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Population dynamics and environmental change in Europe

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by

Roger Milego

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of Population dynamics and environmental change in Europe

Population dynamics and environmental change in Europe
Background
Human population has a powerful effect on the environment, but...
... the relationship between population and environment is complex and badly understood.
Population
size
, population
distribution
and population
structure
affect the environment in different ways.
At the NRC IGLUSP meeting (2012) it was mentioned that population dynamics play an important role in land developments.
Objectives
Population size & growth
Population distribution
Population structure
Population dynamics: status & trends
Population size
Environmental change and population dynamics
Conclusions
- Human populations have a powerful effect on the environment and viceversa.
- Several factors mediate.
- The relationship is complex and difficult to assess.
- Population is slowly growing thanks to migration and ageing, but it is expected to decline.
- Population is more and more concentrated in urban areas.
- Population size affects the environment in terms of resources, waste and pollution.
- Population distribution puts pressure on land, through urbanisation.
- Population income levels are related to some environmental behaviours.
- Population density, through urbanisation, strongly linked to air quality and climate change.
- Ageing and urbanisation tend to increase current & future vulnerabilities to climate change.
- Population pressure on water is a compromise between increasing water demand and water use efficiency.
- Wealthier population groups produce more waste, but recycle more.

Final statements
- Population dynamics should not be forgotten as a driving force and main actor in several environmental challenges.

- Further research is needed. Case studies might be very useful.
Current status
Trends
Land
Climate change
Water
Air pollution
Waste
How they interact?
We are 503.7 million inhabitants (EU27, 2012)
Slow & steady increase
Low fertility rate, compensated by live expectancy & migration
Future scenario of decrease
Differences amongst regions
Population distribution
Average population density in the EU-27 is 117 inhab/km2, but...
...highest densities in Central Europe, along coastlines and in big metropolitan areas
Population structure
Population
ageing
is and will be a major trend
Trends in
income
levels
Before the crisis...
After the crisis...
Gender
gap
Source: Own creation, based on Hunter, 2000
Complex interaction
- Population
size
--> resources consumption and waste and pollution generation
- Population
distribution
--> LU/LC changes, such as urbanisation --> Air quality, CC, biodiversity loss...
- Population
age
structure --> migration flows
- Population
income
levels --> environmental behaviours, e.g. emission levels or waste disposal
Examples of interaction
Population dynamics and LU/LC changes
Some
relationships
between population growth and urban growth, although it is very difficult to set up clear trends. Impossible to control
mediating factors
and
specificities
of each country and/or region.
Policy regulations
seem to pay an important role, both in
favouring
urban development when population is decreasing or
limiting
urban sprawl in front of some population dynamics pressure.
Those regions with a high population increase have not increased agriculture.
OTHER LU/LC CHANGES
No specific trends can be detected when comparing changes in forest areas and population dynamics.
No evidences of other LU/LC changes which can directly or indirectly be caused by population dynamics.
Population and air pollution
Air pollution is very much linked to the urbanisation process
MITIGATION
: main cause of climate change is high consumption by people in developed countries where population growth has been low.
Contributions to CO2 emissions do not correlate with population growth.
VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION
Population and climate change
Several impacts:
- Diseases and premature deaths.
- Heat waves, flooding, water scarcity...
Worsened by ageing and urban concentration

Population dynamics and...
... water
...waste
Population dynamics are not the main pressure factor on the water cycle. Other factors have more influence, such as increasing demand from
economic activities
,
urbanisation type
or the effects of
climate change
.
Wealthier countries tend to produce more waste per capita but they recycle waste in higher rates
Project manager: Gorm Dige
Roger Milego
Many thanks!
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