Positive initiatives to slow global population growth — such as empowering women and girls — can play a significant role in addressing rising pollution levels worldwide, says population and climate change expert Kathleen Mogelgaard.
“Slower population growth would have significant benefits in addressing climate change,” writes Mogelgaard, senior program manager for population and climate change at the research institute Population Action International. These include a reduction in fossil fuel-related emissions and reduced stress on forests and other natural resources that absorb carbon dioxide. And we already know of positive interventions to bring down birth rates around the world, continues Mogelgaard: “expanding education, especially for the world’s girls; enhancing economic opportunities for women; and providing access to voluntary reproductive health and family planning services, so that women and men can freely decide the number and timing of their children.”
In addition to alleviating pressures on the environment, slowing population growth is key to mitigating poverty, writes environmental expert Lester Brown. In an article entitled, “Moving to a Stable World Population,” the founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute cites the Iranian government’s national family planning efforts, which effectively slowed a population growth rate burdening both the economy and environment. “Enabling people to have fewer children contributes to upward mobility and helps to stimulate development,” states the United Nations Population Fund, adding that “the countries where poverty levels are the highest are generally those that have the most rapid increases in population and the highest fertility levels.” Nonetheless, global population is expected to climb to 9.1 billion by 2050. The majority of these new births will occur in developing countries.
via Population and Climate Change Solutions.