This article was first published on Engineeringnews on
23 November 2022
We should expect each person’s carbon footprint to start decreasing after they earn above a certain amount. Note that the turning point is where peak carbon production occurs, so the further a country exceeds it the better. Most of the large, heavy CO2 producing countries already have higher incomes than the turning point figure but not enough to show big decreases in per capita carbon footprints.
If the country isn’t already at that income level the only way to get there, and past it, is economic growth. Economic growth will enable vulnerable countries to build defences against any risks e.g., sea barriers for rising sea levels, better flood defences, improved fresh water supply and management, and stronger buildings to handle weather extremes; and it is both a better way than compensation and will make compensation easier.
How do we get growth and greater efficiency? Improved cognitive skills, open and free economies, and dependent on those, new technology, are the proven ways. Farsighted green-energy advocates should promote these ways, including the free market bit.