GDP as a Direct Environmental Factor? Why?

Alright, this is bugging me. Environmental protests just broke out, and I went to check what’s bringing the Environment measurement down. From the looks of it, my GDP alone is tanking the environment. I fail to understand how this can be the case. A nation with a large enough renewable energy network could match the economic output of a nation that relies on nonrenewables. Or am I missing something?

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Looking at GDP again, is there a reason why GDP is a direct factor in obesity?

Pollution measures stuff like noise pollution as well as water, air, so on. Granted that doesn’t necessarily justify the direct link, but it might help you make sense of it.

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Perhaps air, noise, and water pollution should be broken up into individual factors. Individually, they may contribute differently to the overall state of the environment.

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Because it is. When people can afford to buy more food they often do.


GDP is a measurement of a nation’s economic output, not the purchasing power of its citizens. Perhaps a different factor can be used- one that’s influenced by GDP. But GDP itself isn’t an accurate way to measure the wealth of your citizens.

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The assumption in the game is made that, all things being equal, the economy is mainly powered by fossil fuels, and without and concern for the environment. Thus, in the absence of any other policies, yes, a boost in GDP will mean more pollution (as noted above, this includes air, water and noise pollution).

Of course you can take measures which reduce pollution (such as pollution controls, the most obvious one), in all different areas of the game, and this will mitigate the effect.

I would argue that if (for example), the UK had no clean air act, and no regulation of lead in petrol or particulate emissions, and no regulation on what could be dumped in rivers and the sea, we would have a catastrophic pollution problem right now, and there would be mass environmental protests.

To some extent you can see how bad pollution gets in china without such regulation, although a very strong police-state style law enforcement system there prevents the protests…

So democracy 4 gives you several options:

  1. see the protests as just an inevitable side effect of high GDP and deal with it.
  2. Put in place measures to prevent pollution as GDP grows.
  3. Put in place enough restrictions of protesting that such mass-protests are suppressed.

The reason we do not separate the different types of pollution explicitly is so that the game does not get overcomplex and thus puts-off the casual player, but we will eventually ensure modders have enough flexibility to do a good job of expanding that part of the game for people who desire more accurate modelling.


I totally see the assumption but at the moment it’s too easy to max out my GDP and even with every policy in place I still can’t curb the massive spike in pollution/decrease in the environment. All the work I put into minimising the CO2 output of my country was undone in an instant because my GDP is so high,

I think the best thing to do might be to still have it directly affect pollution/the environment, but to scale the impact GDP has back, to maybe 2/3 of what it currently is. Just a suggestion


I think that it should be a factor here, but that the current gdp effect is much too strong. Plenty of developing countries simultaneously deal with food insecurity and co-morbidity epidemics. People with lower disposable incomes are generally more likely to rely on highly processed low quality sources of nutrition. The current model in the game doesn’t really reflect this nuance imo.

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I think it does that fine. Plenty of policies have effects on obesity/food price crisis that are independent of food price/gdp

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I do agree with the fact that the economy should have a major impact in things like environment, but at this moment I think the connection between high GDP and environment is not that clear at first glance. And I thing the assumption that the economy would be mainly fossil-fuel powered is a valid one, but I think it would help if the game made that explicit, so that the players could see that and not have to figure that out for themselves.

Also, there are so many effects going into GDP that it can be really unclear what is affecting it and how to correct that. The hover-over lines are quite overwhelming at times.

I think it could be clearer if there was a new area that grouped these environmental aspects of GDP, for example in an area called “Renewable Energy”, “Energy Demand” or something like that. That would make the assumption how the economy is powered visible and explicit, and would also make it clearer where the negative environmental effects of high GDP come from, and how to combat those. And it would also make GDP itself less cluttered and clearer. This would also make the game easier to learn for casual players, I think.

One of the things on my todo list is to show detailed hover-over information on an effect where that effect is itself modified by other items. Currently this is supported in the games simulation, but the GUI does not show it.
So for example, the effect of the EV transition on the link between car usage and pollution exists, but the player doesn’t (yet) know that.

Once that change is in, it will be more tempting for us to add nuance to a number of the effects in the game.

I think I would prefer to do that in many cases rather than add new simulation values (blue circles), because adding more and more of these just to represent single effects can make the main UI look horribly overcrowded :smiley:


I take it one of those engine additions is variables existing as coefficients on the effects other variables have on each other? Because that would be fantastic, and open up a lot of fidelity.

Edit: just read your post again… you answered my question lol, sorry

Yup exactly. TBH we have not made enough use of this yet, but I think being able to convey this to the player is needed before I start adding effects to places.

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