Environmental impact may lessen as incomes rise

Rising incomes are having less effect on energy consumption, croplands and deforestation than one might expect, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows.

By examining government and industry data spanning 1980 to 2006, Rockefeller University’s Jesse Ausubel and colleagues found that in many countries that people are multiplying their consumption of energy and goods less than their income.

This ‘dematerialisation’ was seen occurring in China and India, as well as the United States, France and other rich nations. "Overall," Ausubel said, "consumers and producers demonstrate that richer can be greener."

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