600 cubic meters per year although the aggregate globalThe illustrative case studies demonstrate global withdrawal continues to increase (Shiklomanov andand regional material consumption patterns. The Rodda 2003). Between 1960 and 2000 world waterexamples are chosen for their relevance to population use doubled from about 1800 to 3600 km3 per yeartrends, and to human wellbeing. Water and food are (MA 2005a). Water use is dominated by agriculturerenewable resources on which wellbeing and health (roughly 70% of withdrawals are for agricultural usedepends. Most land use change over the past 150 (FAO 2010b), followed by industrial (19%) and thenyears has been undertaken to enhance their provision municipal (including domestic) applications (11%).to growing numbers of people. They also underpin Figure 3.1 shows municipal water withdrawal perother components of wellbeing although the linkages capita across income groups.are less direct. Energy and minerals are necessaryfor the provision of food and water. Fossil fuel energy A child born in the developed world consumes 30 tosources, like minerals, are effectively non-renewable. 50 times as much water as one born in the developing world (UNESCO 2003). In 2008 it was estimated that3.3.1 Water 884 million people were still without access to safeWater is circulated in its various physical forms drinking water and 2.6 billion were without access tobetween the land, oceans and atmosphere. The main basic sanitation (WHO and UNESCO 2006) exposingcomponents of the global hydrological cycle are them to preventable infectious diseases. The freshprecipitation on the land and the oceans, evaporation water requirements for meeting basic human needsfrom the land and the oceans, and runoff from the gives a total demand of 50 litres per day, whichland to the oceans (Kuchment 2004). The complete equals 18 m3 per capita per year (Gleick 1996). Thisstock of the Earth’s water is estimated to be about is based on a minimum drinking water requirement,1,400 million km3 (Shiklomanov and Rodda 2003). basic requirements for sanitation, bathing and foodOf the total stock, only 2.5% is freshwater, of which preparation (Gleick 1996).nearly 69% is frozen as icecaps and about 30% ispresent as soil moisture or lies in deep undergroundaquifers as groundwater not accessible to human Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 49
  • 50. C H A PT E R 3 Figure 3.1 Box and whisker plot of municipal water withdrawal per capita (total population) per year (m3) across income groups. The box represents the interquartile range. The lowest point of the “whisker” represents the lowest data point that is within 1.5 times the interquartile range, below the first quartile. The highest point of the whisker represents the highest point of the data that is within 1.5 times the interquartile, above the third quartile. 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Low Lower middle Upper middle High (non OECD) High (OECD) Source: Aquastat (2008 data where available)1 The world’s natural water resources are distributed figure, water stress is calculated by dividing water unevenly around the world. Among inhabited areas, extractions (for irrigation, domestic water supply, at the continental level America has the largest share industry etc) by the available water (i.e. rainfall minus of the world’s total freshwater resources with 45%, evaporation). It is estimated that by 2025, 1,800 followed by Asia with 28%, Europe with 15.5% and million people will be living in countries or regions Africa with 9% (FAO 2003). Central Asia has just with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the 0.6% of the world’s total freshwater resources. world population could be under stress conditions There is therefore wide variability in the total (FAO 2007). Given the population of Africa is set renewable freshwater resources available between to rise from 1 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion in 2050 countries; for example Kuwait has 10m3 per (UN medium variant), water stress for the continent inhabitant while Canada has more than 100,000m3 will become increasingly likely. The situation will be per inhabitant (FAO 2003). exacerbated as rapidly growing urban areas place heavy pressure on neighbouring water resources. Figure 3.2 shows how water stress areas are likely to shift from late 20th century to late 21st century. In this 1 Grouping by income was made using the World Bank’s grouping based on GNI per capita, into low, lower-middle, upper-middle and high-income countries (with the further subdivision of the high-income group into OECD and non-OECD countries). Information on this can be found at: The list of countries in each group can be found at: Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 51. C HAPTER 3Figure 3.2 Water stress, calculated as the ratio between water withdrawals and availability,for the late 20th and 21st centuries (see Flörke and Eisner, 2011).ECHAM5 is an atmospheric general circulation model, from the Max-Planck-Institute.Water Stress climate normal (1971 – 2000) Withdrawals-to-availability ratio (1971 – 2000) 0 – 0.2 (low water stress) 0.2 – 0.4 (mid water stress) more than 0.4 (severe water stress)Water Stress ECHAM5 – A2 (2071 - 2100) Withdrawals-to-availability ratio (2071 – 2100) 0 – 0.2 (low water stress) 0.2 – 0.4 (mid water stress) more than 0.4 (severe water stress)Virtual or embodied water refers to the amount of 1,000 cubic meters of water to produce a ton offreshwater (including soil water) used during the grain (Hoekstra and Hung 2003). Countries limitedproduction process of a good or service. Producing in available freshwater rely on importing food togoods and services generally requires water compensate for lack of production ability (Brown(Hoekstra 2003). For example, it requires about and Matlock 2011). Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 51
  • 52. C H A PT E R 3 3.3.2 Food the supply and demand. Demand is influenced by Important basic food groups include: grains; people’s dietary preferences and the market value of vegetables; fruit; meat, fish, and beans (including the product before it is bought and consumed. eggs, nuts, and meat alternatives); and milk (which includes yogurt and cheese). A healthy and balanced The increase in the average global food consumption diet contains a variety of foods from within each per person has not been equal across regions. The food group, since each food offers different per capita supply of calories has remained almost macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) stable in sub-Saharan Africa for example (WHO and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). On 2003). In 2010 close to one billion people did not average, the body needs more than 2,100 kilocalories receive sufficient calories to meet their minimum per day per person, consumed as food, to allow dietary energy requirements (FAO 2010a; Defra a normal, healthy life (World Food Programme 2010). Another billion people (estimates vary) are 2011). Chronic undernutrition in the first two years chronically malnourished: they do not get the of life leads to irreversible damage, meaning that vitamins, dietary minerals, essential fatty acids, and children may never reach their full mental and essential amino acids, necessary for health, even physical potential. Poor nutrition can affect school though they may get enough calories. performance, economic productivity and earning power in adult life (World Food Programme 2011). Crops grown for biofuels or livestock feed also can lead to price increases and food shortages. Trends Globally, between 1969 and 2005 food consumption and changes underway in population, development, has increased on average by about 360 kcal per urbanisation and globalisation can make food person per day. This has amounted to a 15% security harder to achieve as the demands for food increase between 1969 and 2005 (Foresight 2011b). and costs to consumers may increase. The effects The global demand is expected to change rapidly of climate change, such as changes in temperature, as emerging economies become wealthier and shifts in seasons and more frequent and extreme individual households can afford more varied diets weather events such as flooding and drought may including more meat, dairy products and fish. Fish also affect food security. consumption has increased from 9.9kg per year in the 1960s to a high of 17kg per capita per year in With increasing affluence most countries adopt a 2010 (FAO 2010b). However, wild marine fish catches more varied diet with a higher proportion of animal peaked at 74.7 million tonnes in 1996 (FAO 2010b), protein, a phenomenon which has been marked in and global fisheries production has only continued most of Asia in recent times. to grow due to aquaculture (fish farming). Access to food has generally (but not universally) increased as a result of rising income levels and falling food prices. The future trends depend on both52 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 53. C HAPTER 3 Figure 3.3 Median total meat supply (kcal / capita / day) for each income category. 350 350 350Total meat supply (kcal/capital/day) 300 250 200 Low 150 Lower middle 100 Upper middle 50 High (non OECD) 0 High (OECD) 1961 1963 1965 1967 1969 1971 1973 1975 1977 1979 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 Source: FAOstat ‘Food supply’ database (see Differences in supply of meat are shown in Figure 3.3.3 Energy 3.3. Whilst median per capita daily meat supply in Of all the factors underlying the economic low-income countries remained steady from 1961 development of humanity, energy has a preeminent to 2007, at around 50 kcal per capita per day, the role. The invention of the practical steam engine meat supply in high income (OECD) countries rose and its development during the 1700s began the from around five times to up to eight times this level. industrial revolution, which has led to an increase In China and Brazil meat consumption increased of energy use, per capita in developed countries, markedly over the past 40 years, but the same has by an order of magnitude since that time, supplied not been true in India where, for cultural reasons, by combustion of fossil fuels on a scale that has meat consumption remains at a very low level. eclipsed other sources. The rise in emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere has now led to On average, people in industrialized countries measurable and dangerous climate change. In this consume an average of 28.7 kg per year of fish, section we are primarily concerned with the impact in developing countries 16.1 kg per year, and in of energy consumption on the planet, and so shall Least Developed Countries 9.5 kg per year (FAO focus on CO2 emissions. 2010b). Least Developed Countries are therefore likely to be the most sensitive to changes in the availability and affordability of fish, given the low baseline consumption and generally low resources to replace fish with other types of animal protein (Allison et al. 2009). This leads to a high risk of malnutrition. The differences and trends for vegetable food supply are similar to those for meat although the variations are slightly less extreme. Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 53
  • 54. C H A PT E R 3 Figure 3.4 World total energy supply by fuel, from 1971 to 2008 (Million Tonnes of oil equivalent). 14000 12000 10000 Million tonnes of oil equivalent 8000 Coal/peat 6000 Oil Gas 4000 Nuclear 2000 Hydro Combustible renewables 0 and waste 1971 1975 1983 1987 1991 1995 2003 2008 Source: IEA 2010 Figure 3.4 shows the global sources of energy. In of energy commodities and so have different 1900, the activities of humans released half a billion average levels of CO2 emissions per unit of energy tons of carbon to the atmosphere per year. In 2000, consumption (IEA 2008). they released 7.3 billion tons a year – a fifteen-fold increase. The human population of Earth in 1900 was The overall picture is complicated by countries of 1.6 billion. The population in 2000 was 6.1 billion – different size at different stages of development a nearly fourfold increase. So average CO2 emission and with different trends. Especially important at per capita also increased fourfold. the global level are trends in countries with large populations currently with high or rapidly growing Global trends in CO2 emissions are driven by the levels of emissions. amount and type of energy used and the indirect emissions associated with the production of Carbon dioxide emissions are related to economic electricity. Between 1990 and 2005, global CO2 growth and level of development, and so there are emissions from final energy use increased to 21.2 marked differences between countries. As countries Gt CO2, a rise of 25%. Manufacturing was the most develop they tend to move towards emissions important sector in 2005 with a share of 38% of levels comparable to those of developed market energy/CO2 emissions, while CO2 emissions from economies. At present, per capita CO2 emissions transport (25%) were higher than for households are 10 to 50 times higher in high income than low (21%). The sectors rank differently depending income countries (EIA 2011). Access to energy is on whether energy or CO2 emissions are being very unequally divided, and energy insufficiency is considered, as they do not all use the same mix a major component of poverty.54 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 55. C HAPTER 3 Figure 3.5 Total carbon dioxide emissions in Least, Less and More Developed Countries. This figure shows the difference between the Least, Less and More Developed Countries in aggregate carbon dioxide emissions. 20 000Carbon dioxide emissions (milion metric tons) 15 000 10 000 5 000 More Developed Countries Less Developed Countries 0 Least Developed Countries 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Source: EIA 2011 Figure 3.6 Per capita carbon dioxide emissions in Least, Less, and More Developed Countries. This figure shows the difference between the Least, Less and More Developed Countries in per capita carbon dioxide emissions. It shows that per capita CO2 emissions in the More Developed Countries are around three times higher than the world average 16 14Carbon dioxide emissions (metric tons per capita) 12 10 8 6 More Developed Countries 4 Less Developed Countries 2 Least Developed Countries 0 World 2010 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 The per capita emissions for Figure 3.6 were calculated by dividing the CO2 emissions (Figure 3.5) by population. Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 55
  • 56. C H A PT E R 3 This section has shown the huge variation in energy Interpreting measures of reserves, production consumption between the different income and and consumption presents challenges. Reserves development groups. More Developed Countries are economic entities that depend on current have per capita CO2 emissions from 4 to 50 times scientific knowledge of mineral deposits and on the those of Least and Less Developed Countries. But present price of the target metal or mineral; they these patterns are changing fast: CO2 emissions are unreliable long-term indicators of availability. (both total and per capita) are growing up to 10 Historical and global records of mineral consumption times faster in Less Developed Countries. The fastest are scarce and problematic to interpret. In contrast, growth in per capita carbon emissions is now seen excellent reliable records of mineral production exist in Less Developed Countries. both at national and global levels, in part because taxation is levied on production. Production data 3.3.4 Minerals serve as a good proxy for consumption, and are Economic minerals comprise essential material used here. resources for human activity and the economy; they are natural assets which are extracted from the Despite scarce concentrated deposits, mineral ground and modified for their economic utility. They demand, especially metal demand, has undergone may be measured both in physical units such as a sharp rise (see Figure 3.7). Diverse physical and area, volume, mass, or energy, and in financial terms chemical properties lend them to a wide range of which express their economic value. They comprise unique purposes which are of increasing economic energy minerals (coal, oil, natural gas, uranium), significance. construction minerals (sand, gravel, brick clay, crushed rock aggregates), industrial minerals (non- Globally, from 1960 to 2007 production of refined metallic substances such as salt, limestone, silica copper and lead increased fourfold, lithium by nearly sand, phosphate rock, talc and mica) and metals. as much, and tantalum/niobium increased 77 fold. In addition, fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and Consumption of fossil fuels has led to the continuous yttrium make up the group of rare earth elements increase in CO2 since pre-industrial times (Keeling (REEs) (IUPAC definition). 1960; Keeling and Whorf, 2004b). Demand for rare earth elements has undergone a sharp rise in recent Minerals are ubiquitous in the earth’s crust, but years. The price of lanthanum oxide has risen from typically in very low concentrations. Where natural US$5 per kilogram in early 2010 to US$140 per and geological processes have concentrated minerals kilogram in June 2011 (DOE 2011). About 15000 sufficiently, they become economically viable tons per year of the lanthanides are consumed deposits for use. Production begins with exploration, as catalysts, in magnets and in the production of whereby such deposits are identified for extraction glasses. Many technological devices use rare earth (open-cast quarrying, mining, or sometimes elements. The great majority of the consumption pumping); they are then refined, processed and of minerals (especially metals) occurs in the most transported for use by industry, construction and developed and highly industrialised parts of the agriculture. world, whereas mining itself is widespread.56 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 57. C HAPTER 3Figure 3.7 Global trends in world mineral extraction 1990 – 2010 350 300 250 World GDP const $20001990 = 100 200 Iron ore 150 Bauxite 100 Cement Copper 50 Phosphate rock 0 GDP 2010 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Source: Jackson 2009 2009Considerable amounts of water and energy are growth). Relative decoupling refers to a decline inneeded to extract metals, which along with the the ecological intensity per unit of economic outputpollution generated by the extraction processes, (resource impacts decline relative to GDP). Absoluteare the main constraints to greater sustainability of decoupling is when resource impacts decline inmining operations. Approximately 10% of active absolute terms. To date, global trends have shownmines and 20% of exploratory sites are located in mixed evidence for decoupling of resource use fromareas of high conservation value, while nearly 30% economic growth (see Jackson 2009).of active mines are located in water-stressed areas.Although mining activities may only cover a few 3.4 Drivers of consumptionsquare kilometres, exploration activities tend to For one billion people who live in extreme poverty,spread much more widely. As well as creating and a further billion who are so poor as to becompetition for already scarce water supplies, local malnourished, the chief drivers of consumption arepopulations nearby or downstream can be adversely the attainment of adequate living standards includingaffected by an impact on water quality. basic commodities and services (FAO 2010a). The basic requirements of people are expressed in theDeveloping countries with a growing volume Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with aof metallic mineral production typically face the target date of 2015. For most of the Least Developedchallenges of managing the resource revenue Countries the targets will not be reached by thateffectively for sustainable development as well as time, but nevertheless the MDGs have provided aminimising the adverse social and environmental stimulus to progress. There are however other factorsimpacts of mining activities (Collier 2010). which are generally relevant, discussed below.As finite resources, metals impose limits to 3.4.1 Preferences and social factorseconomic growth unless relative decoupling and As living standards rise, and countries proceedeventually absolute decoupling can be achieved through less developed to more developed situations,(that is decoupling resource use from economic the drivers become more diverse and subtle. One of Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 57
  • 58. C H A PT E R 3 them is habit, which is based on past consumption, that individuals like to conform to the norm in such and influences current taste for goods and services. exchanges, termed “associational consumption” For example, India is not switching to a high meat (Douglas and Isherwood 1996). It leads to a diet as other developing countries are doing. very different social dynamic from conspicuous consumption (where the goal is to exceed the norm). Other drivers, yet to be explored quantitatively in a systematic way, are due to the sociability of In developed countries, a strong driver for most human beings. As social animals humans are both individuals is the attainment of a higher income. So competitive and conformist, wanting to attain status prevalent is this, that it sounds unnecessary even to in the community in certain ways and yet wanting state the fact. Higher income usually leads to higher simultaneously to be like others in other ways. In his consumption, so whatever factors drive income may classic work on the Gilded Age, Veblen (1899) spoke also drive consumption, which provides those marks of “conspicuous consumption”, to draw attention to of status, as well as material wellbeing. As a result, consumption as a status symbol (such as expensive people are generally more content with an expanding cars, clothes, and houses). If a consumption good is economy than with one which is flat, let alone one to be a status symbol, it must be conspicuous; hence which is contracting (which is pejoratively described the title of Veblen’s classic. as in recession). Social scientists have characterised such forms At the national level, GDP has become an accepted of consumption competition as “rat races”, with measure of a country’s prosperity and influence. each household trying to “beat” all others in their In later Chapters the implications of measuring consumption patterns (Easterlin 1974, 1995, 2001; prosperity by GDP will be discussed further, but the Oswald, 1997). All people work harder and consume consequence is that GDP is not only a result but also more than if all agreed to work less hard and now a driver of income and consumption. National consume less; the difficulty is to find a mechanism economic growth (as measured inadequately by for encouraging such an agreement (Schor 1998; GDP) becomes an end in itself, and governments Frank 2011). encourage their workforces to be as productive as possible, in competition with those of other nations. The impact of competitive consumption on And expanding economies, without regulatory sustainability was recognized long ago (Hirsch 1976; measures, usually lead to higher consumption. Heilbroner 1977). If goods are under-priced (see During and after a global recession, citizens are Box 4.3), and if those goods are conspicuous (e.g. encouraged to go shopping rather than saving, expensive cars, air travel), then they are natural focal because in current models of the economy it seems points for competition. Add in habits and a growing to be the only way to escape from the financial complementary infrastructure (filling stations, doldrums (Jackson 2009). expanding motorways, airports) and the result is a spiralling, continually increasing exploitation of The many components of this economic cycle natural capital that adds less to human wellbeing include: marketing and advertising to influence than expected and jeopardises the wellbeing of consumer choice; high levels of individual and others (including future generations). national debt; wrong pricing (discussed further in Box 4.3) leading to carelessness and waste. Each is Other patterns of consumption are conformist. They a huge economic topic in itself. It is misleading to offer a visible way for people to relate to one another. single out any one as being the key issue because For example, many people like living in a society all are part of a cycle of consumerism. Together where friends invite one another to social occasions. with technological lock-in (Box 3.3) they establish The reciprocity may increase the cost but it adds to a consumption momentum from which escape personal wellbeing. What differentiates conformist is difficult. consumption from conspicuous consumption is58 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 59. C HAPTER 3 Box 3.3 Technological lock-in The consumption of resources per capita often Lock-in is the process by which self-reinforcing continues to increase after advancements in barriers to change, inhibit or prevent the uptake of technology and processes which would permit new technologies, many of which might improve its reduction. The drivers of this phenomenon the sustainability of resource demand. Forces of are diverse. institutional lock-in arise from associations formed to represent collective interests, and by the The rate of change in levels of consumption with adherence to convention. In other cases, apparently the arrival of a new technology is a function of inferior designs become fixed in use by a process the inertia of the existing technology regime in which strategy and historic circumstance and the rate of uptake of the new technology. are as important as the design itself, creating Technologies are embedded within wider social technological lock-in. Examples include the VHS and economic systems: these include structures video tape design, QWERTY keyboard and light- of markets, patterns of consumer demand, water nuclear reactors. Once established, mass systems of regulation and infrastructure. For production, rapid development and conformity to instance, the electricity-generating regime is the prevailing norm (eg for inter-operability) locked- founded upon rules and practices, relating to in these technologies as the predominant designs large centres of power generation connected by in their respective markets. Such technologies yield high-voltage grid networks. Consumption patterns increasing economies of scale, and implementation and supportive institutional arrangements have of new designs and processes in their place incurs built around and reinforced this system for at additional “penetrational” structural and resource least eighty years in more developed economies. costs – even if long term consumption of Any transition to an alternative (eg distributed) resources, functionality, environmental impacts technological model would require a body of and cost might be superior. organisational change and consumer uptake before it can take effect. (See Unruh, 2000; Smith et al. 2005; Jackson and Papathanasopoulou, 2008).3.4.2 Age structure Similar trends have been demonstrated in China andAgeing is an important factor in consumption, India (O’Neill and Chen 2002).especially of healthcare and energy resources.The U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey found 3.4.3 Household structurethat households with an older “householder” or Households are likely to decrease in size in the future“household head” spent a substantially larger share of (Keilman 2003). Family size is falling and longevityincome than younger households on utilities, services, is increasing, so the proportion of a lifetime spentand health care, and a substantially smaller share on without children at home is increasing. Additionally,clothing, motor vehicles, and education. Since the two-adult households are progressively decliningmost energy intensive goods are utilities and fuels, in frequency compared to one-adult householdsaggregated consumption in older households is because people are living singly longer beforemore energy intensive than consumption in younger they marry; divorce rates are rising; and thehouseholds (Dalton et al. 2008). In their projections better survival from marriage to advanced agesof future U.S. carbon emissions to 2050, ageing of women compared with men means that manyhad effects as large as, or larger than, the effects of more women are being widowed and live singly.technical change in some scenarios. In the United Finally, rising wealth increases the feasibility of livingStates in 1987-97, energy consumption for residential independently. As a consequence households arepurposes increased with the age of the household expected to grow in number much faster than thehead (from fifteen to eighty five). Also in the United numbers of people. Smaller household sizes areStates in the interval 1983-94, transport energy more energy intensive per member of the populationdeclined as the age of the household head increased. (OECD 2002). Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 59
  • 60. C H A PT E R 3 3.4.4 Population movement 3.4.5 Food requirements In China and India, energy consumption per person What people eat (meat vs vegetables), how fell, while money spent per person to pay for energy they travel (cars vs bikes), or how they keep cool rose, as people moved from rural areas to towns (air conditioners vs natural ventilation and light to cities, and as the sources of energy change clothing) all affect demands on natural resources (Pachauri and Jiang 2008). Biomass combustion and the environment. Combined increases in world (eg burning of wood or dung, often not a monetised population and per capita food demand could result resource) disappeared, while electricity use rose in a rise in total demand for food of 40% by 2030 and from almost nothing to a substantial fraction (Jiang 70% by 2050 (FAO 2006). and O’Neill 2004). Insufficient food energy intake is almost always Evidence from the different routes taken by migrants accompanied by a deficient intake of most nutrients. suggests that migration often results in a significant Awareness of the consequences of insufficient income increase for the migrant (eg. McKenzie et energy intakes in children and adults has influenced al. 2010; Hanson 2008). Migration may also have health, food and agriculture policies around the an impact on access to credit markets and may world. More recently, the consequences of increasing change preferences, all of which are likely to affect obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases have the level of consumption of the migrant. Migration also been recognized as major factors for the health, may also affect consumption in the migrants’ home food and agriculture sectors. These problems are country. Migrants sent over US$ 300 billion back increasing globally as a result of changes in diets home in the form of remittances in 2010 (World and lifestyles that are reflected in changing food Bank 2011). Substantial evidence from different cultures and physical activity patterns among all countries indicates that households receiving these segments of society, and not only among affluent resources have different consumption patterns from groups or in the richest countries. Under-nutrition their non-receiving counterparts, including the level early in life, followed by an inappropriate diet and low of consumption and the distribution of spending physical activity in childhood and adult life increases among different goods and services (Castaldo and vulnerability to chronic non-communicable diseases Reilly 2007; Adams et al.2008). Remittances may (FAO 2001). even allow several more members of the household to migrate. However, more than money and goods 3.4.6 Consumption and population flow between the host and home countries through The sustainable development debate has, over migrants. Migrants may also send home ideas, norms recent years, been typified by those who argue of behaviour, values and expectations that may affect that population growth is the source of current consumption in the home country (Levitt 1998). unsustainable trends, and those who believe that consumption is the primary culprit. This artificial Migrants may affect the income of the non-migrants distinction is unhelpful as it can lead to argument in the destination country (ie “locals”) by affecting over whether policy should focus on reducing their labour market outcomes. Most studies suggest population growth or on improving the sustainability that, on average, the impact of immigration on local of consumption, while both are clearly important. residents’ wages is small (Card 1990; Hunt 1992), but this impact could be quite important for certain The relationship between population and groups of workers, especially those with low consumption is not simple. Every member of society skills (Borjas et al. 1992). This impact can affect must consume a minimum amount of goods and the consumption levels of the local residents. The services to survive. Each additional person added to presence of migrants may also permit the production the population will necessarily result in an increase of certain goods at lower prices (eg prepared foods) in total or aggregate consumption. If per capita which may lead to more consumption of those consumption is constant, each person added to goods. the population increases total consumption by the same amount; but of course per capita consumption60 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 61. C HAPTER 3is not constant, either over time or between richer create productive jobs for them. The more economicand poorer segments of a population. Moreover, growth there is, the more consumption there maythe age structure of a population, i.e. proportion be, but not necessarily; gross domestic product, forof working age in the population relative to the example, may grow because exports are increased,number of young and old dependents, influences leading to little or no growth in consumption in theconsumption and economic growth. The more producing country (Stiglitz et al. 2009). Age structurepeople of working age there are in a population, the affects consumption as each age group’s behaviour ismore potential producers there are, therefore there governed differently by tastes and perceptions aboutis more potential for economic growth; but again life needs, but is constrained by general standards of livingis not simple. There must be jobs for the people of (Mason and Lee 2007). Increasing life expectancyworking age, and the productivity of those people increases the amount that people are able to save andat work depends heavily on their education, health, therefore may increase their lifetime consumption levelsand the availability of local investment and credit to if their savings lead to productive investments. Box 3.4 Sustainable consumption in Ghana In 2011, the population of Ghana stood at 25 million. The population is set to reach 49 million by 2050 (UN 2011a medium variant). For the Ghanaian population, fish is the main source of protein, largely because of its price relative to other sources of high quality protein such as milk, meat and eggs. The FAO has estimated that fisheries constitute 3% of total GDP in Ghana and has projected that in 2023, the demand for fish in Ghana will be 1,399,811 tonnes, while the supply will be 783,894 tonnes (FAO 2004). It is estimated that 80% of the fish caught in Ghana per year is caught in artisan wooden canoes, which have no quotas for maximum catch size. The fishing port of Elmina, Ghana, the fishing associations, who distribute Government- is home to 80,000 canoes, each one struggling subsidised diesel. The canoe fishing community to maintain catch size. Common beliefs as to also get subsidised engine parts for maintenance. why catch sizes are decreasing include faulty or The canoe fishers en masse are powerful because inadequate equipment and the presence of illegal politicians like the employment opportunities trawlers within the ‘Exclusive Economic zone’. offered by the industry – not just fishing, but Few know that overfishing of a finite resource, preparing and selling the fish, transportation, or a 1 degree warming of the sea that has killed maintenance of boats. off the zooplankton (the main source of food for herring), could be the main reasons. Pollution and The Ministry of Food and Farming, Ghana, is ecosystem health contribute to the problem. There working with partners towards sustainable is not sufficient treatment of the waste going into management of the nation’s fisheries. This is the sea, leading to nitrogen pollution as sewage likely to become increasingly important as the releases nitrogen into the environment. There is population continues to rise and environmental also an issue around coastal erosion, as people factors continue to have an impact on fish stocks. take sand from the beaches to build houses. Alternative sources of protein will need to be explored, as will alternative employment The canoe community in Ghana are a powerful opportunities for thousands of artisan fishers. lobbying group. All boats are registered with Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption 61
  • 62. C H A PT E R 3 3.5 Conclusions 1. The consumption of water, food, energy 3. The drivers of consumption are complex. and minerals is a basic need for survival, For those living in poverty, the primary and in some parts of the world it is not drivers are the attainment of adequate being met. By contrast, a high level of living standards. For others, the drivers consumption in some countries may lead include habit, consumer competition, social eventually to loss of wellbeing by the consumer conformity, and demographic factors such and, in a world with finite resources, also result as age structure change and migration. in the deprivation of others. 4. Consumption and demography are closely 2. Global consumptions of water, food, inter-twined. Every person must consume, energy and minerals have grown rapidly in and each additional person on the planet recent years, both overall and per capita. will add to total consumption levels. Other The rates of change differ between different than population size, demographic factors such income categories, and countries with different as ageing or urbanisation can also influence population sizes. consumption levels. Policies should not treat population and consumption as separate issues.62 Chapter 3. People and the planet: Consumption
  • 63. C HAPTER 4A finite planet4.1 Introduction With the increase in global scale environmentalHuman wellbeing and the state of the natural problems such as climate change, pollution,environment are closely linked. The environment stratospheric ozone depletion, and oceanprovides natural capital which, through production acidification, and as understanding of potentialand consumption, forms the basis of many of the thresholds and feedbacks has grown, the finitematerial and non-material inputs to human wellbeing. nature of Earth is again receiving attention.Wellbeing is discussed further in Chapter 5. As understanding has grown of the importance of natural capital for human wellbeing, so tooFunctioning ecosystems support life on Earth, and have concerns about the risks of exceedinghuman populations, like those of other species, environmental thresholds.cannot continue to grow indefinitely. On a planetwith finite resources there are limits to growth. The This Chapter aims to summarise the impacts thatchallenge of understanding where those limits lie is population in combination with consumption hasmore difficult than it might at first seem, because had on the environment and to discuss thewhat constitutes a resource changes with scientific implications for human wellbeing from theunderstanding, technological developments and perspective of a finite planet.human values. For example, in the 18th century oilfrom the ground was largely a valueless curiosity 4.2 Natural capital and ecosystemswhile human slaves were a significant source of Natural capital refers to the assets of the naturaleconomic income. Economic, political and cultural world that produce flows of goods and servicesfactors are of major significance in managing valued by people. Natural capital stands in relationconsumption and population growth within planetary to the goods and services that flow from it as thelimits, however those limits are inferred, so that amount of money (wealth, or capital, a stock) in one’sfinite resources and the potential for all people, and bank account stands in relation to the interest onesubsequent generations, to lead healthy and fulfilling earns on that money (income, a flow of money perlives are not compromised. unit of time). Income from natural capital can be of direct use in consumption (fisheries), of indirect useAs demonstrated in Chapter 3 the consumption of as inputs in production (oil and natural gas; the widenatural resources is increasing around the world array of ecosystem services), and of use in both (air(although at different rates in different regions). and water). This report uses an inclusive definition,The interactions between population, development which includes fossil fuels.and environment vary globally and regionally, andthere are important differences among countries at Natural capital includes potential future use-valuedifferent stages of development. Additionally, the of a resource, combined with the irreversibility ofstructure and distribution of specific populations its depletion. The genetic material in tropical forestsaffect the consumption patterns and trends. provides an example, since it is not certain which parts of the genetic material will prove useful in theAt a global level, the scale and rate of environmental future. As tropical species become extinct, so doeschanges observed over the last century are so large the genetic material they carry, and any potentialthat this period of planetary history has been referred future value the material may offer – future optionsto as the Anthropocene (Crutzen and Stoermer 2000; for humanity – is lost. Accordingly, this additionalEllis 2011; Vitousek et al. 1997). This label is intended worth of natural capital is often called an optionto indicate that human activities are having impacts value. The forest’s worth could be from the productson the Earth on a scale equivalent to major geological extracted from it (timber, gum, honey, fruit andevents of the past. The magnitude of change bark), or from its presence as a stock (forest cover),observed to date is leading humanity closer to, or in or from both (watersheds). The stock could be ancertain cases beyond, environmental limits, echoing index of quality (air quality) or quantity. Ecosystemsearlier arguments that human population had moved are interacting systems of living organisms andbeyond the planet’s carrying capacity (Rockström et non-living components in a defined area of anyal. 2009 and see Figure 4.2). size. Organisms in an ecosystem interact with their physical environment, acquiring resources from it, Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 63
  • 64. C H A PT E R 4 influencing it through their behaviour and products, move minerals from the water, sediment, and soil and being influenced by it. They also interact with into and among organisms, and back again into the each other: they compete for resources, feed on physical environment. In performing these functions, each other (by grazing, predation or parasitism) and they provide materials to humans in the form of food, cooperate in mutualistic relationships. The set of fibre, and building materials and they contribute to organisms and their interactions with each other and the regulation of soil, air, and water quality the physical environment determine a wide range (MA 2003). of processes that underpin the operations of the natural world. Ecosystem services are activities or functions of an ecosystem that provide benefit (or occasionally Like other species, humans are part of and disbenefit) to humans. The Millennium Ecosystem dependent on these ecosystems and their properties. Assessment (2003) developed the concept of As organisms interact with each other and their ecosystem services using the four categories of physical environment, they produce, acquire, or provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting decompose biomass and the carbon-based or services (see Box 4.1). organic compounds associated with it. They also Box 4.1 Ecosystem Services Supporting Services are those necessary for all This classification is not absolute: some services can other ecosystem services, and their impacts on appear under more than one heading. For example, people are either indirect or occur over a very long pollination is both a supporting service (through time period. Changes in the other categories have determining the structure and dynamics of natural relatively direct and short-term impacts on people. plant communities,) and also a regulating service Supporting services include primary production, (through fertilisation of crop plants). production of atmospheric oxygen, soil formation and retention, nutrient cycling, water cycling, and The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) pollination. distinguishes final ecosystem services that directly deliver welfare gains and/or losses to people Provisioning Services are the products obtained through goods, from the general term ‘ecosystem from ecosystems, including food and fibre, fuel, services’ that includes the whole pathway from fresh water, genetic resources, biochemicals, ecological processes through final ecosystem natural medicine and pharmaceuticals. services, goods and values to humans (UK National Ecosystem Assessment 2011). Goods are products Regulating Services are the benefits obtained from that are used or consumed by people: most goods the regulation of ecosystem processes, including provided by ecosystems also have other inputs: air quality maintenance, climate regulation, water for example, food is a good that is essential for regulation, erosion control, water purification and humans, but typically the food that people eat has waste treatment, regulation of disease, biological been harvested, transported and often processed control, pollination, storm protection. before it is eaten. In this case the good may be a loaf of bread and the final ecosystem service is Cultural Services are the nonmaterial benefits wheat grain, but these depend on a wide range of people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual other ecosystem services, including soil formation, enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, nutrient and water cycling and disease control. recreation, and aesthetic experiences.64 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 65. C HAPTER 4Changes to ecosystems and the services they provide discussed elsewhere (Cohen 2010; Royal Societymay have either direct or indirect effects on human 2010; IPCC 2007c).wellbeing (see Chapter 5). Direct effects typicallyoccur quickly, through locally identifiable biological 4.3.1 Land-cover changeor ecological pathways. For example, pollution of Human population growth influences long-termwetlands may affect drinking water, the deforestation patterns of land use, which is a major force behindof hillsides can expose downstream communities environmental changes (Liu et al. 2005). By the yearto the hazards of flooding, and the destruction 2000 most of the terrestrial biomes were at leastof mangrove forests to allow shrimp farming can partially transformed for human use, and more thandamage fisheries and expose communities to half of the terrestrial biosphere was transformedtsunami damage (Barbier 2006). into intensively used areas dominated by people (MA 2005d; Ellis 2011). There is an acceleratingSome changes to ecosystem services may take transformation of land for human use - see Figuredecades to have an impact. For example, where 4.1 overleaf (MA 2005e). At least 25% of the globalfarmlands under irrigation become saline, crop land area is now devoted to some form of cultivationyields are reduced; this in turn may affect human (as croplands, shifting cultivation, confined livestocknutritional security, child growth and development, production or freshwater aquaculture). Areasand susceptibility to infectious diseases. Beyond that have been long-settled including grasslands,threshold points, limited or degraded supplies of croplands, rangelands and some woodlands are nowfresh water may exacerbate political tensions, impair largely transformed by people, and their originallocal economic activity and reduce aesthetic amenity. ecological communities altered or sometimes shiftedThese dynamic, interacting processes jeopardise outside their natural range. Other areas such asvarious aspects of human wellbeing. rangelands in savannahs, shrublands, and grasslands are also significantly transformed, but at lower levelsThe psychological and health aspects of being in of contact with nature must also be properlyunderstood. There is strong evidence to show One measure of the impact that people have on thethat facilitating nature-based activity and social world’s ecosystems is through an estimate of theengagement (proving locations for contact with proportion of the total productivity of the Earth nownature, physical activity and social engagement) is used by people. Vitousek et al. (1987) first suggestedgood for wellbeing through positive health benefits that about 40% of the present net primary production(Laumann et al. 2003; Pretty et al. 2005; Kaplan 2001; in terrestrial ecosystems was being co-opted byMaller et al. 2006; Wells et al. 2007; Bowler et al. people each year. More detailed work since has2010) as well as psychological and cultural benefits. supported this basic conclusion, while emphasising significant regional variation. Scarcely populated4.3 Trends in environmental change due to but intensively cropped areas such as the Northpopulation and consumption American Corn Belt, as well as densely populatedThe two major drivers of environmental change regions such as large parts of Europe, India, Chinaare population and consumption (MA 2005b; and South-East Asia, have much higher proportionsde Sherbenin et al. 2007), and to date, the most of net primary productivity directed entirely to humansignificant direct causes of environmental change consumption. This human appropriation of naturalhave been exploitation of resources, land conversion, primary productivity inevitably affects other land usespollution and invasions by non-native species. In and the status of natural habitats and wild species,addition, climate change and other forms of pollution but also raises concerns about how sustainable suchare expected to become increasingly important high intensities of land use can be over longer timefactors (MA 2005c). scales (Haberl et al. 2007).This section explores the nature and magnitude ofthe environmental change due to human activitieswith four examples: land-cover change, freshwater,oceans and biodiversity loss. Climate changesresulting from human activities have been extensively Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 65
  • 66. C H A PT E R 4 Figure 4.1 Conversion of major terrestrial biomes for human use. The conversion before 1950 is based on the estimated extent of the original biomes before human impact began. The loss to 2050 is an average projected from the four MA scenarios, the error bar representing the range in each case. 100 90 80 Fraction of potential area cevered (%) 70 60 50 40 30 20 Conversion of original biomes 10 Projected loss by 2050 0 Loss between 1950 and 1990 -10 Loss by 1950 Mediterranean forests, woodlands and scrub Temperate forest steppe and woodland Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest Tropical and sub-tropical dry broadleaf forests Flooded grasslands and savannas Tropical and sub-tropical grasslands, savannas and shrubland Tropical and sub-tropical coniferous forests Deserts Montane grasslands and shrublands Tropical and sub-tropical moist broadleaf forests Temperate coniferous forests Boreal Forests Tundra Source: MA 2005e 4.3.2 Freshwater reproduction, can inhibit movement across, up-and Global freshwater environments are subject to down-stream, and can facilitate the invasion of exotic an array of anthropogenic changes, which are and introduced species (Bunn and Arthington 2002). attributable both to modifications of freshwater bodies themselves, and alterations in the global hydrological The chemistry and ecology of inland freshwater cycle of which they are a part (Alcamo et al. 2008). has also been modified by human influence. The capacity of inland freshwater environments to Measures of nutrient fluxes, eutrophication provide ecosystem services is in decline, according to (enrichment of nutrients in water), salinisation, a range of indicators (MA 2005a). chemical contamination, microbial contamination and acidification consistently show human- Significant changes in the physical characteristics of induced change around the globe (Meybeck 2003). freshwater systems around the world are attributable Freshwater habitats are experiencing high declines to persistent changes in precipitation and long-term in biodiversity: for instance, one study projects that alterations of surface and subsurface moisture stores North American freshwater fauna will decline by and run-off. Modification of freshwater flows has 4% per decade, given current rates (Ricciardi and wide-reaching impacts. For instance, approximately Rasmussen, 2001). Whilst surface freshwater quality 50,000 large dams are in operation today (Scudder has undergone some improvements in many More 2005). The resulting flow alteration modifies channel Developed Countries, it is continuing to deteriorate in and floodplain habitats, affects aquatic species’ many Less Developed Countries, particularly where66 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 67. C HAPTER 4industrialisation and urbanisation is rapid (Alcamo et 4.3.3 Oceansal. 2008). The loss of basic ecosystem services that Human activities are altering the ocean in a varietyfreshwater provides will impact severely upon the of ways, including the warming of the surface oceanmany poverty-stricken inhabitants of Less Developed and sea level rising. The effects of anthropogenic CO2Countries. permeating the ocean are described in Box 4.2.Freshwater bodies suffer depletion where Human activities, including intensive fishing aroundwithdrawals substantially exceed natural recharge the world, are also altering ocean ecosystems beyondrates (Gleick and Palaniappan 2010). Well-known their natural state. Fish, shellfish, and other importantexamples of such human impacts include the species are declining in many places, large oceanongoing depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer in the US predators are depleted everywhere and pollution,Great Plains at rates of between 1 to 3 feet annually. while poorly monitored, is an increasing problem inThe aquifer supplies water for drinking and irrigation offshore as well as an established problem in coastalover a wide area of the USA (Clark and Brauer, 2010). zones. One recent study mapped 17 human activitiesThe Aral Sea, which lies between Kazakhstan and and their impact on the seas and found that 40%Uzbekistan, has declined to approximately 10% of of the world’s oceans have been heavily affectedits original size since diversion of its input rivers to by human activities, including fishing, coastalirrigation (Micklin and Aladin 2008). In both cases, development and pollution from shipping. The mosthuman activities have made unsustainable changes severely affected areas are the North Sea, South andto freshwater bodies, to the long-term detriment ofboth people and nature. Box 4.2 Ocean acidification Related to, but distinct from, climate change, services they provide1 cannot yet be estimated ocean acidification is a consequence of accurately, they are potentially large. Under current the increase in CO2 emissions arising from global emission rates it is projected that by 2020 deforestation, agriculture and burning of fossil 10% of Arctic waters will be corrosive to species fuels. Over the past 200 years the oceans have key to Arctic food webs and this could reach 80% absorbed approximately a quarter of the CO2 by 2060 (InterAcademy Panel on International produced from these activities (Royal Society Issues 2009). 2005). This has affected ocean chemistry and has caused the oceans to become more acidic - The effects of ocean acidification will be in addition reducing the concentration of carbonate ions that to those due to climate change and pollution, making are required for the growth and/or survival of many the impacts uncertain. Some species are likely to marine organisms, including coral reefs, most benefit, but others will not, leading to potentially shellfish and some fish species. Although a global profound ecological shifts as a result. Whilst there issue, impacts will be regionally variable, with the may possibly be some feasible localised technological Polar Regions, upwelling areas, and coral reefs (the fixes, the only practical way to minimise the risk of most biologically productive regions of the ocean) large-scale and long-term changes to the oceans is likely to be most affected. Whilst the impacts of to reduce CO2 emissions (Royal Society 2005). these changes on oceanic ecosystems and the1 For example in fisheries, coastal protection, tourism, carbon sequestration and climate regulation. Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 67
  • 68. C H A PT E R 4 East China Seas, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Red 4.4 Modelling human environmental impact Sea, the Gulf, the Bering Sea, the East Coast of North Attempts to attribute environmental change to America and the Western Pacific, and few if any population size and growth alone are likely to be areas remain untouched (Halpern et al. 2008). inaccurate oversimplifications (de Sherbenin et al. 2007), as there is no simple relationship between 4.3.4 Biodiversity loss population growth and growth in consumption: According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, people do not consume equally, due to social, biodiversity is the variability of life within and political, cultural and technological effects (see between species as well as at the level of ecosystems Chapter 3). (see for more information). A recent assessment (GBO3: A number of ways of conceptualising or representing outlook/gbo3/biodiversity-in-2010.aspx) concluded the relationship between population growth, that despite an increase in conservation efforts, the economic development and environmental state of biodiversity continues to decline. degradation have been developed; none of these is unproblematic (not least because of their highly Extinction rates of wild species are hundreds to aggregative nature); some suggest that degradation thousands of times higher than ‘background’ rates is a ‘phase’ of development, others that degradation in the fossil record (MA 2005e). Wild populations might intensify as development continues. of vertebrates have declined on average by over 30% since 1970 (WWF 2010) and few areas are left The environmental Kuznets Curve assumes that that are not affected by human activities directly environmental degradation follows an inverted or indirectly. Since some habitats and wild species U-shaped curve as development proceeds. In (especially those with generalist habits) are more Less Developed Countries, providing people’s resilient to human pressures, the impact of people basic material needs is of greater urgency than on nature is to alter both the type and amount of environmental preservation; in the early stages of wilderness left. Polar regions, deserts and mountain economic development, as economic activity per areas suffer fewer direct impacts, but indirect person increases, environmental degradation is impacts of increasing population and consumption taken to be an acceptable price. However, when (eg through climate change) can affect these areas a country has attained a sufficiently high standard substantially. Highly productive areas of natural of living, then people are assumed to care more habitat in temperate and tropical zones have been about environmental amenities, pass environmental and are being lost at unprecedented rates (see Figure legislation and create new institutions to protect 4.1), leading to the loss of the species that live only the environment. It is important to understand the there. Large predators have high extinction rates and Kuznets curve because some people use it to argue, are declining at high rates everywhere, as are some probably incorrectly, that no policy interventions are of the areas of highest biodiversity, for example in required to prevent environmental degradation in South America and Southeast Asia, which are now the course of economic development. (For a more undergoing rapid conversion to agriculture. Apart detailed description see, for example Torras and from the loss of option values to future human Boyce 1998). wellbeing, this represents a failure of stewardship by the most powerful species on earth. The curve has been demonstrated to be appropriate only for a very limited set of cases, such as sulphur These measures provide an aggregate indication or particulates in the atmosphere, but not for the of the scale of environmental changes that are accumulation of waste or for long-term and more occurring due to human activity. However, to dispersed costs, such as carbon dioxide, which understand the role that human population change typically have been found to increase continuously plays in driving these global scale and rapid with income (World Bank, 1992; Stern, 2006). environmental changes requires closer investigation of the particular pressures from population size and One of the most well-known frameworks for consumption on the environment. describing the relationship between population, consumption and the environment is the IPAT68 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 69. C HAPTER 4equation (I=P*A*T). It relates environmental impact emissions as well as ecological footprint (eg Dietz et(I) to population size (P), affluence per capita (A) al. 2007; Rosa et al. 2004; York et al. 2003a, 2003b).(a measure of consumption and production) andthe level of environmentally damaging technology 4.5 A finite planet?(T) (Ehrlich and Holdren 1971, 1972; Holdren and There have been a number of different attempts toEhrlich 1974). examine which resources are over-used or depleted or to see how close the human population is toIPAT identifies some of the important factors that some ecological thresholds, which are summarisedinfluence environmental impact. When applied in this section.carefully it can also be a useful accounting identityfor relating historical population trends, economic 4.5.1 A sustainable population?growth and changes in technological efficiency to One approach has been to try to define an optimumthe level of resource use and emissions. It enables population for the Earth. However, attempts toquestions to be asked about the potential for quantify the Earth‘s human carrying capacitytechnological change, the relationship between or a sustainable human population size faceeconomic growth and population change, and the challenge of understanding environmentalthe potential feedback mechanisms between constraints, human adaptability, human choices andenvironmental impact and population growth. the interactions among them all. For example, whatHowever, it does not account for other drivers of will humans desire and accept as the average levelenvironmental changes such as policy, institutions and distribution of material wellbeing in 2050 andand complexity of social factors that have been beyond, and who will make those decisions? Whatshown to be significant in regional and local scale technologies will be used? What physical, chemicalassessments (Turner 1996). It has been criticised and biological environments will people want to livefor being too simplistic, for treating the variables in? What level of variability will people accept? Andas being independent of each other, and for not what level of risk are people willing to live with?allowing for non-linearities, thresholds and feedbacksin environmental systems (see evidence from Harte) Most published estimates of Earth‘s human carryingor cumulative environmental effects. IPAT does not capacity uncritically assume answers to theselook at the effects of population characteristics (such questions, though the answers are not necessarilyas age structure, sex structure, distribution and made explicit. Cohen (1995) analysed over 60density) that may influence both consumption and estimates published from 1679 onward which inthe technology used. the past half century alone ranged from less than one billion to more than one trillion people. Van DenIn an attempt to capture more complexity and Bergh and Rietveld (2004) gave an updated survey ofinteractions between the IPAT variables, Dietz and estimates of Earth‘s human carrying capacity. CohenRosa (1994, 1997) developed Stochastic Impacts (1995) concluded that estimates are often highlyby Regression on Population, Affluence and political, intended either to demonstrate that thereTechnology or STIRPAT. STIRPAT allows for the are too many humans already on Earth or that furtherconsideration of context when analysing population- growth presents no problems. Because no estimatesenvironment relationships by adding control variables of human carrying capacity have explicitly addressedto the model. For example, the model can include the questions raised above, taking into accountdemographic characteristics other than population the diversity of answers, that vary across societies,size, such as age structure and urbanisation (eg cultures and times, it must be concluded that noDietz et al. 2007; Knight 2008). While most STIRPAT reliable scientific estimates of sustainable humananalyses have been applied at the macro-level of population size exist, and that such estimates wouldcountries, the model can be used on any spatial be provisional and technology dependent. Definingscales from cities to nations (eg Scholz 2006). The a pathway to a sustainable population, when there isfirst empirical application of STIRPAT analysed the no agreement of the final destination, is thus highlyanthropogenic drivers of carbon dioxide emissions contentious.(Dietz and Rosa 1997). Later applications focused on Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 69
  • 70. C H A PT E R 4 A more useful approach to exploring the concept of the footprint. Using this ‘bio capacity’ measure it a sustainable population has been to measure the is possible to estimate how much of the Earth (or ability of environmental systems to deliver the natural how many planet Earths) it would take to support goods and services upon which humans depend. humanity if everybody continues current patterns of Despite the core problem in defining the limits to resource use, or under some other given lifestyle. the planet and the role that the size of the human This method suggests that the Earth’s capacity was population plays in reaching or exceeding those exceeded by people sometime in the 1980s and that limits, several approaches have been developed in by 2010 the estimate was that human activities were the last 30 years, mostly from the perspective of the using about 1.5 times the area that would be available environmental sciences. on the Earth on a sustainable basis. The biocapacity measures are not easily comparable to planetary 4.5.2 Ecological footprints boundaries (below) as they are based on accounting The ecological footprint is an estimate of the amount metrics and take no account of the Earth’s processes of the Earth’s renewable resources requisitioned by and systems that define the boundaries. human activities. It has been developed over recent decades by the Global Footprint Network (www. The main problem with this approach is that the, recalculated and reported Global Footprint Network tries to account for all of annually in the WWF Living Planet report (WWF humanity’s multifaceted demands on the planet by 2010). It is an accounting method using international reducing them down to one comparable unit: land statistics on resource flows of natural and renewable area. This can miss some important side effects and resources that are consumed by people and whole activities. For example, energy produced by subsequent wastes that are naturally sequestered. nuclear power is converted to global hectares by Based on people’s use of resources and the land calculating how much biologically productive land area estimated to be necessary to support their would be required to absorb the carbon dioxide production, the footprint is calculated to reflect the released if fossil fuels were burnt to generate an equal area of land surface that the human population, at amount of energy. The challenge posed by waste some point in time or place, uses for consumption nuclear fuels is not addressed. Nor is the difference and to disperse associated pollution and waste. between a tropical rain forest with its native species and the same area of a palm oil plantation if their net The measures used to calculate the footprint are primary productions are equal. A Water Footprint standardised to a common unit, a global hectare. has been developed independently to measure the This encompasses the average productivity of water a population uses directly or indirectly (Hoeksta all the biologically productive land and sea area 2008). The trend seen in the Global Footprint Network in the world in a given year. The footprint can be is difficult to challenge, but the precise time when calculated separately for different nations and human activity exceeds the planetary capacity to development groups, and can be tracked over support it is more open to question. time. The aggregation and disaggregation of data can pose some difficulties for interpretation of the 4.5.3 Ecosystem Assessment footprint, which cannot account for heterogeneity of An ecosystem assessment is a systematic evaluation different land uses, and is insensitive to by-products of what is known about the status, trends and future of production, impacts on biodiversity and natural trajectories of ecosystems, focusing on the benefits ecosystems, and to environmental change. However, that they provide to people. Recent assessments, the metrics do indicate trends and can be useful for starting with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment comparisons over time and across different countries (MA) in 2005, have reviewed and analysed scientific and country groupings. information on ecosystems and the kinds of benefits that humans derive from them (MA 2005f). The MA The Global Footprint Network uses a measure of concluded the following: the capacity of the Earth against which to compare70 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 71. C HAPTER 4• Many changes that have been made to policy. The NEA divides ecosystem services into ecosystems have contributed to substantial the supporting services that are the fundamental net gains in human wellbeing and economic ecosystem processes; the final ecosystem services development (particularly by enhancing the (principally the regulating, provisioning and cultural provision of natural resources (eg food via services recognised by the MA), which may provide agriculture and fisheries). However these gains direct benefits to humans; and goods which are have been achieved at growing costs in the form derived from those services, typically by the input of of the degradation of other ecosystem services, other materials or actions and which can be ascribed which has led to increased risks of nonlinear actual values, whether economic or otherwise. (and therefore unpredictable) changes, and the exacerbation of poverty for some groups 4.5.4 Planetary boundaries of people (through loss of access to water, for Taking a systems approach to the Earth’s processes, example). These problems, unless addressed, Rockström et al. (2009) defined nine ‘planetary will substantially diminish the benefits future boundaries’ that humanity needs to stay within to generations obtain from ecosystems. avoid unacceptable environmental change. The boundaries represent points at which human-linked• The degradation of ecosystem services could changes in an Earth system reach a level beyond grow significantly worse during the first half which it may be deleterious (ie reduce the ability of of this century and is a barrier to achieving the global systems to provide essential natural services Millennium Development Goals. and goods), or even catastrophic. A catastrophic change would be one that caused major loss of life• The challenge of reversing the degradation of or required substantial re-organisation of society; a ecosystems while meeting increasing demands global mean temperature rise of 40C or a large rise in for their services can be partially met under sea-level would be examples of catastrophic change. some scenarios that the MA has considered, but these involve significant changes in policies, The Earth system includes the interacting chemical, institutions, and practices that are not currently physical and biological processes that underpin life, under way. Many options exist to conserve or mainly through cycles for carbon, water, nitrogen enhance specific ecosystem services in ways that and other elements, and the life cycles of species reduce negative trade-offs or that provide positive and ecosystems. People are part of these cycles synergies with other ecosystem services. and increasingly have come to dominate them, with potentially detrimental consequences in certain cases.The MA documented that over 60% of global Staying within the planetary boundaries defined byecosystem services were deteriorating or already Rockström et al. (2009) should allow humanity tooverused. The ecosystem services that were found to persist at standards of living deemed acceptable bybe enhanced were those related to food and, to some the authors of this paper.extent, fibre production. In many cases managementof ecosystems for provisioning services, such as food, The nine boundaries identified were climate change,fibre and water, had led to unintentional deterioration stratospheric ozone, land use change, freshwaterin ecosystems’ capacity to support other kinds of use, biological diversity, ocean acidification, nitrogenservices, including important regulating services and phosphorus inputs to the biosphere and oceans,such as flood, pest and disease control, and climate aerosol loading and chemical pollution. Detailed studyregulation (MA 2005c). suggests that three of these boundaries (climate change, biological diversity and nitrogen input toRecently, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment the biosphere) may already have been crossed.(NEA) (2011) developed the MA scheme of However, the estimates for all are uncertain and theecosystem services to enable it to be integrated authors acknowledge that there may be many otherwith economic and other schemes of valuation, boundaries that have not been identified.with potentially large implications for public Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 71
  • 72. C H A PT E R 4 Figure 4.2: Planetary boundaries Climate change on uti ) Oc oll fied ea al p anti n ac ic u m et q id i y (n he fic C ot at ion d) (not yet qua ding ntifie aerosol lo eric ozon Strat depletion Atmosph a e ospheric Nitro loss cyc en flowgeoc (bio le ty g bo h rsi un emic le u ive da a iod ry l B P ) ho cy pho c r s e us fre s nd shw in la a Chang e Glo ter use bal Source: Rockstrom et al. 2009 The planetary boundaries approach highlights which 4.6 Will markets and technology neutralise of the life support systems are most likely to involve environmental constraints? problems for continued human wellbeing, but does The view that humanity is constrained by not allow for the many alternative ways of operating environmental limits has been criticised by many on within those boundaries. It does not easily lend the grounds that absolute resource scarcity does itself to analysis of regional-scale changes, to spatial not exist and cannot exist because well functioning analysis or to integration with other disciplines such markets will stimulate substitution and innovation, as demography, each of which is necessary to offer and that technological or cultural innovation will an integrated approach to population questions. provide alternatives. Some economists maintain that environmental degradation is a transient phase in 4.5.5 Evidence of limits to the Earth development, or that technological fixes will soon The four markedly different approaches to analysing address limitations in natural resources. However, the Earth’s environmental limits show that land use most environmentally based analyses (see section change and management have been extensively used 4.5) suggest that there are real limits to the Earth’s to meet many of the immediate material needs of resources, that impacts are already being felt and growing populations. This has resulted in substantial that they will increase in intensity unless there are transformations of the land surface and some seas, major reductions in the pressures on the environment especially in recent times, and this has fundamentally (MA 2005c; UNEP Global Environment Outlook altered many Earth system processes. It is not yet certain whether humanity is approaching limits to the Earth’s productivity, but humans have already 4.6.1 Will the market provide substitutes? altered some Earth system processes (such as Debates over ecological limits frequently centre on climate regulation and nitrogen cycles) with known the extent to which people are able to substitute impacts. Other Earth system processes have been one thing or service for another. Many believe that radically altered with almost certainly deleterious problems arising from the depletion of natural capital consequences that are poorly understood (eg can be overcome by the accumulation of knowledge, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification), while others manufactured capital and human capital. Others may have imminent consequences (eg freshwater believe there are limits to substitution possibilities. availability, fisheries).72 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 73. C HAPTER 4Four kinds of substitution help to ease resource it would not be viable indefinitely. If wealth wereconstraints, either local or global. First, one thing can to decline continuously, the productive base wouldsubstitute for another in consumption (nylon and continually shrink. Eventually, GDP would have torayon substituting for cotton and wool cloth, pulses decline, as would HDI. The world economy cansubstituting for meat). Secondly, manufactured engineer GDP growth by “mining” its natural capitalcapital can substitute for labour and natural resources for an extended period of time, but eventually thein production (the wheel and double-glazing are two scope for that particular type of substitution willgood examples). Third, novel production techniques run out. Of course, a small country that is rich in acan substitute for old ones (the replacement of horse tradable form of natural capital (eg a sub-soil assetpower by the internal combustion engine for vehicle like oil) could accumulate wealth in other forms ofpropulsion). Fourthly, natural resources themselves capital assets, by drawing down its reserves andcan substitute for one another (renewable resources exporting them. But the world as a whole does notsubstituting for non-renewable sources of energy). enjoy that luxury.These examples suggest the general idea that, as Typically it is assumed in conventional models ofeach type of natural capital is depleted, there may be economic growth that nature is a fixed, indestructibleclose substitutes available, either at the same site or factor of production. The problem with theelsewhere. If this were true, then, even as constraints assumption is that it is wrong: nature consists ofincreasingly bite on any one resource base, humanity degradable resources. Agricultural land, forests,should be able to move to other resource bases. watersheds, fisheries, fresh water sources, estuaries,The enormous additions to the sources of industrial the atmosphere - more generally, ecosystems -energy that have been realised (successively, human are resource stocks that are self-regenerative, butand animal power, wind, water, timber, water, coal, suffer from depletion or deterioration when they areoil, natural gas and, most recently, nuclear and over-used. (This excludes mineral resources, whichsolar power) provide a historical illustration of this are vanishingly slow to regenerate.) Moreover, thepossibility. environmental sciences tell us that the extent to which manufactured capital and human capital, onWhen experts talk of the limits to conventional the one hand, and vital forms of natural capital, oneconomic growth (ie growth in GDP), they often the other, are substitutable is very limited (see Ehrlichmean that the scale of human activity has increased and Goulder 2007 for a formal account of whatso much since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution “limited substitution” means). At a time when naturalthat unchecked continued GDP growth would place resources were abundant relative to the demandsundue stress on the major ecosystems that remain. on them, it was understandable for economists toThe cost of substituting manufactured capital for assume that nature does not need to be counted,natural capital is rising. Low-cost substitutes could but it is not tenable in models of developmentturn out not to be low-cost if their full environmental possibilities open to the world today. The approachcosts were to be included in their market price. taken in modern growth models is also questionable because property rights to natural capital areIt is possible that a society accumulates often either vaguely defined or weakly enforced,manufactured capital, human capital, and knowledge so that natural capital and ecosystem services are– and perhaps even improves the character of some underpriced in markets.of its institutions - but depletes its natural capitalto such an extent that its overall wealth declines. Official statistics on national income give theThe problem is that if natural capital does not enter impression (by omission) that natural capital is of littlenational statistics, no one in the statistical office importance; but official statistics are based on marketrealises that wealth has declined. Despite the decline prices, not shadow prices (Box 4.3). Studies of localin overall wealth, GDP per capita shows an increase ecosystems suggest that if shadow prices were toand the United Nations’ Human Development Index be used in economic statistics, the decomposition of(HDI) records an improvement. If so, students of national income into its various components wouldthe economy are misled into thinking that all is well. look quite different. For example, Repetto et al. (1989)However, even though that pattern of development and Vincent et al. (1997) estimated the decline incould be viable for a while, perhaps for many years, forest cover in Indonesia and Malaysia, and found Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 73
  • 74. C H A PT E R 4 Box 4.3 Shadow prices and failure of property rights Why do market prices not reflect nature’s when politicians said the oceans are a “common scarcity? If natural capital really is becoming heritage of mankind”(United Nations 1970). The scarcer, would their prices not have risen, concept was that because future generations are signalling that all is not well? not present to represent their needs and wants, the current generation is the trustee for the future. If prices are to reveal social scarcities, markets And because there are strong reasons to believe must function well. However, for many types of that left to themselves, individuals do not have the natural capital, especially ecological resources, adequate motivation to act as trustees, something markets function poorly. In some cases they do like a collective agreement on husbanding nature is not exist because relevant economic interactions required. This needs cooperation, not competition take place over large distances, making the costs over natural capital. of negotiation too high (eg the effects of upland deforestation on downstream farming and fishing The failure to establish secure property rights to activities); in other cases they do not exist because natural capital typically means that the services the interactions are separated by large temporal that those assets provide are underpriced in the distances (eg the effect of carbon emission on market, or the use of nature’s services is implicitly climate for future generations who are not present subsidised. One calculation suggested that it is today to negotiate with current generations). Then 10% of annual global income (Myers Kent 2000). there are cases (such as the atmosphere, aquifers International organisations such as the World and the open seas) where the migratory nature of Bank have the resources to undertake such an the resource keeps markets from existing - they assessment operationally, but they have hitherto are called “open access resources”, and they can been reluctant to do so. experience the tragedy of the commons if not regulated (see Box 3.2). An asset’s shadow price means the net increase in societal well-being that would be enjoyed if an The examples above point to a failure to have additional unit of that asset were made available, secure property rights: ill-specified or unprotected other things being equal. As shadow prices reflect property rights prevent markets from forming or the social scarcities of capital assets, it is only in make markets function wrongly when they do exceptional circumstances that they equal market form. prices. Various methods for estimating shadow prices of natural capital are discussed in Freeman “Property rights” means not only private (1992). property rights of contemporary people, but also communal property rights (eg over common As proposals for estimating the shadow prices of property resources), state property rights, and natural resources remain contentious, economic the rights of future generations to inherit a non- accountants can too easily ignore them and diminished productive base. At an extreme end governments remain wary of doing anything about are “global property rights”, a concept that is them. A firmer and generally accepted basis for implicit in current discussions on climate change. natural resource accounting is therefore required But the concept is not new. That humanity has (Arrow et al. 2003). collective responsibility over the state of the world’s oceans was made explicit in the 1970s,74 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 75. C HAPTER 4that when depreciation is included, national accounts unless careful assessment is undertaken priorthere look quite different: net saving rates are some to implementation. The first steps of this sort20-30% lower than recorded rates. In their work on of assessment have recently been taken forthe depreciation of natural resources in Costa Rica, ‘geoengineering’ techniques for addressing climateSolorzano et al. (1991) found that the depreciation change. Some types of geoengineering may oneof three resources — forests, soil, and fisheries — day be able to reduce environmental risk, but theyamounted to about 10% of GDP and over a third of often carry with them their own large, and as yetcapital accumulation. unquantified, risks (Royal Society 2009a). Human interference in the nitrogen cycle has provided foodDistortions in the pricing of primary factors of for billions of people, but so far has come at theproduction influence research and development. cost of a number of dispersed and damaging sideThe latter in turn influences the character of effects eg eutrophication of coastal waters, increasestechnological change. Because nature’s services in tropospheric ozone, anoxic2 marine areas andare underpriced in the market, innovators have little groundwater contamination (MA 2005g; Fowlerreason to economise on their use. It should not be et al. 2004).surprising that new technologies (like the old ones)are rapacious in the use of natural capital. Ecological and evolutionary processes are also vulnerable to human impacts. Impacts on ecologicalIt would be imprudent to trust the invisible hand processes are nearly always unplanned and usuallyof the market to guide humanity away from deleterious in effect: a broad range of interventionsenvironmental thresholds. With natural capital absent is involved, such as habitat change, the introductionon most balance sheets, it is being depleted without of invasive species from other parts of the world,sufficient regard to the full long term costs, and there and the addition of pollutants, including both wasteis insufficient market pressure to develop substitutes. products and pesticides and herbicides. EvolutionaryDepletion of some resources and exhaustion of processes can be unintentionally but dramaticallysome ecosystem services are not smooth and linear, affected by the novel and often extreme selectionso that the market might not have time to develop pressures imposed by human activity, notablytechnological alternatives, and in any case certain in harvesting pressures on fisheries and in thetechnological solutions may not be socially or widespread use of biocides. Direct and plannedpolitically acceptable. intervention in evolutionary processes underlies all breeding programmes, but increasingly novel4.6.2 Technology and environmental constraints genetic technologies are being used to accelerateRecent assessments have attempted to evaluate these processes and introduce novelty that wouldthe potential role of technology and its costs and otherwise be unachievablebenefits in alleviating environmental constraints (MA2005f). In general, technology can be used to reverse The delivery of four critical goods derived fromsome (but crucially not all) problems, and to mitigate ecosystem services (water, food, energy andothers, but often there are risks of unintended minerals) is discussed in the following section.and unexpected consequences. The MA identified The consumption patterns of these goods haveseveral areas where there are good prospects of been detailed in Chapter 3.technologies relieving environmental stressors: Water• enhancing agricultural production with reduced In terms of the global water cycle, water is largely a impacts on other ecosystem services renewable resource with rapid flows from one stock and form to another and the human use of water• supporting ecosystem service restoration typically has a negligible effect on natural recharge rates. Even so, fixed or isolated stocks of local water• reducing carbon emissions and increasing resources are being consumed at rates far faster energy efficiency. than natural rates of renewal in groundwater and aquifers (Gleick and Palaniappan 2010). IrretrievableHowever, new technologies can also have negative losses from irrigation represent one third of allimpacts on ecosystems and human wellbeing, water loss globally (MA 2005a). The degree toand their uncritical application can be damaging Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 75
  • 76. C H A PT E R 4 which water withdrawal exceeds locally accessible other environmental impacts, notably in the disposal supplies, or unsustainable water use, was estimated of the concentrated brine stream and through in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as being the large infrastructure development necessary between 400-800 km3 per year or 10-25% of total for treatment and distribution. Solutions to these freshwater withdrawals (MA 2005a). problems are likely to be found, and may ensure that sufficient water supply for direct human consumption Water scarcity has become a globally significant (but probably much less so for agriculture) is made problem over the last 40 years (MA 2005a). Between available in areas of severe shortage. 1960 and 2000 the relative use ratio increased by about 20% per decade globally. Since 2000 this was Improving the efficiency of water use, however, is expected to have slowed to about 10% per decade technically simpler. Many existing practices and globally (MA 2005a) although in some regions it is technologies could be used if the price of water more expected to remain high due to population growth, accurately reflected its value, especially in relation economic development and urbanisation. In many to the recycling of water and its purification, and to world regions including West Asia, the northern the efficiency of its use in agriculture. Irrigation is plains of the Indian sub-continent, the North China the single largest use of water, and efficiency can Plain and the High Plains of North America, water be increased greatly by recycling, covering irrigation withdrawal by humans already exceeds natural channels, irrigating at night when evaporation replenishment rates (Gleick and Palaniappan 2010). is reduced, and accurate measurement of crop In addition to increased water demand, pollution from requirements (Royal Academy of Engineering 2010). mining and industry, urban centres and agricultural runoff limits the amount of surface and groundwater Food available for domestic use and food production (MA By definition, agriculture has always involved 2005a). By 2025 three out of four people worldwide the application of technology to enhance natural will face some degree of water scarcity (see evidence ecosystem processes and services: adding manures from Speidel). and more recently inorganic fertilisers enhances the natural nutrient cycles in soil. The switch There is a global mismatch between the availability from manure to fertiliser that has accompanied of water and population density. Where water is intensive agriculture in the last 50 years has moved available it is generally used inefficiently because it this process away from enhancement towards is almost invariably undervalued and underpriced replacement, with typically up to 60% of the (or free). Two key questions therefore are whether nitrogen in cereals derived from fertiliser in intensive technological solutions could provide water in production systems (Tilman et al. 2002). areas of limited availability and large population, and whether agricultural water can be used more Technology will be needed to play an increasing efficiently. role if production is to match demand without significantly increasing the area of farmed land, Desalination is widely assumed to be a solution to through a ‘sustainable intensification’ of agriculture water shortage, at least in areas near coasts. The (Royal Society 2009b). The improvement of crop energy costs of desalination are large but declining, varieties through genetic modification and other with a theoretical minimum of just over 1 kWh m-3 enhanced breeding technologies can potentially (Elimelech and Philip 2011). Current plants use increase the output of crops on marginal soils as 3-4 kWh m-3 and emit 1.4-1.8 kg CO2 m-3 of water well as improving food quality. If the gene complex produced. According to the International Desalination that allows symbiotic nitrogen fixation can be Association (2011), there are 15,988 desalination transferred from legumes to cereals, the need for plants in operation worldwide, producing 66.5 million nitrogen fertiliser and the costs of production would cubic meters per day, an increase of 8.8% over 2010. be reduced, although yields would probably not be In the longer term optimised systems are likely to be enhanced beyond current practice. Serious progress linked to renewable sources of energy production is being made on this ‘holy grail’ of GM crops (solar, wind). Desalination also brings a number of (Charpentier and Oldroyd 2010; Foresight 2011c). 2 Where no oxygen is present.76 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 77. C HAPTER 4However, such technological novelties should not hide One biological interaction about which there isthe fact that major improvements in food production currently great concern is pollination. Many cropsare possible not only through varietal improvement rely on insects for pollination and hence fruit andbut also through the wider application of known crop seed set. In many parts of the world there hasmanagement practices (Royal Society 2009b). These been a significant and largely unexplained declineinclude integrated pest control and inter-cropping in numbers of pollinating insects, notably honeysystems, in addition to capital-intensive technologies bees, and in bats, which are also pollinators. Simplesuch as precision agriculture which may offer large technological solutions have been needed to sustainbenefits in countries already practising intensive production in Californian almond orchards, whereagriculture. mobile bee hives are moved through the orchards, and in Szechuan (China) where hand-pollinationBiological interactions in agriculture are more of fruit trees is necessary (EASAC 2009a). Both ofchallenging for technological interventions. The these are expensive solutions to replace a previouslyuse of biocides has been a traditional replacement free service. It is possible to imagine breedingtechnology for the ecological interactions on which, programmes to create self-pollinating forms of allfor example, organic agriculture relies. There is crops that currently require insect pollination. Againinterest in biotechnology companies in making use such an approach would be time-consuming andof soil bacteria known as plant growth promoting expensive, and would of course be unnecessary if therhizobacteria. Some of these have been shown to decline in pollinators could be reversed.enhance plant growth in artificial conditions, butmanipulating such a microbe to be useable on a Demand for and dependence on livestock haslarge scale would require enabling it to outcompete major implications for the environmental foot printother bacteria in the soil, something which is not of agriculture, since meat production requiresyet feasible other than accidentally due to poor greater use per food calorie of land, fertilizer andknowledge of the biology of soil communities. pesticides. Worldwide, the fishing sector supportsMore seriously, if an attempt to create such an the livelihoods of an estimated 540 million peopleaggressive microbial strain were successful, it would and provides 3 billion people with at least 15% ofinevitably spread from its target crop species into their total animal protein (FAO 2010). If fish stocksother managed and unmanaged ecosystems, with continue to decline serious repercussions will be feltunpredictable consequences. worldwide, particularly given the changes to food production systems that are predicted to occur dueEnhancing plant-microbe interactions can improve to climate changes (Garcia and Rosenberg 2010;plant health and soil fertility. Mycorrhizal fungi have Esteban and Crilly 2011). Recently, concerns havebeen shown to be important for the majority of plants been highlighted about the state of global marineand, under conditions of phosphorus limitation, fish stocks (eg. Worm et al. 2009; FAO 2010; Smithinfluence plant community development, nutrient et al. 2010) and the part they play in supporting fooduptake, water relations and above-ground productivity. security and livelihoods for fishing communities (egThey can also act as bioprotectants against pathogens Béné and Heck 2005; Garcia and Rosenberg 2010;and toxic stresses (Jeffries et al. 2002). Béné et al. 2010; Srinivasan et al. 2010). Despite the varied relationships between people and marineAn extreme replacement technology is hydroponics, resources, areas with high human population growthwhere plants are grown in glasshouses using nutrient and high fisheries dependence, particularly for peoplesolutions, without involvement of natural processes in low-income food-deficit countries are likely toof decomposition (Jensen and Malter 1995). Since suffer the most if fish production decreases.the nutrients are recycled, there is no loss and noeutrophication of runoff, so the approach is more An increasing proportion of demand is being metenvironmentally benign than current intensive from aquaculture, which in 2008 accounted foragriculture and is likely to be used on an increasing 45.7% of global fish food production for humanscale as prices rise. Unconventional foods from algal consumption, and for 80.2% in China (FAO 2010).or microbial systems may also become more widely Concerns have been raised about the sustainability ofused in areas where other factors, notably fresh aquaculture, with respect to use of wild fish productswater supplies, limit conventional agriculture. in feed for farmed fish, destruction of coastal Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 77
  • 78. C H A PT E R 4 habitats, and impacts of veterinary drugs. Improved Energy conversion efficiency from wild to farmed fish, and As described in Chapter 3, industrial development good governance to minimise environmental effects has been founded on cheap and abundant energy will be important for continued expansion. from burning fossil fuels. Limits are now being reached, not by shortage of fuels but by the Wild fish stocks can sometimes recover quite quickly, consequent emission of CO2 and other green house where the fish species have high reproductive gases causing dangerous climate change. Emissions replacement rates and when monitoring, control scenarios were produced by the IPCC (special report and surveillance are developed in order to prevent 2000) and some new analyses of the extent of over-exploitation (Frank et al. 2011). The recovery can decarbonisation required are shown in the following be facilitated by encouraging small-scale fisheries, section. It is generally understood that there is an as opposed to large-scale industrial vessels. Such a urgent need to switch to alternative energy sources change provides more employment, uses less fuel, or to capture and store CO2 (CCS). No one approach and generally has a lower impact on the environment is likely to suffice on its own, but a combination of (Pauly 2006). The process can be further facilitated nuclear, wind, marine, solar and CCS is in principle by creating incentives to manage fisheries for long- able to satisfy human needs, not least those of the term benefits, often by establishing property rights, Least Developed Countries which urgently need to instead of encouraging an open access ‘race to fish’ escape from energy poverty. There is great scope that depletes the common resources and threatens for both existing and new technology in this area, ecological stability. Strengthening the effectiveness provided the necessary investments are made (for and cooperation of regional fisheries management review see MacKay 2008; DECC 2011). Difficulties organisations (especially the enforcement of any arise from achieving agreement on full economic agreed controls) would help to manage shared or costing, including natural capital, without which migratory stocks, and could also decrease illegal business continues as usual. fishing activities which are harmful from an economic and environmental perspective. Finally increasing the Energy supplied by ecosystems in the form of number, size and effectiveness of marine protected biomass is still the chief energy source in many areas can provide vital habitat for fish to complete parts of the world, and is now increasing in their life cycles, provide refuges, and replenish areas industrial countries (in the form of biofuels) (Royal depleted by overfishing. Society 2008). Many of the issues concerning the production of biomass are the same as for food; Surprisingly, an immediate solution to food shortage indeed food and biofuel production can and do is near at hand if ways could be found to implement compete for land and resources with undesirable it. At present, the world produces enough food for consequences for food prices (Nuffield Council on all, but distribution is highly inequitable and seriously Bioethics 2011). Approaches that rely on existing inefficient. In high income countries, consumers crops and arable land will exacerbate that conflict. eat on average more food than is healthy for them; One suggested alternative is using energy crops furthermore, unnecessary rejection and waste of specifically developed to grow on “marginal land”. edible food occurs for reasons of appearance or However, there are serious problems with this. The over-cautious sell-by dates, and 25% of food is simply concept of ‘marginal lands’ is poorly defined and is discarded after purchase. In low income countries contested, as the marginal land of one person may 50% of food may be lost between farm and consumer be the traditional nomadic home of another, and all because of inadequate storage facilities and transport lands provide ecosystem services. Additionally, it is networks, and of market failure; much wastage of food unclear how great a proportion of humanity’s fuel is easily preventable, for example that due to rodent needs can be met by developing “marginal lands” consumption in food stores. Avoiding losses, and regardless of their definition. As in the case of food, curtailing overconsumption where it occurs, would a proposed alternative is to exploit microorganisms contribute greatly to alleviating current malnourishment grown hydroponically, and much research is going and to reducing food requirements in the future (Parfitt into this area. et al. 2010; Foresight 2011c; Partfitt and Barthel 2011; Hodges et al. 2010).78 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 79. C HAPTER 4Ecosystem processes are also a crucial factor in a large building for up to a week. Increasingly icemitigating the continued use of fossil fuels, by is produced during off peak periods and used forcapturing CO2 from the atmosphere. Climate change cooling at later time. Heat pumps are already widelywould be much more pronounced than it is today used for cooling (air conditioning), but can alsowere it not for the carbon sequestration capacity move heat into buildings in cold weather. MacKayof natural ecosystems, both terrestrial and marine, (2008) has shown that, even if the electricity usedand there is some scope to enhance this capacity is generated from fossil fuel, heat pumps provideby planting trees on degraded soils and enhancing greater overall efficiency than burning fuel directlysoil carbon storage in agriculture. One proposal is to heat convert biomass to charcoal (biochar), which isresistant to decomposition and has been suggested Effect of population and consumptionas a way of building soil carbon stocks (Royal Society trends on CO2 emissions2009a). Other proposed routes to ecological carbon The following carbon scenarios (Jackson In press)capture include the fertilisation of the oceans to report levels of global carbon dioxide emissionsincrease plankton growth (Judd et al. 2008) and from 2010 to 2050, calculated using a simulationthe accelerated weathering of rocks (Schuiling model that divides the world into three economicand Krijgsman 2006; Kelemen and Matter 2008; regions – high, middle and low income countries –Royal Society 2009a). as defined in the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) database3. The model uses baseAlternative sources of energy that would replace non- year assumptions taken from the WDI and calculatesrenewable fossil fuels are often intermittent in power total carbon dioxide emissions in each region (and inoutput. The wind does not always blow, the sun total) as: Total Carbon Emissions = carbon intensitydoes not shine at night or in bad weather. However, (g/$ in $2005 prices at purchasing power parity) xmolten salt can be employed as a thermal energy income per capita ($ in 2005 prices at purchasingstorage method to retain thermal energy collected power parity) x population.using solar power. When electricity is needed, the hotsalt is pumped to a conventional steam-generator as Varying assumptions are made in each scenarioused in any conventional coal, oil or nuclear power about population, income per capita and the carbonplant. Intermittency can also be alleviated by long intensity over time as follows:range transmission of electricity over high voltagedirect current (HVDC) grids (EASAC 2009b). For • The population scenarios take the upper (high)example, all of Europe’s electricity could in principle and lower (low) UN variants to model populationbe generated from solar power in North Africa change in each region.(Desertec scheme – see, whichcould be complemented with wind and marine power • Three income scenarios are explored. In the first,coming from the north. Denmark’s successful use of per capita incomes are expected to rise in allwind power, which is responsible for delivering 16% three regions according to historical rates andof the country’s electricity needs (Sharman 2005) expectations. Average incomes per capita wouldrelies on exchanging electricity with pumped storage reach $50,000 in high income countries, $40,000hydroelectric facilities in neighbouring countries. in middle income countries and $5,000 in low income countries. In the second income scenario,Space heating can draw on lower temperature it is assumed that both the middle and lowdifferentials. A small but growing number of seasonal income countries catch up with the high incomethermal stores are being used to store summer countries – who maintain their expectations ofenergy for space heating during winter. Storage for income growth. Incomes converge to an averagecooling can make use of the large latent heat of ice: $50,000. In the final scenario, incomes convergeone cubic meter of water can store 93kWh of energy. to a lower average per capita figure of $20,000.A small storage facility can hold enough ice to cool3 The World Bank income categorisation of High, Middle and Low Income countries is not entirely congruent with the UN categorisation of Most, Less (excluding Least) and Least Developing Countries. However, for the purposes of this exercise the population trends for these UN regions have been used to scale the 2010 population data from the World Bank. Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 79
  • 80. C H A PT E R 4 • Three carbon intensity scenarios are explored. the middle income countries. In the second In the first scenario, carbon intensity moves carbon intensity scenario, global carbon intensity according to historical trend. For both the high across all regions is assumed to decline to around 20 and the middle income countries this means a g/$2005PPP. This is a substantial decline representing substantial decline in carbon intensity. For high almost 95% reduction over the 2010 carbon intensity income countries, carbon intensity declines and an average annual decline of 7.6% per year. But from around 360 grams per dollar of output this is the scale of carbon intensity reduction required in 2005 prices at purchasing power parity to reach the middle of the 50-85% reduction window (g/$2005PPP) to 200 g/$2005PPP by 2050. For identified by the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report by middle income countries the decline is from 620 2050, assuming trend growth in population and to 340 g/$2005PPP. For low income countries, incomes. The third carbon intensity scenario assumes still passing through a carbon intensive phase of a less drastic decline in carbon emissions to a level laying down infrastructure, carbon intensities of 40 g/$2005PPP by 2050, representing an average are assumed to rise slightly to reach the same annual decline of around 5.5% per annum. carbon intensity of 340 g/$2005PPP by 2050 as Figure 4.3 Carbon scenarios – income according to historical trend: an unequal world. (a) and (b): Trend income growth and trend carbon intensity lead to very substantial increases in global carbon dioxide emissions and dangerous climate change. Population makes some difference in the extent, but even the low UN population variant does not stabilise global carbon emissions. (c) and (d): emission pathways for a world in which incomes change according to trend, but the carbon intensity is reduced across the world to less than 5% of its current value. 120 Income and carbon intensity according to historical trend 100 (a) (b) 80 GT carbon dioxide 60 40 (c) (d) 20 Income according to trend; UN low population variant carbon intensity declines from 470 to 20g/$ PPP 0 UN high population variant 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050 Source: Jackson T (In Press) The impact of population is less pronounced in carbon entering the atmosphere between now and scenarios c and d in Figure 4.3, but reduces the 2050 (Anderson Bows 2008, 2011) produce an height of the carbon peak along the way and independent model which corroborates the results therefore has an important influence on the total given here).80 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 81. C HAPTER 4Figure 4.4 Carbon scenarios – convergence towards equal per capita incomes.(a) and (b): incomes converge towards $50,000 per capita. The middle income and low income countriescatch up with the high income countries, where incomes grow according to trend. (c) and (d): incomesconverge towards $20,000 per capita. There is substantial growth in the middle and the low incomecountries, but a contraction in richer nations by around one third. A carbon intensity of 40 g/$2005PPP issufficient to bring world carbon emission down towards the lower end of the emissions range defined bythe 50-85% reduction window. 50 Incomes converge to $50k per capita; carbon intensity (a) declines to 20g/$ PPP 40 (b)GT carbon dioxide 30 (c) (d) 20 Incomes converge to $20k per capita; carbon intensity declines to 40g/$ PPP 10 UN low population variant 0 UN high population variant 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050Source: Jackson T (In Press)The most notable feature of Figure 4.4 lies not in metals at the heart of the debate over finite resourcesthe emissions endpoint for each scenario, but in between Ehrlich and Simon, is now higher in realthe height of the carbon peak along the way. The terms than the average of their prices back in 1980.higher this carbon peak the more carbon enters Today’s metals prices are likely to be due to thethe atmosphere between now and 2050 and the buoyancy of demand in the developing world ratherharder the task of stabilising the global climate. It than any serious shortages in significant that the high income convergencescenarios and to a lesser extent the high population Reserves are an economic rather than absolutescenarios increase this risk. These carbon scenarios concept. At any one time they are proved only as farhighlight the combined importance of both slowing as necessary to justify investment in infrastructurepopulation growth and reducing per capita CO2 for extraction, and potential resources are invariablyemissions to stabilise the global climate. much larger. Projected scarcities are usually to do with human factors: economic and environmental4.6.2.4 Minerals costs, not least CO2 emissions. The economics areIn 1980 the environmentalist Paul Ehrlich and complex, because many rarer metals are isolatedeconomist Julian Simon made a bet on whether as co-products of more common ones; for examplethe price of a basket of five metals would fall gallium is found with aluminium and zinc, so if thebetween 1980 and 1990 (meaning supplies would demand for these metals falls gallium will becomebecome more plentiful) (Myers and Simon 1994). more costly. Extraction procedures are changingAlthough Simon won the bet, since the basket of under the pressure of environmental concerns: forprices did fall between 1980 and 1990, this trend example, much copper production is now by solventhas not continued. An equally weighted portfolio extraction rather than smelting.of chromium, copper, nickel, tin and tungsten, the Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet 81
  • 82. C H A PT E R 4 The requirement for individual elements is a farmland, where fertilisation has continued for many constantly changing target as new uses are years, the soil has come to equilibrium and farmers discovered, and not all are readily substitutable. Here should be adding only as much phosphate as is are two examples for which limitations may arise. taken up by the crop; this has the dual benefit of reducing costs and minimising eutrophication of Platinum is one metal for which absolute scarcity is water runoff. In Less Developed Countries however, likely (Bloodworth pers comm), because of its unique larger quantities must be added each year to increase catalytic properties (eg car exhaust cleaning and crop yields, and so global use will continue to rise. process chemistry). The related metals palladium, Concerns have been raised about the contamination rhenium and osmium may also become limiting. of some potential sources with cadmium and arsenic, It will become increasingly economic, as well as but purification by dissolution and recrystallisation environmentally benign, to recover these metals is already being practised, and will not pose an efficiently. Recycling incentives, now commonplace insuperable economic obstacle (Bloodworth pers in Europe, but less so in low income countries, comm). A stabilised human population of 9-10 billion, will be needed. eating a diet with only a modest proportion of meat, should be able to conserve accessible reserves Phosphate is essential for intensive agriculture, and into the 22nd century. Meanwhile it is likely that concerns have been raised about the reserves, the improvements will be made in recovery of phosphate greater part of which are in Morocco. On European from effluents. 4.7 Conclusions 1. On a finite planet there are environmental Similarly, technology has a valuable role constraints on human population growth in reducing carbon emissions as well as and material and energy consumption. increasing energy efficiency. Some limits may already have been reached, and fundamental human needs for food, 5. The combined effects of market forces energy and water are at risk. and new technologies are not able to overcome planetary boundaries on the 2. Identifying exactly where the material scale necessary to avoid unsustainable limits of continuous growth in the global pressure on the planet and much human economy will emerge is difficult. A suffering. Consequently, additional policy combination of factors will most likely require measures will be needed, which are discussed increasing effort and expense to overcome. further in the next Chapter. The associated environmental damage may result in sudden and irreversible impacts on the 6. Natural capital is absent from most balance wellbeing of dependent communities. sheets, and so is being depleted with insufficient regard to long term costs. Developing 3. Progressive and irreversible loss of and implementing accounting systems biodiversity reduces option values for that value natural capital is vital, and is future generations as well as being a considered in the next Chapter. failure of stewardship by the human species. 7. Dematerialisation of the most developed and emerging economies is urgently 4. echnology has been vital for aiding T required, but is only part of the necessary human development of ecosystem reduction of material consumption. For services, and will continue to help avoid example, the carbon scenarios in this Chapter some of the impacts of a depleted natural highlight the combined importance of both environment. Science is important in slowing population growth and reducing per measuring what is happening, for example in capita CO2 emissions to stabilise the global climate change and in precision agriculture. climate.82 Chapter 4. People and the planet: A Finite Planet
  • 83. C HAPTER 5Wellbeing of people and the planet5.1 Pathways towards sustainable development The linkages between population and consumptionCurrent trends in global population and consumption, have been recognised by the international sustainableand concomitant changes in the environment, are development community in the past – in the 1992unsustainable. A major change in the level and Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, the 1993 Populationpattern of consumption is needed – one that reduces summit of the World’s Scientific Academies, theinequalities, recognises the right of individuals 1994 Cairo International Conference on Populationto choose whether and when to have children, and Development Programme of Action (ICPD POA)provides for economic development possibilities and and key actions subsequently agreed at ICPD+5, +10minimises impacts on the environment. A vital step and +15. More recently, consideration of populationtowards achieving sustainable development goals has been absent from sustainable developmentwill be to accept that there will be awkward truths discussions (eg the 2002 Johannesburg Worldand trade-offs. The number of people on the planet Summit on Sustainable Development), despite theand the average each person consumes continues implications of demographic change for a world withto rise. The economic benefits and environmental finite natural resources, the obvious social equitydegradation that come from this increased implications for the many millions of women aroundconsumption have not been distributed evenly, the world without access to reproductive healthleading to extreme social inequity care including contraception and safe abortion, the social and economic development implicationsThis Chapter outlines the pathways towards of high fertility levels in the poorest regions of thesustainable development. These pathways require world, and the rapid ageing of societies which ischanging consumption patterns as well as planning now occurring in both developed and emergingfor changes in population size, age distribution economies. International meetings, such as theand movement and their associated impacts on Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development andthe planet. subsequent meetings, need to consider population and environment together. The history of internationalAs shown in Chapter 4, the most immediate way meetings on sustainable development has beento reduce the impact that human activity is having extensively considered elsewhere, see for exampleon the planet is to reduce material consumption forby those that are consuming more than necessary, more detail.whilst assisting the vast number of people whocurrently do not have access to enough material 5.1.1 Poverty reductionresources. Politically, these measures, though urgent, A priority for the international community has been,will be extremely difficult to achieve. Some partial and continues to be, to bring the “bottom billion”ways forward are reviewed in the next section, but out of poverty. Globally, with 1.3 billion people livingmuch more is needed. in absolute poverty (less than $1.25 per day) (World Bank 2012), much work is still to be done in reducingIn the medium term it is imperative to stabilise the current levels of inequality and poverty, andpopulations, since otherwise the gains from ensuring that the basic needs of every individualmaterial cutbacks will be overrun. Many countries are met to enable them to achieve a minimumare already on course to do so, but some are in level of wellbeing (see Box 5.1). The 8 Millenniuma cycle of high fertility, overloaded services and Development Goals (MDGs) give an outline of theenvironmental degradation from which escape is minimum requirements for individuals to achievedifficult. Despite the long term effect on impact, wellbeing in the developing world. They provideaction is urgent. Because of population momentum, an empirical benchmark in monitoring progress innumbers continue to rise for decades after fertility wellbeing, globally. Progress against the Goals hasfalls; furthermore, the sooner fertility falls the sooner been described extensively elsewhere (eg UN 2011c).people will come out of poverty. Beyond 2050 it is The continued efforts by the international communitydifficult to avoid the conclusion that a gradual and to achieve the MDGs are a vital part of movingequitable decline in numbers will serve humanity towards global sustainable, alleviating pressure on resources and increasingpersonal opportunities in future generations. Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 83
  • 84. C H A PT E R 5 The MDGs set specific targets in the following areas: 5.2 Human wellbeing 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Wellbeing describes what is ultimately good 2. Achieve universal primary education for a person (Crisp 2008). Individuals who are 3. Improve maternal health experiencing suffering, or are not able to achieve 4. Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases wellbeing, are more vulnerable to social, economic 5. Promote gender equality and empower women and environmental shocks (Wolff and de Shalit 2007). 6. Ensure Environmental sustainability Continually failing to achieve aspects of wellbeing 7. Reduce child mortality such as good physical health, personal security, 8. Develop a global partnership for development or access to enough material resources increases mortality. Some dimensions of wellbeing are In 2005 the Millennium Project identified that the explored in Box 5.1. Goals needed to be expanded to include access to reproductive health services and the protection of The achievement of wellbeing is underpinned by reproductive rights (UNDP 2005). The MDGs do the international endorsement of human rights not contain a specific goal or target on reproductive standards which not only restrain states from health, but they do contain specific targets related undermining wellbeing by infringing individual to components of reproductive health, including freedoms but require them to take positive steps to maternal health, HIV/AIDS and gender equality. remove economic, social and cultural barriers to the realisation of those freedoms, without discrimination 5.1.2 A Green Economy and institutional frameworks on any grounds. The Green Economy, one of the major themes for the Rio+20 conference, has been defined by One of the major obstacles to achieving human UNDP and the World Bank as one that results in wellbeing in a sustainable way is that the improved human wellbeing and social equity, while conventional model assumes that consumption significantly reducing environmental risks and growth is the key to improved wellbeing ecological scarcities. Both organisations think of a Unfortunately consumption growth is also the Green Economy as one which is low carbon, resource driving force behind rising environmental impacts. efficient and socially-inclusive. The Green Economy Chapter 3 has detailed how consumption trends is wide-reaching, and a number of issues discussed are increasing around the world. The greater the in this report are relevant, such as material efficiency, economic output, the more disposable income ecosystem services (both covered in Chapter 4), available to people, and the more they consume. the demographic dividend (Chapter 2), changing It is hotly contested whether it is possible to deliver consumption patterns (section 5.3) and urbanisation wellbeing and raise standards of living without the (section 5.5.4). associated material throughput and environmental impact. This debate hinges on whether it is possible Institutional frameworks for sustainable development, to live a better life by consuming less, and be more the second major theme for the Rio+20 meeting, sustainable in the process. Evidence from some are concerned with strengthening integration communities and societies give indications that between the three pillars of sustainable development: this may be possible (Pretty 2011). environmental, social and economic (WCED 1987). Institutional reform needs to create an evidence- based system of global reach that provides a framework for dealing with the world as it is expected to be, not as it is now. Consequently, institutional frameworks need to accommodate a warmer world due to climate change (and the associated impacts), an increased global population, a growing proportion of the world’s population living in urban environments, an increase in middle class consumers, migration, and an ageing population. These issues are discussed further in section 5.5.84 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 85. C HAPTER 5 Box 5.1 Defining wellbeing Wellbeing is closely but not exclusively linked freedom, it is widely agreed that it is of intrinsic to people’s consumption possibilities, their value that individuals should be empowered to economic wealth, and ultimately their impact on make decisions about their own life, enjoy liberty the environment. Wellbeing has both subjective of conscience, have a voice in political discussions, and objective elements: it depends on both feeling and for women to make individual choices about good and having the objective conditions that are childbearing. Giving citizens a democratic voice is necessary to meet basic needs. How wellbeing also likely to have important protective effects on is expressed and experienced is context and other elements of wellbeing (Sen 1999). situation dependent and reflects local social and personal factors. However, it is common ground Security includes secure access to natural and that “basic needs are met, that individuals have other resources, safety of person and possessions, a sense of purpose, that they feel able to achieve and living in a predictable and controllable important personal goals, and participate in society” environment with security from natural, human (Department of Health 2010). made disasters and war. Security is important for two reasons: both because of the direct negative This report focuses on five core dimensions effects that crime, accidents, natural disasters and of wellbeing, all of which must be met for a climate change have on human lives, and also minimally acceptable level of wellbeing to be because of the corrosive psychological and social achieved (MA 2003). effects of the awareness of insecurity. Personal security is a core element for the wellbeing of Having enough material resources is essential individuals and of society as whole, and the for human wellbeing. Enough material resources experience of crime is one of the main factors includes basic necessities such as food, water and shaping people’s personal security. Crime may lead shelter and enough income and wealth to be able to loss of life and property, as well as engendering to protect the person from unexpected shocks physical pain, post-traumatic stress and anxiety, that could lead to destitution. Once a person has but the biggest impact of crime on people’s enough income to meet basic human needs, wellbeing appears to be through increased feeling further increases in income and consumption of vulnerability (Anand and Santos 2007). appear to be less closely related to wellbeing. However, having enough is also partly relative: an Good social relations include social cohesion, important human need is to be able to appear in mutual respect, good gender and family relations public without shame, and what counts as having and the ability to help others and provide enough to not be ashamed will vary according to for children. Social capital in the form of relations society (Sen 1999). of trust, reciprocity, and obligations is vital for wellbeing. The frequency of contacts with others Health pervasively affects both the length and and the quality of personal relationships are crucial quality of a person’s life (Stiglitz et al. 2010). But determinants of individual wellbeing. Activities are it also matters for achieving other dimensions of often more satisfying when shared with others. wellbeing, such as having good jobs and adequate Social networks can provide material and emotional income, being able to participate as a full citizen support in times of need. The nature of social in community life, or to attend school and adult interactions also has wider implications beyond education. immediate social groups, impacting levels of trust within and between communities, which is Freedom (of choice and action) includes both an important driver of other outcomes including liberty of action and autonomy: having control democratic participation, crime levels and health over what happens and being able to achieve what (OECD 2011). a person values doing or being. Whilst different traditions place different weights on the value of Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 85
  • 86. C H A PT E R 5 Many aspects of wellbeing are relative. The poorest 5.3 Changing consumption patterns people who lack basic resources of food, water and Earlier Chapters have sketched both the limits security and the human dignity they can bring are to current material consumption levels and the certainly made happier as they get wealthier, but enormous disparities in consumption between the after a certain threshold is passed wellbeing becomes richest and poorest. Many kinds of consumption largely independent of consumption (but not of other must increase in the Least Developed Countries contributing factors to wellbeing such as freedom of (UNDP 2005), but some kinds of consumption action). For example, although countries’ economies must stabilise and decline in the Most Developed have continued to grow, their populations are not Countries (whose ranks are being rapidly enlarged by necessarily happier (Inglehart and Klingemann 2000). the emerging economies). Continued international However, happiness is not an objective measure, discussions leading to binding treaties are essential to and also causality in this relationship could arguably reconcile the opposing needs. go either way: it may be that money does not bring happiness; or alternatively that those who strive This section illustrates some approaches to reducing hardest and are never satisfied become wealthier, material consumption. The topic is both politically yet still not happier. The lack of connection between fraught and the subject of much current research. CO2 emissions above 5 metric tons per capita and The brief account given here can be no more than longevity (an objective surrogate for health) is more illustrative. As such, it runs the risk of appearing to compelling (Figure 5.1). A plot of longevity against trivialise an immensely complex subject, and indeed income has a similar form. can do no more than scratch the surface of a very Figure 5.1 Life expectancy versus CO2 emissions by country Japan 80 Sweden Iceland Norway Canada Australia France UK Ireland USA Costa Rica Denmark Portugal Sri Lanka Saudi Arabia 70 Libya China Ukraine Life expectancy (years) Russia India 60 Nepal Benin South Africa 50 Cote d’Ivoire Botswana 40 Sierra Leone 0 5 10 15 20 CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) Source: The Spirit Level, Wilkinson and Pickett, 200986 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 87. C HAPTER 5large problem. However, the actions being taken at of an economy in loops (or circular economy) waspresent are doing little more than scratch the surface. based on the desire to create jobs, improve economicSee, for example, OECD 2008, Jackson 2005, 2006, competitiveness, save resources and reduce waste2009 for more comprehensive discussions. prevention.Material consumption is currently closely related to Any such developments cause great nervousness ineconomic consumption. Economic consumption is developed economies, because of the dependencea key component of GDP. Thus, growth in the GDP of full employment on constant growth. Risingtends to drive increasing material throughput (see unemployment is a quick route both to humanChapter 3). There is a clear need to address the misery and to loss of office for politicians. As theunderlying economic model and go beyond the GDP people of the Least Developed Countries comein the measurement of economic progress. This task out of poverty they will of course become affectedmay be challenging in the short term – for political by the same pressures, and the growth of a hugeand structural reasons. But there are some powerful globalised labour pool is a challenge for the comingreasons for beginning to tackle it now. Irrespective of century. A vital part of the changes envisaged mustthis need, immediate attention has to be focussed on be to plan for jobs that do not require much materialdematerialising economies – decoupling economic consumption. A more radical solution would beactivity from material consumption. to adopt a model in which people do not work so hard once their primary needs are amply satisfied.Considerable reduction in global material This report is not the place to pursue these highlyconsumption is required to avoid going further contested strands, but they cannot be ignored.beyond the planetary limits described in the previousChapter. The necessary scale of reduction requires 5.3.2 Technology and resource efficiencychanges in the consumption patterns of individuals, Technology is of the greatest importance inbusinesses and governments through a combination increasing the sustainability of consumption,of approaches. Some of these approaches are through efficiency savings, reducing pollution fromdiscussed below. These include adapting economic consumption, elimination of waste, recycling andmodels, improving the resource efficiency of the reuse, and exploitation of alternative resources.economy, using incentives and measuring what Examples have been discussed in section 4.6.2,matters most to people. New approaches and and many practical proposals are put forward in ainstitutions will need to build on the collaborative as report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineerswell as the competitive aspects of human nature. For (IMechE 2010).example, altruism has been shown to be pervasivebut its prevalence is dependent on cultural conditions In the case of CO2 emission, the decoupling requiredand incentive structures (Schwartz 1993). There is for the continued use of fossil fuels is very large (seean urgent need to reassess the institutions through section and probably unachievable evenwhich individuals, businesses and nations are when combined with efficiency savings (Jacksonencouraged to consume and to find ways to ensure 2009), so the adoption of alternative energy sourcesthat they are not based on ever-growing material is urgent. The arrival of peak oil output, and perhapsconsumption. the imminent peak of all fossil fuels (Murray and King 2012), will provide additional pressure in that5.3.1 Economic models direction through market forces.The concept of a steady-state economy is to take adifferent path to achieve sustainable, healthy, and 5.3.3 Incentivesequitable lifestyles for citizens. This alternative to By raising prices on less sustainable products,continued economic growth is a non-growing or taxes and charges can be effective in influencingsteady state economy (Daly 1991; Meadows et al. consumer behaviour towards sustainability. These1972). tools help prices more accurately reflect the full cost of products by including any negative environmentalThe circular economy is a move away from linear impacts, thereby placing a value on natural capital, as“take, make, dispose” industrial processes and the discussed in section 4.6.1. This lets the market play alifestyles based on them (Stahel 1981). The concept role in changing purchasing patterns (OECD 2008). Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 87
  • 88. C H A PT E R 5 For example, road user charging has been introduced Incentives can come in the form of monetary grants in a number of countries to encourage drivers to use and tax reductions and make sustainable choices less their vehicles less, thereby reducing CO2 emissions expensive. Personal transport is a common target for and congestion. The effectiveness of such schemes subsidies and incentives in promoting consumers to depends on their design, which could be combined buy lower emission, hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles with pay-as-you-drive insurance (POST 2006). (OECD 2008). Another is payment of feed in tariffs to Proposed road user charging systems in the UK have encourage solar photovoltaic installation. been met with some public opposition, including the formation of interest groups created solely to oppose 5.3.4 Behaviour change road charging, such as Drivers Alliance. Attention is increasingly being paid to people’s behaviours and lifestyles in order to change The use of meters to reduce use of water and consumption patterns. One example is the electricity is becoming more widespread. For Behavioural Insights Team established by the UK example, in 2010 the UK Government committed to Cabinet Office in July 2010 to find ‘intelligent ways to installing smart electricity meters in all UK homes by encourage, support and enable people to make better 2019 (DECC 2011b). The aim of this programme is to choices for themselves’ (Cabinet Office 2011). enable consumer behaviour change, and so change industry processes and customer service as well as Social norms, habitual and automatic behaviour and to facilitate smart grids1. public transport infrastructure have been identified as important influences on an individual’s choice of Common approaches to reducing household waste transport mode (House of Lords 2011). It has been include waste disposal charges and recycling suggested that environmental awareness is not schemes. Waste collection charges are an effective an important factor for many drivers, but there is approach to reducing the quantity of waste and evidence of individuals changing their driving habits increasing recycling. Decreasing water waste also because of the health benefits of walking and cycling. requires a range of approaches. Denmark, Hungary and the Netherlands have successfully combined The high level of public awareness of climate public information campaigns with increases in change in the UK does not always translate into household water prices to decrease water wastage cuts in individuals’ greenhouse gas emissions, as (OECD 2008). behaviour is shaped by many psychological, social and structural factors (POST 2010). Changing In general, recycling of all minerals is increasing. individual behaviour is seen as only being effective Globally, over 50% of most ferrous metals are already when combined with other interventions. Combining recycled. For iron and steel the recycling rates are community-based and participatory approaches with 70 – 90% (UNEP 2011b). By imposing a tax on top-down campaigns and the creation of incentives aggregates, the UK uses 25% recycled material in to change behaviour is most likely necessary in concrete; France, with no such tax, uses only 5%. changing habits and building support for policy. On an upward consumption curve complete circularity with zero input cannot be achieved, but The changing meat consumption with increasing overall the intensity of mineral use per economic unit gross national income was shown in section is falling (UNEP 2011). 3.3.2. This showed significant increases in meat consumption as gross national income increased There are a number of measures that could be used in China, Brazil, UK and USA – but not in India, to reduce food waste (Foresight 2011d). The focus highlighting the importance of cultural values. in low-income countries is on measures to reduce post-harvest waste, whilst reducing consumer and A hope has been expressed recently that people food sector service waste are the primary targets in can be “nudged” into changing their behaviour high-income countries. without regulatory action by national governments being required for the change to be successful 1 A smart grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the behaviour and actions of all its users to ensure a sustainable, economic and secure electricity supply, thanks to the pervasive incorporation of intelligent communication, monitoring and management systems (see Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 89. C HAPTER 5(Thaler and Sunstein 2008). The central idea is that are equally positive and are added together. Use of abehaviour can be influenced by altering the context new and expensive drug adds more to GDP than anor environment in which choices are made with the equally effective but cheap off-patent drug. In the lasteffect that behaviour is changed without individuals few decades, whilst the pursuit of GDP has becomeeven noticing that this has happened. In the UK the one of the primary policy objectives for almostproposal, which is attractive to central government, every country in the world, it has also come underhas been carefully examined by the House of Lords sustained criticism.Science and Technology Select Committee (Houseof Lords 2011). The Committee concluded that When measuring sustainability, it is important tonon-regulatory measures used in isolation, including measure a society’s wealth, which means the valuenudges, are unlikely to be effective and a range of of its entire set of capital assets. (For formal accounts,interventions are required if a change in behaviour is see Dasgupta (2001 [2004]) and World Bankto occur. This seems especially plausible if reduction (2006a). Sustainable development means growth inin consumption of the magnitude that is likely to (comprehensive) wealth per capita. Market prices arebecome necessary is to be achieved. a misleading guide for valuing goods and services, and they under-value natural capital to such an extentProbably the most important levers to change that market signals encourage profligacy in its use.behaviour are education, the creation of economic(and fiscal) incentives, together with legislation There is now growing recognition by leaders aroundinvolving sanctions for non-compliance. This lever the world of the need to measure what mattersis particularly effective when it is accompanied by for people’s lives in addition to income and GDPpublic acceptance of the need for such legislation. (Box 5.2). It has been suggested that the currentFinancial incentives may provide additional reasons understanding of how to measure wellbeing is atfor changing behaviour. If society as a whole deems a similar stage to where macroeconomics was ina behaviour unacceptable or antisocial, peer pressure 1950 when GDP was first measured (Layard 2005).can be an effective tool for change. Suggestion via However, measuring is one thing, but putting intothe media is important in changing attitudes, with practice is another. Despite the many flaws of usingtelevision and radio being strong forces to bring GDP as a measure, it is still attractive because it isabout change and raise awareness (Westoff a fully systematised body of knowledge – possiblyand Bankole 1997). the first such system to have a truly global reach – which allows for a relatively comprehensive5.3.5 Measuring what matters understanding of the performance of the economyModern society has put much effort into measuring over time. GDP is also a strategic tool, in a worldand monitoring economic variables, whilst paying where nations compete against one another forlittle attention to human wellbeing as the desired economic and political significance. Not only is aoutcome. In industrialised, post-World War II nation’s status in the world perceived to rise if iteconomies, rising GDP has come to mean a thriving enjoys GDP growth, high GDP enables a nation toeconomy, more spending power, richer and fuller tilt the terms of trade with the rest of the world tolives, increased family security, greater choice, and its advantage. The benefits associated with GDPmore public spending. However, GDP does not growth lead to a nations vying with one another forreflect health, life satisfaction or freedom of choice. It competitive advantage by bolstering GDP. No singledoes not take account of losses of important natural nation can step aside from this competitive gameand social capital, and it does not show if progress without jeopardising the jobs, financial security andis sustainable. In the balance sheet, expenditure on self esteem of its citizens. International recognition ofdisaster (eg cleaning up an oil spill) and expenditure the wasteful nature of such a form of competition is aon success (eg equipment that precludes the spill) needed first step. Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 89
  • 90. C H A PT E R 5 Box 5.2 Alternative measures of progress Wellbeing measures can be grouped into three Cameron said at the launch of the UK Office of categories: objective, subjective and economic. National Statistics’ Measuring National Wellbeing Objective wellbeing measures use metrics such as Programme that ’It’s time we focused not just on life expectancy, or years of education. Subjective GDP but on GWB – general wellbeing’ (reported in wellbeing measures use metrics such as self- The Guardian 2010). reported happiness or cognitive self-assessments. Globally, there is a growing trend for these sorts of In France, President Sarkozy set up a Commission measures, as Governments ask: “How happy are on the Measurement of Economic performance you? How well are you satisfied with your life?” and social progress, to identify the limits of GDP as The third category of measures uses economic an indicator of economic performance and social metrics, such as GDP, net national income or the progress, and to consider the information required UNDP Human Development Index. for the production of a more relevant picture (Stiglitz et al. 2010). The Human Development Index (HDI) uses GDP per capita, life expectancy at birth, and literacy, The New Economics Foundation’s ‘Happy Planet so is a composite of one measure of economic Index’ (HPI) aims to measure human wellbeing and activity and two measures reflecting aspects of human impact on the planet. The HPI combines life human capital (health and education, respectively). expectancy, life satisfaction and ecological footprint. HDI has been used to judge whether a country According to the Index, few nations are achieving has improved its performance or fallen behind one-planet living, and none are doing so whilst since 1990. HDI does not capture absolute maintaining good levels of wellbeing. Costa Rica improvements in its three factors – rather it is comes top of the Index, with a life expectancy based on their relative levels between countries of 78.5, a life satisfaction score of 8.5 and an (UNDP 2011). As HDI does not include natural ecological footprint of 2.3 global hectares (gha). capital it is not an effective sustainability measure. In its 2011 report, the UNDP has drawn attention If the outcomes of the HDI and HPI are compared, to the importance of natural capital, but has not not one of the top 10 countries of HDI appear in incorporated it in the index. Empirical studies (eg the top 10 countries of the HPI, and vice versa. Dasgupta 2010) have found that over the past Costa Rica, top of table in the HPI, comes in at three decades, GDP per capita in a number of number 62 in the HDI, with a HDI score 0.725, poor countries has grown and the United Nation’s whilst Norway, top of the HDI comes in at 88 in Human Development Index (HDI) has improved the HPI, with a score of 40.4. even while wealth per capita has declined. Despite the growing body of work looking at Other initiatives include the Bhutanese ‘Gross alternative measures of progress, including National Happiness Index’, which sets happiness measures of wellbeing, as yet there is no and wellbeing of all people as the ultimate consensus on a replacement for GDP, or if purpose of governance, Wellbebe in Belgium, the indeed there should be one. What is clear is Legatum Prosperity Index (, that very few alternative measures of progress the Canadian Index of wellbeing, QUARS in Italy, actually measure sustainability – a key element and the Good Growth Index (Demos 2011). In of development. November 2010 the UK Prime Minister, David90 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 91. C HAPTER 55.4 Demography for wellbeing primary or secondary school in 2015; of these, anSome of the demographic changes that are expected estimated 118 million will be absent from primaryin the coming years, such as the ageing of the global school. About one in five of these children will neverpopulation, cannot be heavily influenced by policy enrol in or attend school (Cohen and Bloom, 2005).interventions (though the effects on health canbe). There are however a number of areas where Obstacles to achieving universal education include:policy interventions can have an impact, to both children being kept at home to work, or for otherstabilise population and help all people to achieve reasons; education and schools competing for scarcewellbeing. The world, and in particular the developing resources with other projects, such as healthcare;countries, are expecting historically large cohorts of education being stigmatised for political reasons; oryouth. How policies shape the behaviours of these for cultural reasons (Cohen and Bloom 2005).cohorts can make an enormous difference in theultimate size of the global population and to the Bringing primary and secondary education towellbeing of its people. The effect of action versus all children will require change, such as openinaction can mean the difference between an upward discussions at the national, regional and internationaleconomic trajectory and a downward economic and level around the goals of education; a commitment tosociopolitical spiral. For example, countries at an early improving the effectiveness and economic efficiencystage of the demographic transition can maximise the of education in achieving its goals; and increasedpotential demographic dividend that can occur when financial support for education (Cohen and Bloomthere is a high proportion of the population entering 2005). Primary and secondary schools everywhereworking age to those that are dependent by ensuring need to improve their effectiveness and efficiency,that: appropriate investments are made in education, transparency and accountability, in achievingaccess to healthcare and family planning services are educational goals.assured, and trade policies and currency exchangerates encourage investment and entrepreneurial The ability (or willingness) of governments in pooractivities. countries to enforce school attendance is often greatly limited. The private costs and benefits of5.4.1 Education education and the mores of the community to whichEducation provides economic benefits, builds people belong influence their decisions. The verystrong societies and policies. It improves health characteristics of a community that are reflected in(Cohen and Bloom 2005) and is associated with low educational attainment for women can also beempowerment of women and smaller families those encouraging high fertility (for example absence(Lutz and Samir 2011). Improving education and skill of associational activities among women, lack oflevels can increase the productivity of an economy communication with the outside world, inheritanceand its ability to compensate for a decline in the rules that place women at a disadvantage).share of the working age population. In general, welleducated people live longer, healthier lives, and are In some of the Least Developed Countries there ismore resilient to change (Sperling 2006). Education no achievable way of training the teachers neededhas the potential to contribute to sustainable or building and maintaining the schools needed,development efforts in many ways. Aside from the leading to very low levels of education attainment.benefits that it can directly bring to a person, it can Only about one in three children will completeincrease knowledge of sustainable consumption, of primary education in six African countries: Niger,healthy and safe living, including reproductive health, Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Chad, Burundi, and Maliand about the importance of the environment. The (Academy for Educational Development 2006). It hasglobal community has pledged to achieve universal been estimated that in these countries nearly one inprimary education for all on several occasions (at four children at the lower secondary level (ages 10/11the World Conference on Education 1990, World – 14/15) do not go to school, and one in two childrenEducation Forum 2000, Millennium Declaration 2000 do not attend at the upper secondary level (ages(Cohen and Bloom 2005)). Despite these pledges, it 14/15 – 18/19) (UNESCO 2005). Rapid populationlooks unlikely that this will be achieved. An estimated growth undermines the ability of a country to improve335 million school-age children will be missing the level of education. Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 91
  • 92. C H A PT E R 5 Estimates of how much it would cost to achieve rural areas (WHO and UNICEF 2010). In urban areas, both universal primary and secondary education where progress in improved sanitation has been range from $34 billion to $69 billion per year (with higher (WHO and UNICEF 2010), the challenge is to primary education being $6 billion to $35 billion per keep pace with the growth of dense populations. year and secondary education from $28 billion to $34 billion per year) (Cohen and Bloom 2005). There Food security is achieved when people, at all times, are considerable difficulties in producing accurate have physical and economic access to sufficient safe cost estimates, because of the uncertainties around and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and estimating how to overcome the barriers, such food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO as parents not enrolling their children in schools 2008). The 1996 World Food Summit plan of action (Glewwe et al. 2006). states that poverty eradication is essential to improve access to food. Other priority areas include providing 5.4.2 Healthcare access to means of production such as land, water, Better health is central to human happiness inputs, improved seeds and plants, appropriate and wellbeing. It also makes an important technologies and farm credit. contribution to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer, are more productive, Rapid population growth, wars, civil strife, and save more. Many factors influence health natural disasters, climate related ecological status and a country’s ability to provide quality changes and environmental degradation health services for its people. Ministries of health are have adversely affected millions of people by important actors, but so are ministries of finance and stopping them being able to meet their dietary other government departments, donor organizations, needs. Although food assistance may be provided civil society groups and communities themselves. For to ease their plight, it is not a long term solution example: investments in roads can improve access to the underlying causes of food insecurity. It is to health services; inflation targets can constrain important to maintain an adequate capacity in health spending; and civil service reform can create the international community to provide food aid, opportunities – or limits – to hiring more health whenever it is required, in response to emergencies workers (WHO 2011). (Potts et al. 2011). Immunisation plays an important role in tackling As discussed in Chapter 2, obesity is an mortality. The WHO’s Expanded Programme on independent risk factor not only for diabetes, but Immunisation (EPI) led to 80% of the world’s children also for cardiovascular disease and some cancers. being immunised against six major infectious The increasing prevalence of obesity in the diseases by 1995 compared to only 5% in 1974 when population may have a sufficiently large impact EPI was launched. Increased demand and efficient on mortality to halt present upward trends in service delivery were all helped by top-level political life expectancy (Olshanky et al. 2005). support, social mobilisation, and immunisation days (Diamond 2000). However, immunisation has 5.4.3 Family planning not been sustained in all countries and in 2003 an Voluntary family planning programmes are a key estimated 27 million infants and 40 million pregnant element to continuing the downward trajectory women worldwide remained in need of immunisation of fertility rates, especially in countries where (WHO and UNICEF 2005). the unmet need for contraception is high. Family planning services reduce barriers by making a range The global community has recognised the of family planning choices easily available and when importance of improving sanitation by naming necessary subsidising services and public information it among the Millennium Development Goals. campaigns. The Demographic and Health Surveys Central to realising the targets is to provide which have now been conducted in most of the connection to a public sewer or septic system and to developing world show that 200 – 215 million women promote the use of hygienic latrines. Seven out of ten wish to delay or stop the next pregnancy. Perhaps people without access to improved sanitation live in 100 million are not using any contraception, usually92 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 93. C HAPTER 5because they lack access to it or face barriers to its use of contraception should be respected, althoughuse (Campbell et al. 2006). While fulfilment of unmet the views of Islamic leaders on acceptable types ofneed has been one of the main driving forces behind contraception vary. Some consider the use of oralfertility decline in developing countries (Feyisetan contraceptives or implants to be undesirable or evenand Casterline 2000), many programmes have also forbidden, whilst others encourage their use as longsought to increase demand for contraception and as these methods do not interfere with a woman’sreduce fertility by promoting the concept of smaller health and wellbeing (Pathfinder International 2004).families. However, as Ni Bhrolcháin and Dyson (2007)point out, only a relatively small number of countries Unsafe abortion induced by traditional means is(such as Iran, see Abbasi-Shavazi 2009) have had thought to kill almost 50,000 women a year (Harrissufficiently comprehensive and strong enough et al. 2011). The risk to the women of an unsafeprogrammes to exert a clearly detectable impact. abortion can be over 100 times higher than a safeIt is important to recognise that other factors can abortion by medical or surgical means. Inducedinfluence family size, and that family size can fall, abortion is an important variable in achieved familyalbeit more slowly, without government sponsored size, whether abortion is legal (as in the UK) or illegalfamily planning programmes. (as in the Philippines). Some argue that there should be no controversy, because access to safe abortionTo meet the need for family planning, it is important secures the good of the mother’s autonomy. Othersto make as wide a variety of methods available believe that more is at issue: namely, the status ofthrough as many different distribution channels as the developing embryo and foetus and what kind ofis practical. Individuals need different methods at treatment they deserve.different times in their fertile life. The consequences of inadequate familyThroughout the developing world many barriers planning programmes are of particular concernstand between women and the family planning in West Africa and across the Sahel, wheremethods and information they need to manage between 1991 and 2004 the use of effectivewhether or when to have a child. contraception among married or cohabiting women rose only from 7% to 15%, despite evidence ofResearch in the Philippines has shown that reasons much higher levels of unmet need. In 2004 onlygiven by women for not using family planning 29% of women were aware of the two maininclude health concerns, the belief that they are methods of contraception (pills and injectables)unlikely to get pregnant in the future, the costs of and a source of family planning supplies, a vividcontraceptives being too high, personal or religious illustration of the neglect of this health intervention(predominantly Catholic) opposition to certain (Cleland et al. 2011). Typically it requires an increasecontraceptive methods and opposition from partners in contraceptive use of 15% to reduce fertility byor family (Guttmacher Institute 2010). one birth per woman. If the pace of change in use observed between 1991 and 2004 is maintained, itMany countries’ barriers are established inadvertently will take 25 years for fertility in West Africa to fallby their governments’ medical associations and from its 2000 – 2005 level of 5.6 births to 4.6 births.ministries of health (Campbell et al. 2006). This ‘business as usual fertility scenario’ is well above the United Nations medium projection and alsoReligious views are not universally opposed to the exceeds the assumption of its high projection. It isuse of family planning in the form of intentional possible that increased resort to induced abortionor artificial contraception. The Roman Catholic might compensate partially for lack of contraceptionChurch has endorsed natural family planning while but abortion is illegal in most West African countriesconsistently opposing modern contraceptives, while and commonly unsafe. West Africa already hasthe Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches the highest risk of abortion-related mortality of anyrelaxed their traditional opposition in the course of region with an estimated 140 abortion deaths perthe 20th century. Most Islamic scholars interpret the 100,000 live births (Shah and Ahman 2009). ThusQur’an as saying that decisions by couples on the the consequences for maternal health are severe. Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 93
  • 94. C H A PT E R 5 The cost of providing family planning services is implementing family planning in the developing low compared with sums spent on combating world range from $6.7 billion to $7.7 billion per year infectious disease, and rapidly repays the (Population Action International 2010). Further details expenditure in terms of educational attainment of the different activities required around the world and reduced health costs. Cost estimates for (and their associated costs) are given in Box 5.4. Box 5.4 Family planning across the globe This Box uses the UN Population Division’s 2010 community based distribution. In these countries revised population projections to divide the government services tend to be used by the richer countries of the world into three groups based people, while the poorest either get no health care on their fertility rates to show the different family or they go to the private informal sector (Prata planning challenges faced around the globe. et al. 2005). Rumours and misinformation, such as rating oral contraceptive use more dangerous Replacement fertility and below: All countries than childbirth, remain a common reason for not in this category already have broad access using family planning. A good deal is known about to contraception and most to safe abortion culturally sensitive, cost-effective ways to counter (Campbell et al. 2006). Women in some countries misinformation (Campbell et al. 2006). In an area of where abortion remains illegal (eg. Ireland or Tanzania where women listened to a radio drama, Malta) travel to neighbouring countries where it is Twende na Wakati (“Let’s Go with the Times”), 14% legal (eg England or Italy). These are all developed of listeners cited the programme as a reason for countries, or rapidly growing economies such adopting contraception. The program cost $0.34 as Brazil. per person adopting family planning (Vaughan et al. 2000). Intermediate fertility: Birth rates in countries with TFRs from 2.1 to 3.9 are likely to continue to High fertility countries with a TFR of 4 and decline towards replacement level if appropriate over: These countries include one fifth of the investment and policy changes are made to world’s current population. In addition to improved meet the unmet need for family planning. Many access to family planning these countries also potential users cannot afford the full cost of need to increase the age of the first birth. Radio modern contraception and their needs should and television dramas have been used successfully be met from domestic budgets and by the and cost effectively to delay marriage in developing international community. Most cost analyses countries. A great deal more research needs to be emphasise health facility based family planning done to discover which interventions can be scaled and underplay the role of social marketing and up and what they would cost.94 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 95. C HAPTER 55.5 Planning for change saving and investment, macro-economic policiesThe previous section discussed ways of influencing and alignment of other factors such as terms ofdemographic factors that impact on people’s trade, the rule of law, secure property rights andwellbeing and the planet. This section explores institutions that encourage public and private sectorsome ways to deal with the anticipated investment are required (Barro 1997). Where familydemographic changes. planning has been accessible and birth rates have fallen moderately rapidly, as in the so-called ‘Asian5.5.1 Examples of integrated policy approaches Tigers,’ between 25 and 40% of economic growth isPopulation, health and environment (PHE) projects attributable to demographic change (Harper 2010b).aim to improve the health and wellbeing of localpeoples whilst conserving the critical ecosystems 5.5.3 Dealing with population decline andupon which they depend. They often operate in population ageingremote and sensitive landscapes where communities Approximately half the world’s population nowhave little access to health services, particularly lives in countries with replacement level fertilityfamily planning, and poor provision of improved or below (Wilson 2004). This reduction in fertilitywater sources and sanitation. The Woodrow rates leads to a shift in the age structure of theWilson Centre’s Environmental Change and population, from young to old. This shift, combinedSecurity Program looks at PHE initiatives linked to with the increase in longevity now seen in manydevelopment and conflict around the world (see countries, leads to an ageing of the population. Inevidence from the Woodrow Wilson Centre). Many some countries, such as Greece, Italy, Russia, Korea,PHE projects operate on a local scale, but some Hong Kong, Singapore or Japan the TFR is as lowlarge-scale projects have been launched, such as as 1.4.the Integrated Population and Coastal ResourceManagement (IPOPCORM) project in the Philippines Ageing of the population strains socialwhich now works in 33 municipalities covering over insurance and pension systems and challenges350,000 people in a biodiverse area. The project has existing models of social support (Turner 2009).established 88 marine sanctuaries, and access to An ageing population is now a global phenomenon,family planning services has increased 13-fold (see yet the social and economic conditions are soevidence received from PATH Foundation). different in the developed and developing regions that policies have to be selected from a quiteA very large scale example of integrated policy is different set of options with different criteria guidingthe Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, the choice between them (Howse 2007). Adequatenow known simply as BRAC (Hulme and Moore finances and planning are required to ensure that2008). Established in 1972, it is said to be the largest long-term care of an ageing population is available.NGO in the world, providing health, family planning, There are decisions to be made about the extenteducation and finance for household development to which long-term care should be provided by theto a claimed 110 million clients. Along with the State or the individual.Grameen Bank (winner of the 2006 Nobel PeacePrize), which provides microcredit and promotes For some countries, such as the UK, the ageingself empowerment, BRAC has been important to of the population is a relatively slow process andthe remarkable success of Bangladesh in slowing can be largely accommodated by modest, steppopulation growth and starting to lift people out of wise increases in the age of retirement and raisingpoverty. Both organisations have a strong focus on productivity, complemented by a level of migrationwomen and girls. to meet skill and labour shortages. People are not only living longer in such countries, they have healthy5.5.2 Dealing with a young population lives at an older age. However, raising fertility orA higher proportion of the population entering increasing immigration in order to maintain pensionsworking-age can produce greater per capita as a fixed proportion of the gross domestic productoutput and enhanced savings potential, leading is a mistaken, mechanistic approach (Turner 2009).to economic growth (Lee and Mason 2010). For Turner calls for a ‘wealth optimising model’ whichthis potential to be realised, effective institutions for takes into account the increasing years of healthy life, Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 95
  • 96. C H A PT E R 5 a slow rise in the pensionable age, capital inheritance If poorly managed, urbanisation can constrain and wider welfare considerations of population economic growth and compound poverty. While density. cities command an increasingly dominant role in the global economy as centres of both production Forward planning can soften the impact of and consumption, rapid urban growth throughout an ageing population on other social and the developing world is outstripping the capacity environmental factors. For example, how of most cities to provide adequate services for their ageing and urbanisation interact to impact citizens (Cohen 2006). Developing countries will be upon the environment can be optimised by building the equivalent of a city of a million people designing more energy efficient buildings and every five days from now to 2050 (Cohen 2008). public transport. Education of especially vulnerable Many international agencies have yet to recognise populations in nutrition and health can minimise the adequately either the anticipated rapid growth of future costs of ageing while improving individual small and medium cities or the deteriorating living wellbeing. conditions of the urban poor (Cohen 2006). Refugees from violence and ecological change are also adding Problems around economic support for older to urban growth, especially in parts of Africa. As populations will mean that policymakers and cities grow they become more diverse, often leading employers have a role to play in enabling older people to greater inequality. Consequently, a large number to continue to work, if they are able and willing to do of urban residents in developing countries suffer to so. This will require changes to working practices, a greater or lesser extent from severe environmental job design and cultural attitudes including addressing health challenges associated with problems such discrimination against older and disabled people, if as inadequate sanitation. There are also problems they are to succeed (POST 2011). with urban sprawl, poor urban governance, and air pollution. In contrast to rich countries, where support of the elderly is more easily affordable, support in mid- 5.5.5 Planning for migration income countries typically comes from the family. As As covered in Chapter 2 migration patterns are urbanisation, migration and employment of women shaped by a complex interplay of economic, become more widespread familial support is likely to demographic, political, environmental and social come under pressure, and in these countries state drivers in sending and destination countries. support of the elderly infirm may not be affordable. Migration can, only to an extent, be planned for and managed. Chapter 2 showed that migration 5.5.4 Planning for urbanisation can contribute to the wellbeing of populations in Urbanisation can be an engine for economic growth countries of origin and contribute to development and, if well planned, cities have the potential to offer strategies if it takes place in ways that minimise many benefits. Urbanisation can produce efficiencies brain drain and maximise returns from migrants’ in energy, transportation, housing and distribution financial and human capital (Select Committee on of foods. The net effect on efficiency savings International Development 2004; Malmberg et al. depends on the efficacy of political and institutional 2006; Chappell and Glennie 2009; OECD 2009; UNDP arrangements in regulation and remediation, and 2009; World Bank 2006b). Emigration must not be an the pace of urban growth. Denser concentrations of alternative to measures to promote development but populations are associated with greater use of public ‘large gains to human development can be achieved transport so energy consumption may be reduced. In by lowering the barriers to movement and improving the US, urban households drive less than rural ones. the treatment of movers’ (UNDP 2009).96 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 97. C HAPTER 5Migration currently lacks a coherent international Development is not a key factor (and in mostgovernance framework. Although the nature of cases not a factor at all) when developed countriesmigration necessitates cooperation across borders, determine the “desired” level of immigration. In moststates have been reluctant to commit fully to cases, developed countries make immigration policyinternational agreements because controlling who decisions based on social, cultural, political andenters the territory is seen as integral to state economic factors of the receiving country. However,sovereignty. The absence of an overarching UN there are policies that receiving countries can adoptframework of governance has led to a proliferation in order to maximise its developmental benefits.of bilateral, regional and international mechanismsfor inter-state dialogue and negotiation, including There has been an increasing focus on dialoguesince 2007 the Global Forum on Migration and and partnership between sending and destinationDevelopment (GFMD 2010; Betts 2011). countries in recent years, exploring mutually beneficial options including ethical recruitmentCountries experiencing a decline in population and circular migration schemes (where migrantsof working age can also benefit from migration contribute on a temporary basis before returningas one element of a package of solutions to with acquired skills and resources); co-financingthat problem. Across Europe, without international of education; and measures to protect the workingmigration, the size of the working population would conditions of migrant workers. Ensuring thatdecline significantly (20% by 2050), exacerbating prospective migrants have accurate information onthe age dependency ratio and threatening economic the labour market and living conditions can facilitategrowth and competitiveness relative to parts of the informed decisions and counter unethical recruitmentworld where the working age population continues practices. The International Organisation on Migrationto grow. Migration alone cannot mitigate the impact (IOM) makes a contribution to this in some parts ofof population ageing but can complement measures the world but this is an area where greater provisionaddressing education and skills, housing mobility and could benefit migrants, source and destinationthe jobs available in the labour market. The optimal countries. International and bilateral agreementsbundle of policies will vary across regions facing could also do more to ensure that migrant workersdiffering demographic and economic challenges, are not treated in ways that threaten their humanincluding measures to increase the employability rights and wellbeing (Solomon and Cholewinskiand participation of young people, women and older 2009; UNDP 2009).people, thus reducing demand for labour migrants.Analysis shows, however, that raising participation The UN Development Programme, in cooperationrates alone would, in Europe, be insufficient to offset with the European Commission, UNHCR, UNFPA,the declining workforce, so that migration of people IOM and the International Labour Organisation (ILO)with appropriate skills will continue to be necessary run a Joint Migration and Development Initiativeto reduce the gap. Evidence received during the supporting exchange of good practice as well asstudy has suggested that ‘sending and receiving concrete interventions in Africa and Asia. Examplescountries should explore win-win solutions that allow include a project in Moldova to improve the financialthe countries and economies involved as well as the literacy in rural areas of remittance recipients andmigrants to gain from geographic mobility of labour senders, and a project in Morocco that is providingand skills’ (Münz 2009). advice on opportunities for employment, education and entrepreneurship within Morocco, so that any Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 97
  • 98. C H A PT E R 5 decision to migrate is taken in full knowledge of being a burden to a benefit of the European territory’ opportunities at home. Whilst there appears to be no is a necessary part of the approach (De Beer et evidence on the impact of these particular initiatives al. 2010). Investment in education, language and there is value in this approach to managing migration skills training, coupled with measures to address in ways that maximise the benefits and minimise discrimination and social tensions where they arise, the costs for all concerned. To avoid ‘brain waste’, can help to avoid a future migrant underclass destination regions including the EU could do more (OECD 2009). to recognise qualifications gained abroad so that migrants are not employed below their skill level. 5.5.6 Planning for flourishing In light of progress during recent decades, Policy makers in destination countries have there are now grounds for optimism that the to consider not only the impact of migration human population will stabilise during this on national and regional economies but also century. This will not happen automatically: impacts on local politics, communities and investment is urgently required, and there are services. This is no less true in less developed serious conceptual barriers to be overcome, but destination countries, but capacity can be lacking the costs are not great. With goodwill and prompt to implement appropriate measures. In 2005, for action, on a voluntary basis with full recognition of instance, only 11 African countries had a policy on human rights, a plateau of perhaps 10 billion people the integration of non citizens. Issues arising from is achievable by 2100. South-South as well as South-North migration should be considered; and policies to foster integration This achievement will be necessary but not sufficient should be in place (Bakewell 2009). The scale of to provide a sustainable future in which all can South-South migration and its significance to the flourish. At present there are no well charted wellbeing of migrants and host populations indicates ways for 10 billion people to achieve lifestyles the importance of integration (and re-integration) like those enjoyed in the Most Developed measures in all destination countries, not only in the Countries, because the only known way forward most affluent states. Measures to foster the labour is economic growth, and that will come into market, social and civic integration of migrants can collision with the finite earth. Technology can help to maximise the benefits of migration and its help, but without socio-political change it acceptability to other residents. It has been argued cannot solve. There is much work to be done. that ‘Changing attitudes towards migration from98 Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet
  • 99. C HAPTER 5 5.6 Conclusions1. The most immediate way to reduce the 5. Education provides economic benefits, negative impact of human activity on the builds strong societies and policies, and planet is to reduce material consumption improves health. Girls’ education is a crucial of those who currently consume the most. step in developing the autonomy of women Longer-term, the stabilisation of the population and it helps facilitate the adoption of voluntary is essential to avoid further exceeding planetary family planning. Bringing primary and secondary limits and increasing poverty. education to all children will require political and financial support, which is estimated to cost2. The economic benefits and environmental between $34 billion and $69 billion per year. degradation associated with increased consumption have not been distributed evenly 6. The cost of making family planning around the globe, leading to social inequality. universally accessible in developing and A priority for the international community least developing countries and delaying the must be to bring the 1.3 billion people age of the first birth in the least developed living on less than $1.25 per day out of settings are extremely modest compared absolute poverty, and to reduce the inequality with the cost of inaction in these two fields. that continues around the world today. Implementing family planning in the developing world is estimated to cost between $6.7 billion3. A priority for the most developed and and $7.7 billion per year. the emerging economies must be to stabilise, and eventually reduce, material 7. Urbanisation can be an engine for economic consumption and to adopt sustainable activity and cities have the potential to offer technologies. This can be achieved by many benefits if well planned. However, it (amongst other approaches) improving can constrain economic activity and compound resource use efficiency, reducing pollution poverty if poorly managed. from consumption, using alternative resources 8. Migration can contribute to development and and technologies with lower environmental to meeting the needs of ageing countries impact, facilitating behaviour change (through if well managed in ways that maximise the incentives or policy) and decoupling economic benefits and minimise the costs, including activity from environmental impact. measures to protect human rights and4. Most measures of societal progress, such foster economic, social and civic integration. as GDP, are inadequate because they do not Migration can also provide significant financial include measures of natural capital – they benefit to the migrant’s country of origin through do not measure sustainability. If sustainable remittances. development goals are to be achieved, society 9. Population and consumption are inseparable must have a full picture of how it is developing, factors in sustainable development, as and if development is sustainable. There is a demonstrated by the evidence and endorsed by need to measure what matters to people’s the international community on several occasions. lives, in addition to GDP. Measures of Discussions of sustainable development should wellbeing can improve our understanding of take into account demographic factors and the the factors driving societal progress. influences on them. Good planning is essential to maximise human wellbeing from these changes. Chapter 5. People and the planet: Wellbeing of people and the planet 99
  • 100. C H A PT E R 6100 Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations
  • 101. C HAPTER 6Conclusions and recommendations6.1 Human impact on the Earth A coherent assessment of challenges toDuring the writing of this report, the human people and the planet, and how they should bepopulation reached 7 billion, crossing a threshold addressed, is critical for achieving sustainablerightly recognised as a landmark. Humans have development.expanded their range and activities far beyond thatof any other species, with no end in sight for their 6.2 Consumption, population and equalityjourney of discovery, understanding and ingenuity. Consumption plays a key role in enhancing individual wellbeing, as a multiplier of the impacts of peopleHowever, human impact on the earth raises on the environment, and as the engine for economicserious concerns. This report has explored the activity. The consumption of goods and servicesinteractions between population, consumption and delivers the various dimensions of human wellbeing.the environment. Humans are consuming resources The economic and environmental outcomes ofand producing waste at an unprecedented rate. demographic change are, directly or indirectly, aPopulation and consumption are both important: consequence of material throughput via resourcewhat matters is the combination of increasing consumption and waste disposal.population and increasing per capita consumption.Both global population and global consumption In the short term it is of the utmost urgencycontinue to rise and signs of unwanted impacts, to reduce consumption and emissions that areinteractions and feedback are growing – for example already causing damage, for example greenhouseclimate change reducing crop yields in some areas gases, deforestation, and land use change amongst– and of irreversible changes – for example the others. Furthermore, unless the goal is a world inincreased rate of species extinction. which extreme inequality persists, it is necessary to make space for those in poverty, especiallyThe relationship between population, consumption the 1.3 billion people living in absolute poverty,and the environment is not straightforward as the to achieve an adequate standard of living. Wenatural environment and human socioeconomic take the view that reduction of inequality is in itselfsystems are complex in their own right. The an important goal, but are aware that the matter ismultiplication of numbers of people by the amount contested. It is indeed possible to imagine an unequaleach individual consumes tempts commentators to yet sustainable world, but such a world would denycherry pick evidence to suggest that one of these many people the opportunity to flourish.factors outweighs the other. The reality is that bothpopulation and consumption are significant. The Mortality has shown a welcome decline almostbiophysical boundaries to the Earth’s capacity to everywhere, with generally increasing life expectancy,meet human needs are finite, but how those limits due to improved standards of living in nutrition,are approached depends on lifestyle choices and behaviour, public health, and medicine. Fertility hasassociated consumption; these depend on what is fallen and is now at or below replacement in Moreused, and how, and what is regarded as essential Developed Countries, and parts of Asia and Latinfor human wellbeing. The extreme diversity of America. Overall people are healthier, wealthier andregional situations has been illustrated throughout more educated. However, vast inequalities remain.the report, as well as the highly variable proposed Some of the Least Developed Countries face severeroutes forward. In some regions continued high problems of increasing population size that interferesfertility locks people into poverty, while in others with achieving a basic standard of living. As a whole,there is concern about high proportions of elderly population is still growing at a rate of 1 billion inpeople in the population. In some regions per capita 12 years, because of the demographic momentumconsumption is far above the level that can be inherent in a large cohort of young people. The globalsustained for everyone in a population of seven billion rate of population growth is already declining, but theor more, while 1.3 billion people continue to live in poorest countries are not experiencing, or benefitingextreme poverty. from, this decline. Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations 101
  • 102. C H A PT E R 6 Many of the complex problems that face level. It has taken a back seat more recently because the world in the coming decades will be of perceptions that global population growth is no ameliorated by slowing rapid population growth longer a problem, concerns about coercive family in the Least Developed Countries and averting planning, religious and cultural sensitivities, and the unintended pregnancies everywhere, including view that while it is one contributor to poverty and the More Developed Countries. In the long term inequality, it is difficult to understand or to influence. a stabilised population is an essential prerequisite In fact, rapid population growth is still a major for individuals to flourish, but this is by no means a problem in some regions of the world, and globally coercive prescription. Flourishing is about individuals’ is of concern from the perspective of a finite planet. rights, responsibilities and wellbeing. Meeting The longer the delay, the more difficult it becomes to the need for family planning is a fundamental move toward sustainability. The cost of providing a health issue, and therefore is important in its own family planning service to all who need it would be right irrespective of arguments about population. some $7 billion per year. Population growth can be slowed within a framework that fully respects human rights and establishes appropriate policies and investments. Help with Recommendation 1 family planning should preferably be provided in a The international community must bring framework that includes education and healthcare. the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day out of absolute poverty, and reduce the The shift from high mortality and high fertility to inequality that persists in the world today. This low mortality and low fertility is known as the will require focused efforts in key policy areas demographic transition. Of key importance is the including economic development, education, speed at which the transition occurs and the spacing family planning and health. of the stages. Rapid demographic changes present Recommendation 2 challenges, but also opportunities. Countries with The most developed and the emerging declining fertility but continuing population growth economies must stabilise and then reduce have a youth bulge: if well managed this high fraction material consumption levels through: dramatic of people of working age provides a boost to the improvements in resource use efficiency workforce and a rise in prosperity (as achieved by including reducing waste; investment in the ‘Asian tigers’); if poorly managed, it can lead sustainable resources, technologies and to high unemployment and potential conflict. In infrastructures; and systematically decoupling countries that completed the transition fifty years economic activity from environmental impact. ago the population is ageing: this brings challenges of social care, reduced economic activity, health Recommendation 3 care, and equitable distribution. These problems will Reproductive health and voluntary family be transient and will reduce as the population bulge planning programmes urgently require political passes through. leadership and financial commitment, both nationally and internationally. This is needed to Countries where mortality has fallen without continue the downward trajectory of fertility transition to lower fertility are experiencing high rates, especially in countries where the unmet population growth and a high proportion of children, need for contraception is high. in which health and education services struggle to keep up. Without timely intervention to facilitate and Recommendation 4 promote reduced fertility, these problems will persist, Population and the environment should building even greater demographic momentum. not be considered as two separate issues. Policy and directed investment have an Demographic changes, and the influences important role to play in reducing negative and on them, should be factored into economic maximising positive environmental, social and and environmental debate and planning at economic impacts of demographic change. international meetings, such as the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development and During the 1960s to early 1990s, population growth subsequent meetings. was on the agenda for discussion at the international102 Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations
  • 103. C HAPTER 66.3 Migration, urbanisation and ageing empowerment of adult women. Education pays offMigration for economic, social and environmental in their own life satisfaction, in the survival, healthreasons will continue, as well as flight from conflict and education of their children, and in household andand persecution. Environmental change, interacting national prosperity. Education has also been shownwith other factors, will affect migration now and in to raise the lifetime earnings in both developedthe future, although those that are most vulnerable and developing countries. For ageing populationsto environmental change may not be able to migrate education is also of great importance; in general, wellfar. Migration can contribute to economic and social educated people live longer healthier lives, and aredevelopment, and with other measures to alleviate more resilient to, and capable of, change.the challenges of ageing population. Migrationin combination with increased productivity andextended working lives can help to reduce the ratio Recommendation 6of dependents to workers. In order to meet previously agreed goals for universal education, policy makers in countriesPolicy makers should prepare for international with low school attendance need to work withmigration and its consequences, for integration international funders and organisations, suchof migrants and for protection of their human as UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, IMF, Worldrights to maximise the gains and minimise the Bank and Education for All. Financial and non-costs of migration for all concerned. financial barriers must be overcome to achieve high-quality primary and secondary educationMigration within countries often involves for all the world’s young, ensuring equalurbanisation, which can both increase consumption opportunities for girls and boys.(eg by increased use of appliances) and decreaseit (eg by increased use of public transport). Urbanplanning is essential to avoid the spread of slums, 6.5 The role of science and technologywhich are highly deleterious to the welfare of Science is most often thought of as supplyingindividuals and societies. Developing countries will practical solutions – which it does with greatbe building the equivalent of a city of a million success. A huge amount has yet to be accomplishedpeople every five days from now to 2050. in mitigating problems and improving the human estate. For example, developing and deploying renewable energy sources that do not emit Recommendation 5 greenhouse gases is of pressing importance; many Governments should realise the potential of solutions are at hand, and others will be found. Crop urbanisation to reduce material consumption strains are being developed that provide higher yields and environmental impact through efficiency or are tolerant to adverse conditions, and will be measures. The well planned provision of water extremely valuable, especially in the face of climate supply, waste disposal, power and other services change. The elimination of most diseases, especially will avoid slum conditions and increase the those of childhood that have been so far neglected, welfare of inhabitants. is a very large but accomplishable task. However, it is wrong to suppose that technology on6.4 Education its own will solve all problems. Barriers must beEducation in itself is an unfettered good, and overcome not only by technology, but also byuniversal high quality education to at least changes in usage and governance. Furthermore16 years of age is a prerequisite for human attention must be paid to the socio-economic issuesdevelopment. Full provision has been estimated to associated with technological deployment andcost an additional $34 billion to $69 billion per year. growth in population and consumption, otherwiseIt promotes wellbeing and is necessary for good technology will always be catching up. Science has agovernance. In high fertility societies investing in crucial role to play in improving the understanding ofyoung women is of particular importance, and will causes and effects, and ways to intervene effectivelybring a positive return in health, and earning capacity to limit the most damaging trends.of the girls who stay in school and the consequent Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations 103
  • 104. C H A PT E R 6 For example in food production and distribution 30% 6.6 Economic governance or more of food is wasted by inadequate storage or Consumption is closely linked to current transport facilities, by market distortion, or simply by economic models based on growth. being discarded. Saving even part of this loss would alleviate present hunger and help in the challenge In the Less Developed Countries, economic of meeting future needs. Furthermore, without development is essential to reduce levels of absolute better planning the hoped for improvements from poverty and improve living conditions. Addressing scientific development may largely be lost. Recently the plight of the world’s poorest people will increase the situation has been worsened by the search the chances of having healthy, well-educated for renewable sources of energy. First generation populations that can cope with tomorrow’s problems biofuels offer little saving in greenhouse gas (whatever they turn out to be). Above a certain emissions over oil, yet are being allowed to displace income level wealth seems to have little effect on food crops from agricultural land and destroy natural individual well-being, though natural impulses of habitats. aspiration and perception of worth relative to others continue to drive consumption. Partly for this reason, the role of science in measuring and diagnosis is of at least equal It is difficult to identify exactly where the material importance to its role in providing solutions. limits on continued growth in the global economy For example, detailed measurements made over will emerge. It is most likely that a combination of the course of many years have provided a clear factors will require increasing effort and expense perspective on climate change. Information allows to overcome. Declining resource qualities will for better solutions; these may be innovative or require higher energy inputs and lead to rising traditional, but in either case the science for commodity prices. Water stresses in many areas diagnosis is crucial. of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia will lead to famine and conflict. Increasing exposure to pests, diseases Humanity needs to learn to act collectively and natural hazards associated with climate change and constructively in the face of long term and will undermine the resilience of ecosystems and therefore sometimes elusive threats, not just livelihoods. Increasing disruption to ecosystems will when faced with immediate and tangible ones. In lead to regional or local environmental collapse. The addition to identifying threats attention must be paid knock on impacts on the wellbeing of dependent to warnings and responses undertaken accordingly. communities may be sudden and irreversible. The best technology applied in the context of a thoughtful society increases the chances of the The implication of these constraints is that the majority of humanity flourishing rather than material throughput of the economy cannot grow merely surviving. forever. The economy of the future must produce goods and service of value to humanity with dramatically reduced physical impact. Recommendation 7 Natural and social scientists need to increase But today’s market system is distorted by failure their research efforts on the interactions to price environmental and social impacts, leading between consumption, demographic change to perverse incentives for unsustainable activities. and environmental impact. They have a unique GDP is a poor measure of social wellbeing and does and vital role in developing a fuller picture of the not account for natural capital. In the past it has problems, the uncertainties found in all such proved to be an attractive measure for policy makers analyses, the efficacy of potential solutions, and because it reduces many complex issues into a single providing an open, trusted source of information figure that can be compared between countries. It for policy makers and the public. is also a strategic weapon in a world where nations compete for economic and political significance – often at the expense of future well-being.104 Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations
  • 105. C HAPTER 6A better measure than GDP is one of comprehensivewealth – which includes the value of a country’s Recommendation 8entire set of capital assets (natural, manufactured, National Governments should acceleratehuman, knowledge, and institutional). Many leaders the development of comprehensive wealtharound the globe are now aware that something measures. This should include reforms to themore than GDP is needed to measure what matters system of national accounts and improvementin people’s lives and to secure resources for future in natural asset accounting.generations. But a consensus on a replacementmeasure or set of measures has not yet beenachieved, partly because of the central role ofGDP in global economics. In practical day-to-day 6.7 Road maptransactions GDP is very firmly established and can Humans have interacted strongly with theonly be superseded by general agreement. The series environment since people mastered fire,of difficult meetings on climate change illustrate how settled in every continent except Antarctica,hard it is to reach such agreements. Nevertheless, invented agriculture, and launched the industrialthere is cause of hope: a century ago, the concept revolution. Humanity is now approaching aand apparatus of GDP did not exist. If such a limited crucial time in this ongoing interaction, makingand inadequate measure can attain dominance in this a critical moment for policy makers.a few decades, surely it can be replaced by better Over the next 30 – 40 years the confluence of themeasures. challenges described in this report provides the opportunity to move towards a sustainable economyGiven business as usual, environmental degradation and a better world for the majority of humanity,will continue, compromising fundamentally important or alternatively the risk of social, economic andecosystem services, the provision of goods like food, environmental failures and catastrophes on a scaleenergy and water and making it ever more difficult never imagined. This report has outlined someto move the planet to a sustainable economy where possible pathways to achieving a sustainabletoday’s activity does not threaten the welfare of economy, through the combination of application offuture generations. Therefore decoupling economic socially applicable technology, political leadershipactivity from material and environmental and institutional reform.throughputs is needed urgently – for example, byreusing and recycling materials (circular economy), The problem of resource allocation is often referredobtaining energy from renewable sources (zero to as the tragedy of the commons, but that phrasecarbon economy), and by consumers paying for the can be taken to mean that by just dividing up thewider costs of their consumption. Decoupling cannot commons into separately owned lots all will be the sole panacea: it must be applied as one of a Sometimes that is the case, but some commonspackage of measures. are valuable as commons (for example human knowledge), and parts are impossible to divide upBeyond these measures, there is a need to explore (for example the atmosphere). Regulation of thealternative models to the growth-based economy. many commons that concern all humanity mustThis is not to suggest simply abandoning the current be achieved by high level negotiations that do notmodel. There are serious challenges in devising an fall back exclusively on appeals to “my nation’seconomy with flat or contracting GDP. The most interests”. Beyond the very short term, the realsignificant of these arise from the need to generate interests of nations lie in solving global problemsfull employment for the working age population, the in an equitable fashion, not just in each strugglingneed to stabilise debt-based financial systems, and to stay ahead. Implementation requires farsightedthe need to maintain high quality public services. leaders who are able to convince voters at homeNone of these difficulties eliminates the urgency of that the conclusions are necessary and just andaddressing the problem. Industrial strategies which serve their long-term interests.encourage and support sectors with low materialthroughput and high employment potential willneed to be developed that also provide sufficientnumbers of jobs. Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations 105
  • 106. C H A PT E R 6 So long as an excess of competition between nations continues, the future of humanity is in doubt. Changes to the current socio-economic model and institutions are needed to allow both people and the planet to flourish by collaboration as well as competition during this and subsequent centuries. Recommendation 9 Collaboration between National Governments is needed to develop socio-economic systems and institutions that are not dependent on continued material consumption growth. This will inform the development and implementation of policies that allow both people and the planet to flourish.106 Chapter 6. People and the planet: Conclusions and Recommendations
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  • 125. AcknowledgemEntsAcknowledgementsThe Royal Society gratefully acknowledges the financial support received from The Davidand Lucile Packard Foundation, USA, the Kohn Foundation and Sir Tom McKillop FRS. Acknowledgements. People and the planet 125
  • 126. G LOS S A RY Glossary Biodiversity The variability of life within and between species as well as at the level of ecosystems (according to the Convention on Biological Diversity, see for more information). Biofuel A fuel produced from organic matter or combustible oils produced by plants. Examples of biofuel include alcohol, black liquor from the paper-manufacturing process, wood, and soy-bean oil.1 CO2 Chemical formula for carbon dioxide. Demographic deficit Occurs when there is a higher proportion of dependents to workers in the population, potentially leading to reduced productivity and restricted economic activity. Demographic dividend Occurs when there is a higher proportion of workers to dependents within a population, and therefore a potential for added productivity which can increase economic activity, assuming that the correct policies are in place to take advantage of this. Demographic inertia The tendency for current population parameters, such as growth rate, to continue for a period of time; there is often a delayed population response to gradual changes in birth and mortality rates2. A common example occurs when a well-below replacement level of fertility becomes established over several cohorts. Demographic momentum The tendency for population growth to continue beyond the time that replacement-level fertility has been reached because of the relatively high concentration of people in the childbearing years. DFID (UK) Department for International Development. EC European Commission. Ecosystem Services Activities or functions of an ecosystem that provide benefit (or occasionally disbenefit) to humans. Can be split into four categories (supporting services, provisioning services, regulating services, cultural services) as explained in Box 4.1. Eutrophication The enrichment of water by mineral and organic nutrients (normally nitrates and phosphates) that promote a proliferation of plant life, especially algae, which reduces the dissolved oxygen content and often causes the extinction of other organisms. Green Economy Defined by UNDP and the World Bank as an economy that results in improved human wellbeing and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. HDI Human Development Index, a composite statistic used to rank nations’ development by measuring income, health and education. Developed by the United Nations Development Programme. HPI Happy Planet Index, a composite statistic used to rank nations using a measure of human wellbeing and human impact on the planet. Developed by the New Economics Foundation. IAP The global network of science academies, formerly known as the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues; the former acronym has remained in use. ICPD International Conference on Population and Development. ICSU International Council for Science, formerly known as the International Council of Scientific Unions; the former acronym has remained in use. IMF International Monetary Fund. MA Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Old-age dependency ratio The old-age dependency ratio is the number of persons 65 years and over per one hundred persons 15 to 64 years. Purchasing power parity (PPP) A currency conversion rate that both converts to a common currency and equalises the purchasing power of different currencies. In other words, it eliminates the differences in price levels between countries in the process of conversion.3 1 IPCC WG II (2007) Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. 2 See StatewideConsPlan/Glossary.pdf 3 OECD:,3355,en_2649_34357_1_1_1_1_1,00.html126 Glossary. People and the planet
  • 127. G LOSSARYReplacement Fertility Replacement level fertility is the average number of children born to a woman so that a popula- tion exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next (Craig 1994). In More Developed Countries, this is roughly total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman, but the global variation is substantial, ranging from less than 2.1 to 3.5, due principally to variation in mortality rates (Espenshade 2001). This report, assumes a replacement level fertility of 2.1 children per woman.Sahel A geographic region in Africa marking the transition in between the Sahara desert in the north and the Sudanian Savanna in the south. The Sahel forms a wide (up to 1000km) ‘belt’ across Africa between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea.Total dependency ratio The number of persons under age 15 plus persons aged 65 or older per one hundred persons 15 to 64. It is the sum of the youth dependency ratio and the old-age dependency ratio.Total Fertility Rate (TFR) An age adjusted, period measure of lifetime fertility, derived by adding age-specific birth rates in a given year over all ages of childbearing. When the rates for the individual ages are combined, the resulting figure represents the average number of children a hypothetical cohort of 1000 women would have in their lifetime in the absence of mortality before the end of child bearing (Siegel and Swanson 2007).UN United Nations.UNCED United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.UNDP United Nations Development Programme.UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.UNFPA United Nations Population Fund.UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund.UNPD United Nations Population Division.WWF World Wild Fund for Nature, formerly known as World Wildlife Fund, the former acronym has remained in use.Youth bulge A population with a high proportion of population aged 15-24 or 29 years. A wide range of definitions have been used, including the percent of young people in the total population, in the total adult population and in the working age population (15-64 years). Youth bulges persist until a couple of decades after the onset of fertility decline which acts initially to stabilise and then reduce cohort size.Youth dependency ratio The number of persons 0 to 14 years per one hundred persons 15 to 64 years. Glossary. People and the planet 127
  • 128. AP P E N DI X 1 Appendix 1: details of evidence received To inform the study an open call for evidence was • Michael Hart issued in was issued in July 2010, following the • Dr John Harte Working Group’s first meeting, which resulted in • Michael Helfert 104 responses that informed the study. Expert • INED, the French National Institute for workshops were also held on the role of industry, Demographic Studies non-governmental organisations and technology. • Institute for the Study of International Migration, Given the breadth of the study the report was also Georgetown University sent to ten Fellows for comment in addition to the • International Institute for Applied Systems formal Review Panel. Analysis (IIASA) We are grateful to the following individuals and • International Planned Parenthood Federation organisations who responded to the call for • International Union for Conservation of Nature evidence and to those who provided additional • International Union for the Scientific Study of evidence at the request of the working group. Population (IUSSP) • All Party Parliamentary Group on Population, • Adam Izak-Sunna Development and Reproductive Health • Dr Yuji Ishiguro • Dr Jack Alpert • Dr Eric Kaufmann • Dr Daphne Baston • Dr Ashok Khosla • Sir John Beddington CMG FRS • Dr Maurice King • Benevolent Organisation for Development, • Professor Roger Leakey Health and Insight (BODHI) • Leopoldina – National Akademie der • Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health Wissenschaften • Petar Boshevski • Professor Ron Lesthaeghe • Jason G Brent • Dr Brantley Liddle • British Consulate-General, Toronto • Alan Lloyd Jones • British Embassy, South Korea • Alan Longhurst • Dr Helmut Burkhardt • Professor Aubrey Manning OBE • Dr Noel David Burleson • Jim McCallum • Center for Environment and Population (CEP) • John McKeown • Adam Corlett • Professor Robert McLeman • Dr Alessandra De Rose • Michigan State University • Dr Carter Dillard • Dr Mark Montgomery • Dr Michael Douglas • Stephen Moore • Dr Paul Ehrlich • Lezlie Moriniere • Robert Engelman • William Warren Munroe • Dr Philip Fearnside • Rainer Münz • Randolph Femmer • National Institute of Statistics • Foreign and Commonwealth Office • Mark O’Connor • Forum for the Future • Dr Ricardo Oses • Foundation M. Botin. Water Observatory • Dr Jane O’Sullivan • French Academy of Sciences • PATH Foundation Philippines Inc • French Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries • Population and Sustainability Network • Henry Frew • Population Matters • Robert Gillespie • Population Media Center • Dr Clarke Gray • Pro-biodiversity Conservationists in Uganda (PROBICOU) • Dr Dermot Grenham • Professor Phil Rees • Professor John Guillebaud • Dr Peter J Richerson • Dr Peter Haas128 Appendix 1. People and the planet: details of evidence received
  • 129. AP PENDIX 1• Benoît Rivard • Michael Bushell, Syngenta• Robert S. Strauss Center for International • Richard Carter, Water Aid Security and Law • Molly Conisbee, Soil Association• Peter Salonius • Peter Cunningham, Environment and • Science Council of Japan Communities, Rio Tinto• Professor Ludi Simpson • Sarah Fisher, Population and Sustainability • Alan Stedall Network• Tanzanian-German Programme to Support Health • Dr Tim Fox, Institution of Mechanical Engineers• John Taves • Professor Charles Godfray CBE FRS, University• Clive Thompson CBE of Oxford• Dr Graham Turner • Karen Hamilton, Unilever• UCL Institute for Global Health and Development, • Professor Louise Heathwaite, Lancaster University Centre for International Health and Development • Victoria Johnson, New Economics Foundation• United Nations Association of Scotland • Sir John Lawton CBE FRS, Formerly Chairman of • Università di Bari the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution• Matthew Watkinson • Professor Ottoline Leyser CBE FRS, University of • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Cambridge• Woodrow Wilsdon Center’s Environmental • Roger Martin, Chair, Population Matters Change and Security Program • Richard Morgan, Anglo-American• World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) • Professor Jenny Nelson, Imperial College London• Dr Valerie Yule • Helen Newman, Thames Water • Karen Newman, Population and Sustainability The following Fellows for providing comments Networkon the draft report • Jon Price, Centre for Low Carbon Futures • Professor Nilay Shah, Imperial College London• Sir Roy Anderson FRS, Imperial College London • Professor Adel Sharif, University of Surrey• Professor Michael Batty CBE FBA FRS, University • Professor John Shepherd CBE FRS, University of College London Southampton• Sir Roy Calne FRS, University of Cambridge • Hannah Stoddart, Stakeholders Forum• Professor David MacKay FRS, Department of • Cecilia Tacoli, International Institute for Energy Climate Change Environment and Development (IIED)• Lord May of Oxford AC FRS OM Kt, Past Royal • Shane Tomlinson, E3G Society President • Oliver Dudok van Heel, The Lewes Pound CIC• Professor John Pickett CBE FRS, Rothamsted Research and Transition Training and Consulting.• Professor John Pyle FRS, University of Cambridge • Daniel Yeo, Water Aid• Lord Rees of Ludlow FRS OM Kt, Past Royal • Dr Nikolaos Voulvoulis, Imperial College London Society President Additional individuals and organisations• Professor John Shepherd CBE FRS, University of Southampton • Professor Mohamad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi, • Dr John White FRS, University of Wisconsin Australian National University • Academy of Sciences for the Developing World Workshop attendees – NGO, Technology and (TWAS)Industry workshops • Nana Adu-Nsiah, University of Ghana• Sir Roy Anderson FRS, Imperial College London • Lütfi Akça, Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, • Rachel Baird, Christian Aid Turkey• Professor Stefano Brandani, University of • Allan Guttmacher Institute Edinburgh • Professor José Eustáquio Diniz Alves, Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE) Appendix 1. People and the planet: details of evidence received 129
  • 130. AP P E N DI X 1 • Stella A Amoa, University of Ghana, Legon • Peggy Clark, Aspen Institute • Dr George Amofa, Ghana Health Service • Jason Clay, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) • Francis Ankrah, Ghana Academy of Arts and • Dr Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, University of Ghana, Sciences Legon • Professor Ernest Aryeetey, University of Ghana, • Sir Gordon Conway DL FRS KCMG, Imperial Legon College London • Awusabo Asare, University of Cape Coast • Professor Tim Coulson, Imperial College London • Sir David Attenborough CBE CH CVO FRS OM • Dr Geoff Dabelko, Woodrow Wilson Centre • Australian Academy of Science • Heather D’Agnes, US Agency for International • Sherry Ayittey, Minister for Environment, Science Development (USAID) and Technology, Ghana • Tuncay Demir, Department of Environmental • Ed Barry, Population Institute Inventory, Turkey • Sema Bayazit, General Directorate of Social • A Cagatay Dikmen, Ministry of Environment and Sectors and Coordination, Turkey Forestry, Turkey • Sir John Beddington CMG FRS, Government • Professor Danny Dorling, Sheffield University Office for Science • Dr Tracey Elliot, The Royal Society • Dr Katharine Betts, Swinburne University of • Robert Engelman, World Watch Institute Technology, Australia • Sitki Ersen Esen, State Planning Organisation, • Professor Richard Black, Sussex University Turkey • Jessica Bland, The Royal Society • Professor Jonathan A Foley, University of • Andrew Bloodworth, British Geological Survey Minnesota • Lawrence Bloom • Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK FCO) • Dr Philippe Bocquier, University of the Science and Innovation Network Witwatersrand, Johannesburg • Barry Gardiner MP, Parliament UK • Dr John Bongaarts, UN Population Council • Ghana Academy of Arts and Science • Rebecca Braun, University of California, Berkeley • Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) • Jason Brenmer, Population Reference Bureau • Dr Brian Greenberg, Interaction • British Academy • Nuran Günöven, Turkish Academy of Sciences • British Consulate-General, San Francisco • Hacettepe Institute of Population Studies • British Embassy, Berlin • Dr Karen Hardee, Population Reference Bureau • British Embassy, Switzerland • Carl Haub, Population Reference Bureau • British Embassy, Washington • Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS, University of Cambridge • British High Commission, Malaysia • Alice Henchley, The Royal Society • British High Commission, New Delhi • Courtney Henderson, University of California, • Yaw Brobbey-Mpiani, Ghana Health Service Berkeley • Teresa Brown, British Geological Survey • Zahidul A Huque, United Nations Population Fund • Professor Martha Campbell, University of (UNFPA) California, Berkeley • Clare Jenkinson, Forum for the Future • Professor John B Casterline, The Ohio University • Yüsel Kanpolat, Turkish Academy of Sciences Columbus • Sabri Kiris, General Directorate of Nature • Joan Castro, Philippines Integrated Population and Conservation and National Parks, Turkey Coastal Resource Programme • Dr Yayehyirad Kitaw, Former Ethiopian Minister of • Laura Chappell, Institute for Public Policy Education Research • Ann Mette Kjaerby, UK All Party Parliamentary • Helena Choi, The William and Flora Hewlett Group on Population, Development and Foundation Reproductive Health • Dr Richard Cincotta, US National Intelligence • Ben Koppelman, The Royal Society Council • Marian Kpakpah, National Population Council, Ghana130 Appendix 1. People and the planet: details of evidence received
  • 131. AP PENDIX 1• Kelsey Liu, Bixby Centre for Population, Health • Dr Anne Simpson, The Royal Society and Sustainability • Professor Ludi Simpson, University of Manchester• Dr Wolfgang Lutz, International Institute for • Professor Ron Skeldon, Sussex University and UK Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Department for International Development (DfiD)• Dr Elizabeth Malone, University of Maryland • Dr Jeff Spieler, US Agency for International • Roger Mark De Souza, Population Action Development (USAID) International • Katie Stein, Centre for Global Development• Lord May of Oxford AC FRS Kt OM, University • Dr Carolyn Sunners, UK Department for of Oxford International Development (DfiD)• John May, The World Bank • Edgar Sutcliffe, The Royal Society• Tony McBride, The Royal Society • Mehmet Tarakcioglu, State Planning Organization, • Vik Mohan, Blue Ventures Turkey• Karen Newman, Population and Sustainability • Sally Taylor, UK Department for International Network Development (DfiD)• Rachel Newton, UK House of Lords Science • Professor Sandy Thomas, Foresight Programme, Technology Committee UK Government Office for Science• Rachel Nugent, Centre for Global Development • Baroness Tonge, UK All Party Parliamentary• Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, United Nations Population Group on Population, Development and Fund (UNFPA) Reproductive Health• Professor Patrick Ofori-Danson, University of • Catriona Towriss, London School of Hygiene Ghana and ropical Medicine T• Dr Brian O’Neill, International Institute for Applied • Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) Systems Analysis (IIASA) • Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, Financial Services • Richard Ottaway MP, Parliament UK Authority• Dr George Owusu, Ghana Institute of Statistical • Tunga Tuzer, United Nations Population Fund Social and Economic Research (UNFPA)• Ozgur Kadir Ozer, Ministry of Development, Turkey • UCL-Leverhulme Trust ‘Population Footprints’ • Professor Immacolata Pannone, Italian Ministry of symposium Foreign Affairs • UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural • Andrew Parker, The Royal Society Affairs (Defra)• Meaghan Parker, Woodrow Wilson Centre • UK Department for International Development • Fred Pearce, Environmental journalist (DfiD)• PovPov Research Network • UK Foresight Programme• Dr Scott Radloff, US Agency for International • UK Government Chief Scientific Advisers Development (USAID) Committee• Professor Chris Rapley CBE, Science Museum • UK Government Office for Science• Cristobal Ridao-Cano, The World Bank • UK Office of National Statistics• Yolanda Rizzi, Royal Commission on • United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ghana Environmental Pollution • Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, University of Oxford• Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, The World Bank • Dr Robert Walker, Population Institute• Professor Fred Sai, Medical Services and • Professor Andrew Watson FRS, University of Professor of Community Health, Ghana East Anglia• Save the Children • Chris Whitty, UK Department for International • Jacob Scherr, Natural Resources Defense Council Development (DfiD)• Professor Samuel K Sefa-Dedeh, University of • Dr George Wiafe, University of Ghana, Legon Ghana • Dr James Wilson, The Royal Society• Mustafa Seidu, World Wide Fund for Nature • Rapela Zaman, The Royal Society (WWF) Appendix 1. People and the planet: details of evidence received 131
  • 132. AP P E N DI X 2 Appendix 2: country groupings Throughout the report we have referred to the Least, Less and More Developed Countries. These are the United Nations’ definitions of regions, and are defined in the following ways: Least Developed Countries Any country defined as ‘Least Developed’ by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolutions (59/209, 59/210, 60/33, 62/97, 64/L.55). This is based on low performance in three criteria: per capita gross national income (GNI), human assets and economic vulnerability to external shocks. Less Developed Countries Any country which is not ‘Least Developed’, but is in a ‘Less Developed region’, comprising all regions of Africa, Asia (excluding Japan), Latin America and the Caribbean plus Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia More Developed Countries Any country which falls into a ‘More Developed region’, comprising Europe, Northern America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Special%20Aggregates%20-%20list%20of%20 groupings.pdf132 Appendix 2. People and the planet: country groupings
  • 133. AP PENDIX 2List of least developed countries from (33) 27 Sierra Leone1 Angola 28 Somalia2 Benin 29 Sudan3 Burkina Faso 30 Togo4 Burundi 31 Uganda5 Central African Republic 32 United Republic of Tanzania6 Chad 33 Zambia7 Comoros8 Democratic Republic of the Congo Asia (14)9 Djibouti 1 Afghanistan10 Equatorial Guinea 2 Bangladesh11 Eritrea 3 Bhutan12 Ethiopia 4 Cambodia13 Gambia 5 Kiribati14 Guinea 6 Lao People’s Democratic Republic15 Guinea-Bissau 7 Myanmar16 Lesotho 8 Nepal17 Liberia 9 Samoa18 Madagascar 10 Solomon Islands19 Malawi 11 Timor-Leste20 Mali 12 Tuvalu21 Mauritania 13 Vanuatu22 Mozambique 14 Yemen23 Niger24 Rwanda Latin America and the Caribbean (1)25 São Tomé and Príncipe 1 Haiti26 Senegal Appendix 2. People and the planet: country groupings 133
  • 134. The Royal Society For further informationThe Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s The Royal Societymost distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, Science Policy Centreand medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its 6 – 9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AGfoundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence inscience and to encourage the development and use of science for the T +44 20 7451 2500benefit of humanity. E W royalsociety.orgThe Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highestquality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development anduse of science for the benefit of society. These priorities are:• Promoting science and its benefits• Recognising excellence in science• Supporting outstanding science• Providing scientific advice for policy• Fostering international and global cooperation• Education and public engagement ISBN: 978-0-85403-955-5 Issued: April 2012 Report 01/12 DES2470 Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the independent scientific academy of the UK, dedicated to promoting excellence in science Registered Charity No 207043 Price £39