Study: Educating Poor People Increases Global CO2 Emissions

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A chilling study which potentially opens the door to questioning the benefits of the ubiquitous drive to raise global education levels.

Education May Increase Emissions but Mitigate Human Cost of Climate Change 

Increasing education in the developing world could lead to a modest increase in carbon emissions due to economic growth, but education could also reduce the negative impact of climate change on vulnerable populations.

What They Found

The study found that in the slow to stalled educational attainment scenarios, net emissions through 2100 actually decreased.

More rapid growth in educational attainment, on the other hand, is likely to produce increased economic activity and an eventual net increase in emissions of around 5% to 25% by 2100, depending on the region. That’s despite the counterbalancing impact of education and economic growth on the fertility rate (lowering it), which slows population growth and emissions.

Researchers note, however, that higher levels of education also correlated with much better scores on the Human Development Index, indicating that better educated people are more resilient in the face of the negative impacts of climate change.

Read more: https://eos.org/articles/education-may-increase-emissions-but-mitigate-human-cost-of-climate-change

The abstract of the study;

Published: 

The effect of education on determinants of climate change risks

Brian C. O’NeillLeiwen JiangSamir KCRegina FuchsShonali PachauriEmily K. LaidlawTiantian ZhangWei Zhou & Xiaolin Ren 

Increased educational attainment is a sustainable development priority and has been posited to have benefits for other social and environmental issues, including climate change. However, links between education and climate change risks can involve both synergies and trade-offs, and the balance of these effects remains ambiguous. Increases in educational attainment could lead to faster economic growth and therefore higher emissions, more climate change and higher risks. At the same time, improved attainment would be associated with faster fertility decline in many countries, slower population growth and therefore lower emissions, and would also be likely to reduce vulnerability to climate impacts. We employ a multiregion, multisector model of the world economy, driven with country-specific projections of future population by level of education, to test the net effect of education on emissions and on the Human Development Index (HDI), an indicator that correlates with adaptive capacity to climate impacts. We find that improved educational attainment is associated with a modest net increase in emissions but substantial improvement in the HDI values in developing country regions. Avoiding stalled progress in educational attainment and achieving gains at least consistent with historical trends is especially important in reducing future vulnerability.

Read more (paywalled): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-0512-y

One of the authors, Shonali Pachauri, is the daughter of the late Rajendra Pachauri, former head of the IPCC, who resigned in 2015.

The study authors are keen to emphasise the benefits of education to those who receive a better education. They obviously don’t want their work to be used to justify cutbacks in international education aid programmes.

But that frightening alternative policy prescription of denying education to those who need it most still lingers. The idea that education is a net global harm in terms of overall CO2 emissions may yet have consequences, so long as policy makers believe reducing total global CO2 emissions is a priority.

71 thoughts on “Study: Educating Poor People Increases Global CO2 Emissions

  1. Planned Population, Planned Parenthood etc. reduces anthropogenic carbon emissions. #ThinkGreen #ThinkProgress

      • So…now a good education is a terrible thing for the global environment
        The loonies are definitely in charge of the asylum

        • Keeo a few million people living in the stone age is better to them as they are far more malliable and easier to intimidate. Now that people are having their own moment of clarity of the lies told about the corona virus it proves that we should not be allowed to think and just dig in the ground for grubs to eat and fullfill their wish that there isn’t even any farming taking place.

          • Andy,

            Not to sure about them being more easy to manage, it is very difficult for the elites to take from the masses if both only have stones to attack/defend with. That would ‘level the playing field’ rather nicely.
            Enforcing your will on others is only possible if you have either superior weapons or superior numbers. And when you run out of other peoples food your civilization collapses.

            Stay sane,
            Willem

        • If they are so educated, then how can they say “We found…” when using models, rather than “Our models as we constructed them say…”

          When using models, you can’t Find anything. If the models have been validated, they will tend to say something closer to reality, but that still only can get as close as the assumptions used. Non-verified models give only speculation based on the modelers biases.

    • This just goes to show what we already knew. The left does not give a damn about the poor in the 3rd world.

      I just finished reading an article at the Guardian about “racist” statues in England where it gives run down on some of the key suspects.
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/10/after-colston-figures-such-as-drake-and-peel-could-be-next

      Rhodes, a leading colonial businessman and politician, was responsible for apartheid policies in southern Africa.

      The strange wording has appeared several times in the last couple of days. Any mention of the obvious link to the former name of communist Zimbabwe: Rhodesia is avoided.

      When I was at school in the UK, Rhodesia was a country until it gained independence. Apparently history has since been rewritten to state it was “a historical region in southern Africa “. ( At least according to liberal edited orthodoxy of WonkyPedia ).

      Maybe the reason for calling for the statue of Rhodes to be removed while carefully avoiding any mention of Rhodesia is it may make the unfortunate link to the atrocities committed by the “free” black peoples on their fellow Zimbabweans which makes misdeeds of colonial Rhodesia pale by comparison.

      I mean, we would not want anyone to think that the slave trade in question had anything to do with rival tribes selling each other to European slave traders. The blacks are supposed to be the victims, not the co-conspirators.

      • For eons I have said “Zimbabwe-Rhodesia” inside my head. Not for any other reason than name change is kind of breaking history within my mind.
        Regarding Greenland a bit of the same thing happened. In school in Denmark we had to learn the names of all the cities in Greenland. But back then Nuuk was called Godthåb and Kangerlussuaq was called Søndre Strømfjord. Although I understand development such as name change, it causes a break to the past.
        Take for example East Pakistan. One day I asked a colleague of mine: “What have become of East Pakistan?” I was informed that East Pakistan is now Bangladesh.

        I have a feeling that the same break in historic consciousness is deliberately enforced in the Climate Change cult, in order to imply a new face of the same paradigm.

        I tried to recognize Eric Worrall in the picture above, but only imagined myself there in the early 1960’s. You can laugh about many aspects of the education back then. However, we learned severely more hard cold facts, rather than political woke mantras. The few political things the teachers indoctrinated us with, were that we should have respect for other people, nations, religion and social status. We learned about KKK, the National Socialists and told to be alert for any repetition or rise of similar movements. We were encouraged by positive viewpoints and opportunities for our future and the fight for a happy, rich and free lives. Some still adhere to such ideals, like Naomi Seibt, and others are following the woke cult of pessimism, like Greta Thunberg who wants Canada and Norway to stop increasing the fossil fuel supply she so eagerly uses to play woke and down votes trivial education.

  2. Socialists don’t want to educate the masses for obvious reasons. CO2 has nothing to do with it.

  3. Study: Educating Poor People Increases Global CO2 Emissions

    Of course it does when that’s all they teach at finer institutions of (cough) higher learning!

  4. Better educated people aren’t more resilient in the face of impacts from climate change, better educated people form societies that are more resilient to everything.

    Unless, of course, the educations are like the current liberal educations in western society, which focus on feelings, entitlements, and eschew activities that produce hardware and products that can actually be used to improve lives.

      • Krishna, that is really funny to me because my kids went to a Waldorf school in West Vancouver for a while.

        I find it most interesting that these authors have not toed the line of RCP 8.5. What shall we make of that?

        “…an eventual net increase in emissions of around 5% to 25% by 2100…”

        RCP 8.5 says emissions will increase 500% by 2100. What do we care about a measly 5-25%?

        Basic math tells me that the 95% confidence uncertainty for a range of 5-25% includes numbers below 0% so emissions might go down instead – unless you are one of those who believes in RCP 8.5 fairy tales.

        It is hard to wring more doom and gloom out of an emissions scenario about educating the poor if it cannot come within spitting distance of RCP 8.5, by a factor of 20. Pshaw!

  5. That’s the dismal – and false – conclusion that Planet of the Humans comes to. Humans inevitably destroy the planet. They don’t. But they like to destroy each other.

  6. Last on the list for energy and last on the list for education. Let’s keep those people where they belong so we can enjoy civilization the way everyone (of us) should.

  7. Instead of calling to defund the police sane people should be calling to defund the universities when this is what they come out with, utter rubbish.
    These researchers are earning large salaries and gain grants when they use climate change in there summations to prove their points.
    They have got this completely wrong as statistics prove that all countries who educate there citizens lift their living standards and the birth rate drops dramatically .
    Nearly all European countries are not replacing their population with their current birth rats and the population surge is coming from the poorer countries around the world.
    Educate and lift the standard of living in all countries in the world and the worlds population will start to decline and CO2 emissions might rise a little for a short time but as world populations slowly decline as couples have two children or less on average CO2 emissions will start to fall.
    How can these university educated people call for not extending education to the masses because of an unproven threat of climate change .
    The threat of climate change is a unproven theory and now these boffins want to use it as a lever to deny education to millions of people .
    Graham

    • “Instead of calling to defund the police sane people should be calling to defund the universities when this is what they come out with, utter rubbish.”

      We ought to defund the Democrats who are proposing this insanity. I have a feeling a lot of that will happen in the future. A lot of Democrat politicians are screwing up royally, and they are doing it right in front of people who are paying attention because the Democrats are scaring them.

      It’s hard to imagine these deranged Democrats could have much political support for defunding the police. They make a lot of noise with the help of the Leftwing Media, but they have gone off the deep end so far, turning bad situations into even worse situations, that the Media can’t cover it up.

      Vote the crazy Democrats out of power in the November elections. It’s the only solution that makes things better.

  8. African countries are supposed to “leapfrog” form a dung based energy poverty to a PV based energy poverty , neatly skipping cheap, reliable coal based power which would allow them to develop and rise out of misery and ill-health of poverty.

    Millions will continue to die needlessly because of lack of basic necessities like clean water, while digging with their fingers to mine cobalt so the bourgeois socialists can have their “green” electric vehicles.

    Before concerning themselves with bronze statues of historical figures they should look a bit closer at the reality of 21st century slave trade in Africa.

  9. My grandfather told me that he remembered how the UK police in the nineteenth century were all against education for the masses ”Because it will just allow them to steal higher priced items from the market place”.

  10. I have access to this article through my university. Upon reading it, I must say that you have recklessly and unethically misrepresented someone else’s research. Straight up misinformation.

    Compare:
    You: “Study: Educating Poor People (the research never discusses income, poorness, or poverty) Increases Global CO2 Emissions (the research never claims a causal relationship as you have presented)”

    Article: “The effect of education on determinants of climate change risks”

    You: “A chilling (no it isn’t) study which potentially opens the door to questioning the benefits (no it doesn’t) of the ubiquitous drive (there isn’t one) to raise global education levels (vague).”

    The article says the opposite: “…while for education we find they may be large enough to offset the benefits of slower population growth for emissions in the long run. Nonetheless, increasing educational attainment appears to have substantial benefits for well-being and vulnerability with relatively modest implications for climate change drivers.”

    You: “But that frightening alternative policy prescription of denying education (the researchers never claim this) to those who need it (who needs it? the researchers never claim this) most still lingers (your claim). The idea (your idea) that education is a net global harm in terms of overall CO2 emissions may yet have consequences (which ones?), so long as policy makers believe reducing total global CO2 emissions is a priority (do they?).”

    The article: nothing… because you’re arguing against what was never said. Strawman.

    • 1. “ Increasing education in the developing world could lead to a modest increase in carbon emissions due to economic growth.”
      Please describe the economic condition of a typical person living in the developing world. What is the direct implication of the phrase, “Increasing education in the developing world could lead to a modest increase in carbon emissions?

      2. Chilling in the opinion of some, just not you. Potential indicates possibility. Thinking you can dismiss the potential as non-existent is solely your opinion.

      3. Ubiquitous drive to increase global educational levels – if there isn’t one, then we need to stop supporting UNESCO, immediately. That’s their charter, supported by all UN members.

      4. “…while for education we find they may be large enough to offset the benefits of slower population growth for emissions in the long run. Nonetheless, increasing educational attainment appears to have substantial benefits for well-being and vulnerability with relatively modest implications for climate change drivers.” ‘May’ also implies ‘may not’, and ‘appears’ means they are not sure. They are not making a declarative statement on either of these possible outcomes.

      5. That this research could be used by some to stall education improvements in developing countries is not part of the research paper. Rather, it is pointing out exactly how some people would wield it.

      Your objections have no merit.

      • The anti-human faction has already been holding back agricultural and energy development in the third world, encouraging resistance to modern farming, fossil fuels instead of cow dung, bans on lifesaving anti-malarial insecticides…saying basically, “I’ve got mine, …you po’folks don’t need electicity, refrigeration, irrigation, tractors and harvesters, hospitals, and better fossil fuels or nuclear power…they’re just not good for you.”

    • Par for the course Dom. Strawman, make some stuff up, confect some fear, throw in some ad hominem, a bit of character assasination, get the dog-whislte out and lets stir up a bit of loathing. Striking about the right tone WUWT is aiming for these days.

      • “We employ a multiregion, multisector model of the world economy, driven with country-specific projections of future population by level of education, to test the net effect of education on emissions”

        How do you do a multiregion, multisector model of the world economy without including poor people?

        Sometimes you just have to read what is written in order to understand it. Broadbrush ad hominems based on not reading even the abstract only shows off your embedded biases.

      • 1) As usual, no attempt to refute anything
        2) Throwing out insults while whining about ad hominems.

  11. So let me get this right. Educated developed nations have worked out that man made climate change is bunkum. So now the zealots don’t want the developing nations to be educated so they can work out the same thing? Lol.

  12. Educated people tend to ask inconvenient questions of their “betters.” Questions like, “What you’re saying doesn’t add up, can you show your work?” 😉

  13. The idea that increasing education allows more people to question the lies being fed to them by government and authority is deeply disturbing to government and authority. Those is charge just want quiet obedience. Increasing education is likely to reveal to more and more people that the ‘Climate Change/Global warming’ push is nothing but a non-scientific propaganda scam. This must be resisted by all means available : like issuing this present piece of junk : ‘Study Educating Poor People Increases Global CO2 Emissions’

  14. Educating the poor causes more atmospheric CO2?
    That sounds like a bonafide ‘Win – Win’ for the Planet, to me!

  15. Oh god, not another model… “What they Found” should read, “What they Hypothesize”, but I’m a dreamer.

    • The poor get educated earn more money and buy things so it’s fairly obvious that will be the result and I am not sure you need a model 🙂

  16. So…if your Eco-Uber-Alles world-view is that human beings are a parasitical disease upon Gaia, then as Dickens’ Ebeneezer Scrooge has observed, paraphrased, If they’re going to die let them do it, and decrease the surplus population!” Why educate them when they’ll only die of starvation or disease?

    If you’re a decent humane person with a heart AND a mind, it’s not impossible to believe that Planned Parenthood in it’s many guises around the world, may already have killed off the would-have-been scientists, genetecists, philosophers, engineers, builders, inventors, leaders and workers who might have solved the problem of supporting the world’s population, educating, feeding, clothing, housing and getting a significant number of them to the Moon, Mars, various asteroid mining colonies, and…beyond?

  17. Is it just me or are most of the “studies” published in the last few decades chock full of qualifiers such as ‘could’ ‘might’ ‘possibly’ etc.? I.e. if it happens they are right, and if it doesn’t happen they are also right. “Heads I win, Tails you lose.”

  18. So uneducated people don’t exhale as much CO2 as educated ones do. Who knew?

    • No, educated people buy nice toys, build nice homes and drive cars, instead of living in grass huts and subsistence farming.

  19. If by chance they become scientifically literate, they will not feel any guilt about benefiting: themselves, their families, and their nation, by utilizing fossil fuels.

  20. **and therefore higher emissions, more climate change and higher risks.**
    NOBODY has shown that emissions cause significant climate change. Therefore we can throw this phrase out.

  21. “Education May Increase Emissions”

    But then again, may not. No need to read any further.

  22. It’s amazing how proto-fascists, posing as «free democrats», «republicans» and «libertarians» have the gall to attribute to the Left and Progressives their own agenda of indoctrination… Their «free-market» economists are incapable of explaining a major economic crisis, and yet they continue to recite their Von Mises, Haeykian and Friedmaninan gospell of «free enterpreneurship»… We truly live in an Orwellian world where «Up« is «Down» and «Left» is «Right»… On Education, look at China… There is this joke I once heard from an American professor: «An Americam University is a place where Russian Professors teach Mathematics to Chinese students». I advise all those «proto-fascists» to read the American magazine «TIME», special issue dedicated to «Inside the USSR», dated June 23, 1980.

  23. It’s amazing how proto-fascists, posing as «pro democracy», «republicans» and «libertarians» have the gall to attribute to the Left and Progressives their own agenda of indoctrination… Their «free-market» economists are incapable of explaining a major economic crisis, and yet they continue to recite their Von Mises, Haeykian and Friedmaninan gospell of «free enterpreneurship»… We truly live in an Orwellian world where «Up« is «Down» and «Left» is «Right»… On Education, look at China… There is this joke I once heard from an American professor: «An Americam University is a place where Russian Professors teach Mathematics to Chinese students». I advise all those «proto-fascists» to read the American magazine «TIME», special issue dedicated to «Inside the USSR», dated June 23, 1980.

    • “Their «free-market» economists are incapable of explaining a major economic crisis”

      OMG! Shutting down the economy for several months isn’t an explanation of a major economic crisis?

      Did I miss the /sarc in your message?

    • So you want us to educate ourselves to the beauties of Communism by recommending a 40-year old magazine article by useful-idiot journalists suckered into believing what they saw on a KGB-led tour of the USSR? Your suggestion, like your intellect, is beneath contempt.

    • 1) Fascists are a form of socialist, in the first sentence you already display an amazing lack of basic knowledge.
      2) Free market economists have explained every “market crisis”. Just because you reject the explanation doesn’t prove they have none.
      3) You are right, we do live in an Orwellian world, it’s because you socialists can’t deal with reality.

      • Guilherme obviously never read the book, or he’d know it’s a cautionary tale about socialism. And yes, Fascism and its offshoot Nazism were and are entirely socialist constructs. How many times do we have say “National SOCIALIST German WORKERS Party” before these cretins get it?

        • And here’s another thing none of these halfwits understands:

          The ONLY reason Fascism and Communism were ever considered “opposites” (i.e. “far right” and “far left”) is because the Nazis and Communists fought pitches battles in the street. And the ONLY reason for that is that both wanted power. Period, full stop, end of story, mic drop.

          Sorry Guilherme, but you’re just another member of the 5-minute attention span generation.

    • “When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science.”

      Orwell saw that coming too.

  24. Here’s a good idea – why don’t these characters offer to stop educating their own children so that more children in underdeveloped countries can take their place? No? Thought not.

    • They already did. That’s why they are rioting in the streets and believe in man-made global warming.

  25. (Karl) Marx saw tradition as a tool of the bourgeoisie. Adherence to the past served as a mere distraction in proletariat’s quest for emancipation and supremacy.
    “In bourgeois society,” Marx wrote, “the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past.” Ref: https://fee.org/articles/5-things-marx-wanted-to-abolish-besides-private-property/

    Many WUWT posters have noted that the Left does not like to dwell on paleoclimatology (“It’s different this time!”) in line with the tendency to educate people in only what they believe. My numerous grand kids have been saturated in leftist teaching such that I have a great fear for the years ahead. Educating people has a tendency to reduce population growth since development of commercial farming has reduced the need for farm workers–Greatly.
    However, for all the horror of imperialism in Africa, India, Mongolia, Polynesia, the Western tendency to keep tribes from wife-hunting and trying to annihilate each other has caused unconscionable growth in family size. It can thereby be argued that education increases standards of living but slows population growth, resulting in a net increase in civilization.
    (Note: most of my Gran-kids are involved in heath-related areas, crisis management, fire and rescue, agriculture and political justice. Doing much better than me!)

Comments are closed.