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Estimating the Major Contributors to Environmental Impacts in Australia

G. A. Uddin, K. Alam, J. Gow


The ‘Ecological Footprint’ concept is used to measure the degree of environmental impacts caused by human activities. It is hypothesised that the driving forces of environmental impacts are population size, urban population concentration, non-dependent population ratio, affluence or gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, industry share of GDP, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita. This paper uses a consistent, well-known population-based framework, the refined STIRPAT model, to assess the sources of environmental impacts. The specific drivers of those impacts are not fully revealed, however, the STIRPAT model depicts a simple outline of non-proportionate impacts of human activities on the environment. Environmental impacts data was analysed using the STIRPAT model combined with the Ridge Regression (RR) method. This was because multicollinearity among the data sources could be a substantial problem, and the application of RR to the STIRPAT model enabled collinearity to be avoided. The results clearly showed that population has the most significant effect on ecological footprint, followed by GDP per capita and urbanisation. Thus, the impact of key driving forces on the environment revealed in this study should be taken into account in future planning and long-term strategies for environmental impact abatement.


Affluence, Ecological Elasticity, Ecological Footprint, Population, Ridge Regression, STIRPAT

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