Thanks to Peter Friedman and Scott Connolly for this article from the New York Times.
If you scan the most recent drafts of the climate agreement that delegates here are trying to complete, you’ll have a hard time finding the word population. I’m quite sure it’s not there. (Please let me know if you find it.) This is politically unsurprising, given how discussions of population growth inflame those fearing control measures, those with religious concerns about contraception and sometimes those seeing underpopulation where others see a problem. (There are other interesting reactions when the intersection of climate and population is explored.)
The importance of population size in gauging emissions trends was raised by Chinese officials here, who noted that their one-child policies reduced births by 400 million and emissions of carbon dioxide by some 18 million tons a year. In the first week of the meeting, Zhao Baige, vice minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said the policies had some mixed consequences, with the country now aging and facing a paucity of girls. “I’m not saying that what we have done is 100 percent right, but I’m sure we are going in the right direction and now 1.3 billion people have benefited,” she said.
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