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Study “shatters myth that population growth is a major driver of climate change” – another opportunity for you to respond

September 29, 2009 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Donnie Maclurcan for alerting me to this article. I have not had time to read the article, but I did post the article in a PDF format below. Also below are the related figures, which I obtained from the International Institute for Environment and Development. I am pasting the press release about this report below. It is clear that there is a major push back happening with regard to the increased media coverage of population issues. There are email addresses below for the author and the Press Officer of IIED, in case you wish to respond to them.

Climate Change and Population Counter Argument EandU 21 2 Satterthwaite pages 545-567 (PDF, 258 KB)

Climate change and population figures Satterthwaite (Excel doc., 31 KB)

Full paper and raw data for key charts available upon request (see below)
Press release: Embargoed until Monday 28 September at 00.01 (UK time)

STUDY SHATTERS MYTH THAT POPULATION GROWTH IS A MAJOR DRIVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE

There is at most a weak link between population growth and rising emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, says a study published today (28 September) in the journal Environment and Urbanization.

The paper contradicts growing calls for population growth to be limited as part of the fight against climate change and shows that the real issue is not the growth in the number of people but the growth in the number of consumers and their consumption levels.

Dr David Satterthwaite of the International Institute for Environment and Development analysed changes in population and in greenhouse gas emissions for all the world’s countries and found that between 1980 and 2005:

Sub-Saharan Africa had 18.5% of the world’s population growth and just 2.4% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions The United States had 3.4% of the world’s population growth and 12.6% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions China had 15.3% of the world’s population growth and 44.5% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions. Population growth rates in China have come down very rapidly – but greenhouse gas emissions have increased very rapidly Low-income nations had 52.1% of the world’s population growth and 12.8% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions High-income nations had 7% of the world’s population growth and 29% of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions.

Most of the nations with the highest population growth rates had low growth rates for carbon dioxide emissions while many of the nations with the lowest population growth rates had high growth rates for carbon dioxide emissions

Satterthwaite points out that contraception and sexual/reproductive health services are key contributors to development, health and human rights in poorer nations and communities.

But he adds that these are not a solution to climate change — which is caused predominantly by a minority of the world’s population that has the highest levels of consumption.

“A child borne into a very poor African household who during their life never escapes from poverty contributes very little to climate change, especially if they die young, as many do,” says Satterthwaite.

“A child born into a wealthy household in North America or Europe and enjoys a full life and a high-consumption lifestyle contributes far more – thousands or even tens of thousands of times more.”

“Of course, not all the world’s greatest consumers are in high income countries,” adds Satterthwaite. “The many millionaires from Mexico, China or South Africa may have just as large and damaging a carbon footprint as millionaires from Europe or North America. But, globally, most of the world’s high-consumers are in Europe and North America.”

For interviews, contact David Satterthwaite at:
Email – david.satterthwaite@iied.org

For a copy of the full paper, an Excel file of data and charts, or other queries, please contact:


Current World Population

7,803,863,704

Net Growth During Your Visit

0

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