Analysis of the Effects of Population Growth

The problem to be addressed is the challenges of the world’s population growth and the impacts on developing countries. The rapid increase in the world population that consume resources is partly the cause of greenhouse gas emissions due to the high demand for oil, gas, other fuels and land. This report will focus on greenhouse gas emissions, its contribution to global warming, the problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions to developing countries, and common causes and solutions to greenhouse gases. The study will focus on Sir Lanka’s case, exploring the causes of greenhouse gases in the country, which are mainly human activities in agriculture and deforestation, and burning of biomass and fossil fuel to generate energy, and industrial processes both in Sri Lanka and around the world industrialized nations such as China. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its effects call for the country to consider developing renewable clean energy from hydro and solar, reducing deforestation, encouraging afforestation, and implementing farming methods such as agroforestry systems and crop rotation to promote carbon sequestration.

Section I. Background

Greenhouse gases abbreviated as GHG are gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse gases absorb and emit radiate energy within the confines of thermo infrared range leading to greenhouse effects; the trapping of sun’s heat energy in the Earth’s lower atmosphere (Yoro & Daramola, 2020).

Researchers and scientists associate the global warming pattern observed from the mid-20th century to the increased generation and expansion of the “greenhouse effect,” warming emanating when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from the Earth towards the surface (Oh, & Jeon, 2017). The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere include carbon dioxide (CO), water vapor, nitrogen oxide (N2O), methane (CH) and ozone (O3). An increase in these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere causes global warming, which is defined as the gradual increase in Earth’s atmospheric temperature caused by the greenhouse effect. Human activities such as the burning of oil and fossil fuels, clearing of land for settlement, agriculture and industry are changing natural greenhouse; leading to increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and more trapping and holding heat in the atmosphere (Yoro & Daramola, 2020).

By increasing the atmospheric temperature, greenhouse gases are liable for the greenhouse effect, ultimately leading to global warming. The Earth may become warmer on overall. The warmer condition overall translates into more evaporation and precipitation. However, particular geographies may vary as some may be dryer and others wetter. Stronger greenhouse effect may warm the ocean, partly melting glaciers and ice sheets, leading to increased sea level. The ocean waters also expand when heated, leading to further sea levels (Oh, & Jeon, 2017).


Section II. How Emissions Causes Problems for the Developing World

A few countries in the world account for the more significant share of the global greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, in 2000, the US contributed about 19% of the total global emissions, followed closely by China at 14%. There is no other nation in the world that attained over 5% GHG emissions. The top seven greenhouse gas emitters (China, US, Russian Federation, India, Japan, Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran) contributed 52% of the 185 countries’ emissions (Parker, Blodgett & Director, 2008).  Between 2005 and 2014, the world greenhouse gas emissions rose from 38, 273 to 45, 741 Megatons of CO2 equivalent, representing an increase of about 19.5%. China was the country with the highest emissions of 11 912 Megatons of CO2 equivalent, contributing to 26% of the global greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, as shown in figure 1. China’s GHG emissions increased by 63% from between 2005 and 2014, is still among the world’s leading emitter (Liu, Guo & Xiao, 2019).

Figure 1: Global GHG Emissions and Top Ten Emitting Nations between 2005 and 2014

Source: (Liu, Guo & Xiao, 2019).

Greenhouse gas emissions pose economic, security, and political challenges to both developed and developing countries around the world. For Sri Lanka, the economic challenges posed by greenhouse case emissions cut across vital economic sectors such as agriculture and tourism. Sri Lanka harvest based on ancient two “Yala” and “Maha” seasons established over 2000 years ago by ancient Kings. The two seasons have been previously forecast for the same time over the years. Nevertheless, in recent decades, the seasons have witnessed shifts in the patterns based on the rains’ timings. The shifting pattern creates a negative ramification on the farmers as they cannot harvest their crops at the correct times and sometimes low yield, making them fall into financial struggles. Sri Lanka’s Meteorological Department report suggests that the unpredictable weather pattern witnessed in the recent decade will lead to a fall of paddy farming by 20- 30% in the next 20 to 30 years. Study shows that Agriculture employs about 35% of Sri Lanka’s working population, and the negative impact of the sector will be catastrophic (Baba, 2010).

Another challenge associated with climate change due to greenhouse effects is security. The increasing potential for conflicts linked to climate change and the rise of insecurity in society is becoming a severe discussion subject (Carius, Tänzler & Maas, 2008).  The environmental stress resulting from climate change aggravate competition for natural resources, soil and water; placing much emphasis on planning and disaster risk management, and prioritizing the sharing of limited public funds to climate-change security-related problems. Besides, there is also emerging regional conflicts and escalation of clashes locally overall natural resources. For instance, Sri Lanka just ended a civil war recently that has raged the country for over 25 years, fighting for the control of the country’s northern and eastern regions. The report that about 60 million people in the low-lying areas of southern Asia may be displaced due to global warming by the closure of the 21st century is likely to fuel civil conflicts in the region as people migrate from the submerged areas (Baba, 2010).

The climate change due to greenhouse effect also escalates political instability in Sri Lanka. Even though the region has been unstable despite the climate implications, researchers argue that climate change is more likely to act as a multiplier to political unrest and not the primary driver. The regions such as South Asia, North and East Sri Lanka, which are having spillover in the northeastern and central zones as shown in figure 2, are more likely to experience more political unrest and conflicts for ownership and control as climate change continues to ravage the country. The zones marked red are the majorly contested regions. In contrast, the yellow ones are regions already claimed by “The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)” militant separationists battling for complete independence motherland for Hindu Tamils, an area located in Northeastern Sri Lanka (Connor, 2013).

Figure 2: Map of Sri Lanka Major Conflict Zones and Direction of Tsunami Threat

Source: (Connor, 2013).

Section III. Causes and Solutions of Greenhouse Gases

The two causes of greenhouse gases include burning fossil fuels, including coal, oil, natural gas and peat in factories to generate energy, and deforestation to provide land for agriculture, settlement and industry establishment.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from burning fossil fuels calls for adopting renewable and clean energy such as solar and hydropower. GHG comes from coal-fired power plants, burning of fuels and natural gas in industries and vehicles. Alternative energy sources, including solar, geothermal, wind, and hydro energy, will help address the problem. These forms of energy generation do not emit GHG once set and running. As for deforestation, practices such as planting trees, agroforestry, and keeping of native gardens should be encouraged to reduce landmasses left bare (Liu, Tang, Muhammad & Huang, 2019).

Relationship between Population Control and Greenhouse Gases

Research on the correlation between population grown/control and global greenhouse gas emissions suggest that the two variables are inextricably connected. Every addition of human on the planet increases greenhouse gas emissions. Population increase implies more demand for oil, coal, natural gas, and other fuels drilled or mined below the Earth’s surface, and when burned, it generates carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and traps heat. Population increase also means more land for settlement and agriculture, leading to deforestation. As such, population control is likely to degenerate these impacts (Hanif & Gago-de-Santos, 2017).  


Increase in the world’s population leads to more greenhouse gas emissions as demand for natural resources increase. Only a few countries contribute to the more significant share of world GHG, including China, US, Russian Federation, India, Japan, Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran, which contributed 52% in 2014.  The effect is greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to impact developing countries both socially, economically and politically. For Sri Lanka, global warming caused by greenhouse effect has negatively impacted the country’s agriculture. There is also political unrest and insecurity as environmental stress resulting from climate change aggravate competition for natural resources such as land and waters. The UN should move with speed to encourage industrialized countries such as the US and China to embrace alternative energy sources discussed in this paper and educate the world on family planning to control the population.


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