Andrew K. Jorgenson

Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, Boston College

About Andrew

Jorgenson's research focuses on the human dimensions of global environmental change, with a focus on the drivers of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, industrial pollution and land cover change. Jorgenson also conducts research on the political-economic and environmental conditions that shape population health outcomes, uneven development, income inequality and environmental concern. Jorgenson's ongoing collaborative research on the facility-level and country-level factors that shape power plants’ carbon emissions has received multiple waves of funding from the National Science Foundation. Jorgenson's published work appears in a variety of journals, including American Journal of Sociology, Nature Climate Change, Social Forces, Environmental Research Letters, Sociological Theory, Social Problems, Sustainability Science, Sociological Science, Climatic Change, Social Science Research, WIREs Climate Change, Sociological Forum, Ecological Economics, SSM Population Health, and Conservation Biology. Jorgenson recently finished a book with coauthors Don Grant and Wesley Longhofer, titled Super Polluters: Tackling the World’s Largest Sources of Climate-Disrupting Emissions, which will be published by Columbia University Press in 2020. Jorgenson was the 2016-2017 chair of the Environmental Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA), and a member of the ASA’s Task Force on Sociology and Global Climate Change, which concluded in 2016. Jorgenson served as the 2018-2019 chair of the Sociology of Development Section of the ASA and is currently an at large officer for the Society for Human Ecology. Jorgenson is the founding co-editor of Sociology of Development, a journal published by University of California Press.

In the News

Andrew K. Jorgenson quoted on Trump's climate policy by Zahra Hirji, "Trump's Choices 'Detrimental to the Planet and People,' Environmental Sociologists Say" Inside Climate News, February 3, 2017.
Andrew K. Jorgenson's research on the relationship between economic development and sustainable fuel practices discussed by Richard York, "Development and Well-Being Still Rely on Burning Fossil Fuels," The Conversation, February 25, 2014.
"Is High Heat the New Normal?," Andrew K. Jorgenson, Interview with Tom Ashbrook, NPR’s On Point, July 22, 2011.
"BYU and University of Utah Professors Wanted Legislature to Listen to Them on Climate Change," Andrew K. Jorgenson, Interview with Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News, March 15, 2010.


"Economic Development and the Carbon Intensity of Human Well-Being" Nature Climate Change 4 (2014): 186-189.
Examines how the effect of economic development on carbon intensity of human well-being has changed since 1970 for 106 countries in multiple regional samples throughout the world. Although future economic growth will probably improve human well-being generally, this research suggests that it will also cost an increasing amount of carbon emissions.
"Are the Economy and the Environment Decoupling? A Comparative International Study, 1960-2005" (with Brett Clark). American Journal of Sociology 118, no. 1 (July 2012): 1-44.
Compares ecological modernization theory, which posits that environmental degradation will decrease over time as economic development increases, with treadmill of production theory, which argues that both will increase apace. Statistical analyses of national-level carbon emissions provide mixed and unbalanced support for both theories.
"Assessing the Temporal and Regional Differences in the Relationships between Infant and Child Mortality and Urban Slum Prevalence in Less-Developed Countries, 1990-2005" (with James Rice and Brett Clark). Urban Studies 49 (2012): 3495-3512.
Assesses the extent to which infant and child mortality rates in less developed countries are impacted by the percentage of domestic populations living in urban slum conditions; finds that growth in the percentage of populations living in these conditions positively affects both forms of mortality rates, with the relationship being strongest and increasingly so for nations in Africa relative to nations in Asia and Latin America.
"The Sociology of Ecologically Unequal Exchange and Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 1960-2005" Social Science Research 41, no. 2 (2012): 242-252.
Engages the sociological theory of ecologically unequal exchange to assess the extent to which levels of per capita anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are a function of the "vertical flow" of exports to high-income nations. Finds that levels of such emissions are positively associated with the vertical flow of exports, and the relationship is much more pronounced (and increasingly so through time) for lower-income countries than for high-income countries.
"Assessing the Causes of Anthropogenic Methane Emissions in Comparative Perspective, 1990-2005" (with Ryan Birkholz). Ecological Economics 69, no. 12 (2010): 2634-2643.
Shows that population size, economic development, the production of cereals, cattle, natural gas and oil, and a reliance on food exports all contribute to methane emissions – a known contributor to climate change – from 1990 to 2005.
"The Economy, Military, and Ecologically Unequal Relationships in Comparative Perspective: A Panel Study of the Ecological Footprints of Nations, 1975-2000" (with Brett Clark). Social Problems 56, no. 4 (November 2009): 621-646.
Examines the structural predictors of the per capita ecological footprints of nations, ultimately suggesting that a political economy framework that considers domestic attributes and structural relationships in particular contexts is quite useful for understanding nations’ consumption-based environmental harms.
"Globalization, Foreign Investment Dependence, and Agriculture Production: A Cross-National Study of Pesticide and Fertilizer Use Intensity in Less-Developed Countries, 1990-2000" (with Kennon A. Kuykendall). Social Forces 87, no. 1 (2008): 529-560.
Finds that pesticide and fertilizer use intensity in less-developed countries are both positively associated with foreign investment dependence in the agricultural sector, which contributes to a variety of human health and environmental problems.