Thursday, November 11, 2010

Global Equality Affecting Carbon Emissions

By: Peter Bishop


In the Science Daily article, “Reducing Carbon Emissions by Improving Global equality” (26 October 2010) Gemma Cranston and Geoffrey Hammond claim that reducing the economical gap between the rich and poor will ultimately reduce atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas , carbon dioxide. In context they claim:

“The industrialised world has been the main protagonist given that carbon dioxide lasts about 100 years in the atmosphere, but as the developing nations become increasingly mechanised and urbanised, the balance is shifting.” (Science Daily 2010)

The Mean

The difference between a world with more quality and a world with a greater economical gap from rich to poor is nothing when it comes to averages. The average of the rich and poor will even out into a medium. Even with global equality the average will still remain the same with the same medium.

The More Realistic Effect

With developing nations rising in economic status, the middle class is growing larger and there is more money to be spent with a larger GDP. People will want to buy automobiles and have better living conditions. With more vehicles on the road, emissions will increase not decrease. Demand for resources will also increase with a larger consumer market. Although emissions are decreasing by way of efficient cars, when more quantities are on the road than ever before, something’s got to give. Industries will produce more emissions producing mass quantities of products. India is the best current example of what the future has in store. By 2025, India’s middle class will go from 50 million currently to a massive 583 million. (BusinessWeek 2007) Incomes of families will increase greatly making it a top 5 consumer country in the world. (BusinessWeek 2007) India will become a bustling economic centre requiring more transportation including more sophisticated public transit and energy which will also increase emissions. Now imagine all the other developing countries adding to the total emissions. Even if the current countries today slow down in emission production, there will be other countries emerging with larger populations using just as much or more energy. The only way to reduce global emissions is to reduce global rights so people cannot use these services and that defeats the purpose of global equality.

The article also claims that wealth itself is more of a problem to greenhouse gases than growing populations which defeats the purpose of what the article is trying to prove:

“The new study shows that economic wealth is the most significant driver of carbon emissions rather than population growth during the 21st Century. Although for the 'South', regional population and economic growth are both likely to play a significant role in affecting future levels of year-on-year carbon emissions. However, it is the cumulative build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the 1850s, the period of the industrial revolution in the North, that is largely to blame for the problem of elevated carbon dioxide levels.” (ScienceDaily 2010)

The article does not exactly state how bringing equality will reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It seems that the negatives of global equality and emissions outweigh the positives in the sector of environmental damages. The article also presents no statistics involving demographics and related emissions. It just shows our present and past emission levels and how they should be reduced. The author’s main point seems to be that wealth and the industrialized world are responsible for the atrocities of climate change. Wealth is not the only class that will bring increased emissions. The middle class can be considered what everyone would be if all were equal. The middle class would also have the power of buying and contributing to the global emission footprint.

Supply and Demand

I think that even if wealth was out of the picture and everyone was financially equal, the governments would still own industries and still provide everyone with products for them to consume. It follows the supply and demand principles that would still be in effect. Industries would not be abandoned, they would just be co-owned by the people and/or government. Wealth creates demand and so would the equal spread of wealth. Technology can reduce emissions on each car but with more demand than before, total emissions will add up.

In summation, global equality would be a dream come true for this world but by no means would it reduce the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. The stubborn blame on the wealthy side makes it seem that there is no evidence that a global equality would reduce carbon emissions. With no statistical proof or model, there is no reason to believe that improving global equality will reduce emissions. It is true that wealth has created greenhouse gases and climate change but by getting rid of it won’t reduce emissions. There will always be an average population who will fill the void.


Inderscience. "Reducing Carbon Emissions by Improving Global Equality." ScienceDaily, 26 October 2010. Web. 9 November 2010. Article:

BusinessWeek. Farrell, D, and Beinhocker, E; May 19, 2007.

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