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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Alexandre Boury

Analysing national pathways in carbon emissions, economic activity and life expectancy: Trajectories towards sustainable development

Alexandre Boury

Analysing national pathways in carbon emissions, economic activity and life expectancy: Trajectories towards sustainable development

 

Country development around the world can follow many different paths. Although classic indicators such as carbon emissions, GDP or the Human Development Index individually can suggest a country is economically healthy, developing industrially or improving the quality of life of its citizens, they do not paint the whole picture. One must combine the study of these indicators with an appreciation of the different countries’ geographical and historical contexts in order to get a better understanding of their current situations, as well as where they are heading.

This work focuses on establishing a new methodology to interpret country development. It looks at country pathways in terms of life expectancy, economic growth and carbon emissions and compares them with each other to find development trajectory trends.

The methodology is a combination of a breakdown of pathways into different growth ranges for each 5 year interval between 1975 and 2005, and a cluster analysis revealing the overall trend over that period. The combination of these two methods allows one to draw network graphs representing the links between the different country trajectories.

The research reveals the difficulty to find common trajectories, and discusses how to evaluate their sustainability.