The Global Economic Downturn and its Impact on the Environment

By Jwalit Patel, Aditya Gupta and V Upadhyay.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The current economic downturn is widely publicized as the harbinger of a sharp decline in the growth rates of output and consumption patterns, especially in the western world. It certainly has a severe adverse impact on employment levels and the standard of living in general, but it could also have some positive impact as far as environmental sustainability is concerned. The high consumption levels of western nations have a direct causal link with natural resource depletion at global level and with emission of greenhouse gases and other toxic wastes. Their unbridled, neoliberal growth processes are environmentally unsustainable. We substantiate this claim by studying CO₂ emission patterns and predicting a decline in its emissions due to the change in consumption patterns of major western economies. We have used standard consumption data for two major fossil fuels- Oil and Coal. The paper proposes models linking consumption of oil and coal to CO₂ emissions and uses them for its predictions. The inferences from these models are validated by using corresponding CO₂ emission data. Given the depth and breadth of the downturn, it may turn out to be L-shaped, thus offering the urgently needed sharp and pointed departure from the environmentally non-sustainable growth paths of the Western/industrialized nations.

Keywords: Global Downturn, Environmental Sustainability, CO₂ Emissions

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.221-230. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.461MB).

Jwalit Patel

Undergraduate Student, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India

He is an undergraduate student pursuing B.Tech in Engineering Physics at The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India.

Aditya Gupta

Undergraduate Student, Computer Science & Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India

He is an undergraduate student pursuing B.Tech in Computer Science & Engineering at The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India.

Dr. V Upadhyay

Professor of Economics, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India

He is former Head, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute if Technology Delhi. Prior to his current assignment, he had earlier worked with IIT Kanpur, University of New Brunswick, Canada, University of PEI, Canada, McMaster University, Canada and University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. He has authored about a hundred research papers and supervised 11 Ph.D. students. He was the chairperson of the 11th International Conference on Productivity and Quality Research in December 2005.

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