By examining a variety of government and industry data spanning 1980 to 2006, Rockefeller University’s Jesse Ausubel and his colleagues say that dematerialization — the declining consumption of energy and goods in comparison to a country’s gross domestic product — is actually driving a trend toward rising environmental quality. The results were published online in the Aug. 18 Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“For generations, people have lightened their environmental impact by multiplying their consumption less than their income,” says Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment. “We have found encouraging evidence that this trend continues, particularly in places like China and India.” While consumers increase their use of staples more slowly than their affluence grows, producers also play a role as access to better technology allows them to get more from less.
An especially striking example is China. Without the dematerialization from 1980 to 2006 by Chinese consumers, actual national energy use in 2006 would have been 180 percent greater, Ausubel says. In India, an initial trend toward poorer environmental performance appears to have reversed. Meanwhile, the effect has also occurred in the United States, France and other rich nations. In the U.S., dematerialization progressed steadily at about two percent a year throughout the study period, regardless of which political party was in power.
Other countries, however, have not shown progress. “Though positive evidence prevails, our analysis reports troubling directions for Brazil and especially Indonesia,” Ausubel says. And in several instances the authors found discrepancies and fluctuations in data that require caution in terms of drawing generalizations.
“Overall,” concludes Ausubel, “consumers and producers demonstrate that richer can be greener.”
Zach Veilleux | Newswise Science News
Self-organising system enables motile cells to form complex search pattern
07.05.2019 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Mouse studies show minimally invasive route can accurately administer drugs to brain
02.05.2019 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy