Economic growth is most likely to blame for increases in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, a study by the University of Michigan says.
According to UPI, researchers from the university assessed the effects of several factors on year-to-year changes in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The team looked at both natural (eruptions and the El Nino weather pattern) and human factors (world population and the world economy). Of these four factors affecting CO2 concentrations, the researchers found that growing global economies were the most likely source of increases in greenhouse gas.
For every year between 1958 and 2010 that the worldwide gross domestic product was above average, there were greater increases in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, the researchers said in a university release reported Tuesday, according to UPI.
To put an end to this, the world’s economies would need to halt economic growth, Tapia Granados, a researcher at the university’s Institute for Social Research, said, according to UPI.
“Since the 1980s, scientists like James Hansen have been warning us about the effects global warming will have on the Earth,” Granados added. “One solution that has promise is a carbon tax levied on any activity producing CO2 in order to create incentives to reduce emissions.”
But “if ‘business as usual’ conditions continue, economic contractions the size of the Great Recession or even bigger will be needed to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2,” Granados said, according to UPI.
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