Population and Climate Change

Bongaards and o’Niell (2018) –  Global warming policy: Is population left out in the cold?
The authors argue that population policies do offer options to lessen the impacts of climate change, despite the fact IPCC is silent about the potential in slowing population growth. The paper suggest four misperceptions which play a substantial role in neglect of this topic, and propose remedies for the IPCC as it prepares for the sixth cycle of its multiyear assessment process.

Weber and Sciubba (2018) – The Effect of Population Growth on the Environment: Evidence from European Regions
The authors analyzed the effect from population growth on CO2 emissions and urban land use change in Europe between 1990 and 2006. The overall results show that regional population growth has a considerable effect on CO2 emissions and urban land use increase in Western Europe. However in Eastern Europe, urban growth is affected more from affluence, and emissions have grown strongest in regions where they were previously low.

Wynes and Nicholas (2017) – The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions
The four widely applicable high-impact actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions are: having one fewer child, living car-free, avoiding airplane travel and eating a plant-based diet. The paper reveals that government resources and science textbooks fail to mention these actions, and focus recommendations on lower-impact actions.

O’Sullivan and Martin (2017) – Role of family planning in the climate change response
Global support for family planning could reduce projected 2050 population by 15% and 2100 population by 45% compared with the current trend. Nonetheless, support for such measures has waned in the past two decades. UN population projections are optimistic on fertility decline, nevertheless, the IPCC’s SSP scenarios assume far lower populations, representing a dramatic divergence from recent trends.

Das Gupta (2014) – Population, Poverty and Climate Change
This review focuses on the relationships between population, poverty, and climate change. Developed countries are largely responsible for global warming, but the brunt of the fallout will be borne by developing countries in forms such as lower agricultural output, poorer health, and more frequent natural disasters. Population will rise most notably in the poorest countries, although these countries have many incentives to lower fertility. Fertility decline facilitates economic growth and poverty reduction, reduces pressure on livelihoods and frees resources that can be used to cope with climate change. Slowing population growth also helps avert some of the projected global warming, which will benefit the poorest countries far more than it will benefit developed ones.

Cafaro (2012) – Climate ethics and population policy
Why is there resistance to accepting limits to growth? Are coercive population policies (economic or legal measures to regulate birth rates) ever morally justified? What are the arguments for and against non-coercive population control? This article reviews the scientific literature regarding voluntary population control’s potential contribution to climate change mitigation. It considers possible reasons for the failure of climate ethicists, analysts, and policy makers to adequately assess that contribution or implement policies that take advantage of it.

Engelman (2010) – Population, climate change, and women’s lives, In: Worldwatch report 183 
Women can play a unique role in alleviating environmental pressures, despite being disproportionally affected by the adverse effects of climate change. The report argues that humanity needs to slow population growth to tackle rising global temperatures, and the only way to do this is by improving the well-being of women worldwide.

O’Neill et al. (2010) – Global demographic trends and future carbon emissions
An assessment of the implications of demographic change for global carbon dioxide emissions. According to an energy–economic growth model, slowing population growth could provide 16–29% of the emissions reductions suggested to be necessary by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change. Additionally, aging and urbanization can substantially influence emissions in particular world regions.

Wire (2009) – Fewer emitters, lower emissions, less cost – reducing future carbon emissions by investigating in family planning
Every $7 spent on basic family planning (2009 US$) would reduce CO2 emissions by more than one tonne. Meeting all unmet needs would prevent the emission of at least 34 Gt of CO2 (gigatonnes of CO22) between 2010 and 2050,assuming that demand for family planning is not stimulated by family planning proposals. It is recommended that an optimum mix of carbon-reducing methods includes family planning as one of the primary methods.

Murtaugh and Schlax (2009) – Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals
Murtaugh estimates the extra emissions of fossil carbon dioxide
that an average individual contributes when he or she chooses to have children. In the United States, each child adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7 times her lifetime emissions.

O’Neill (2000) Cairo and climate change: a win-win opportunity
At a time when many desirable goals compete for scarce development resources, the best choices are those with the potential for multiple benefits. Population-related policies are already well justified in terms of human needs. Their environmental benefits are another good reason to not miss the opportunity created by the Cairo conference.