Essays on economic development, energy demand, and the environment
Medlock, Kenneth Barry, III
Hartley, Peter R.; Soligo, Ronald
Doctor of Philosophy
The rapid expansion of industry at the outset of economic development and the subsequent growth of the transportation and residential and commercial sectors dictate both the rate at which energy demand increases and the composition of primary fuel sources used to meet secondary requirements. Each of these factors each has an impact on the pollution problems that nations may face. Growth in consumer wealth, however, appears to eventually lead to a shift in priorities. In particular, the importance of the environment begins to take precedent over the acquisition of goods. Accordingly, cleaner energy alternatives are sought out. The approach taken here is to determine the energy profile of an average nation, and apply those results to a model of economic growth. Dematerialization of production and saturation of consumer bundles results in declining rates of growth of energy demand in broadly defined end-use sectors. The effects of technological change in fossil fuel efficiency, fossil fuel recovery, and 'backstop' energy resources on economic growth and the emissions of carbon dioxide are then analyzed. A central planner is assumed to optimize the consumption of goods and services subject to capital and resource constraints. Slight perturbations in the parameters are used to determine their local elasticities with respect to different endogenous variables, and give an indication of the effects of changes in the various assumptions.
Economics; Environmental science; Energy