An integrated climate change response: the role of population

In April, TOP researchers organized a climate change seminar as part of the Gothenburg International Science Festival. Guest speakers were invited to discuss the role of population, affluence and technology in climate change solutions. The first presentation highlights how addressing population is a necessary measure to successfully mitigate and adapt to climate disruption. A recording of the presentation can be viewed here.

By: The Overpopulation Project

Climate disruption is one of the most pressing issues of our time. As such, a variety of solutions are being investigated to help humanity reduce global emissions, achieve climate neutrality and minimize climate impacts. From all these investigations, one common conclusion stands out: no one solution will be enough.

The most effective response to climate disruption will be an integrated one. Not just renewable energy, or carbon taxes, or education, or carbon capture and storage, or afforestation, or low-impact lifestyles choices; but a combination of them all.

A common notation used to express the impact of human activity on the environment, or in this case, the release of anthropogenic climate-altering emissions, is I=PAT:

Impact = Population * Affluence * Technology

Conventional climate solutions, such as carbon taxes or renewable energy technologies, fall under the realms of Affluence or Technology. The influence of Population is formally acknowledged in the Kaya identity, an application of I=PAT to carbon emissions, and scientists have repeatedly found that limiting population growth could provide immense benefits in curbing greenhouse gas emissions. But unfortunately, population’s role is almost always ignored in the media and in policy discussions.

As part of the Gothenburg International Science Festival, TOP researchers organized a climate change seminar to engage the public in a broader discussion of solutions to climate disruption. Using IPAT as a framework, three speakers were invited to explore the roles of Population, Affluence and Technology in climate solutions.

Find the presentation on population, by TOP’s Jenna Dodson, below. As always, we welcome any questions or comments. Please post questions from the presentation as a comment and we will get back with you. If you are interested in the contributions from the affluence or technology speakes, please write us in the contact form and we will gladly get in touch with them on your behalf.


Do you want to learn more about the solutions for overpopulation and actions towards sustainability? What actions we need to take on individual, community, national and global level? Check out the Overpopulation Project’s list of solutions!

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3 thoughts on “An integrated climate change response: the role of population

  1. Wordy. With the enlightened depth of perception that Homer Simpson does occasionally show. You as well be pointing out that gravity may well have a possible effect on the phenomenon that we call “rain”. Speak straight, and to the point. If you are writing to impress the 500 or so people who are “population aware” on this site, then you are wasting your time, and might as well go watch some TV. We need to get this message out to everyone, using plain talk.

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