The Environmental Kuznets Curve

by Don Boudreaux on April 11, 2010

in Complexity & Emergence, Environment, Growth, Myths and Fallacies

Writing in today’s Washington Post, Arthur Kroeber explodes five myths about China’s economy.  It’s a very good read.

In the course of doing so, Krober reports two facts that, when considered together, explode an additional myth – namely, a myth about the environmental impact of economic growth.

The first of these facts is that China’s economy is “barely one-third the size of the $14 trillion U.S. economy.”  The second fact is that “China is now the biggest producer of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.”  That is, America’s economy – nearly three times larger than China’s economy – produces less pollution than does China’s economy.

So much for the myth that economic growth inevitably and always increases pollution and environmental damage.  Clearly, after some point, continued growth can reduce pollution and environmental harm.

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