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Human Population Growth and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Author(s): Courtney Campany

Shepherd University

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Summary:
Humans alter the climate by emitting greenhouse gases, by changing planetary albedo, and by altering atmospheric chemistry. Between 1900 and 2000, humans' emissions of carbon into the atmosphere increased fifteen-fold, while the numbers of people…

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Humans alter the climate by emitting greenhouse gases, by changing planetary albedo, and by altering atmospheric chemistry. Between 1900 and 2000, humans' emissions of carbon into the atmosphere increased fifteen-fold, while the numbers of people increased less than fourfold. One way to help mitigate global change is to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’. Unsustainable human population growth, however, may overwhelm those efforts. Understanding the relationship between human population growth and global change factors is complex and evolving. To start, understanding human contributions to global change requires an understanding of human population patterns at many scales.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 03 Aug 2023 doi:10.25334/PXFV-1Q53 - cite this

Description

This module is appropriate for science classrooms, especially those ecology focused. The module uses two online tools, the Global Carbon Project and the World Populations Prospects, to guide students through exploration of the relationships between human populations size and demography with carbon based greenhouse gas emissions. The module works best in the classroom, with small groups. However, it can easily be implemented in any class modality. 

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