Why Family Planning Is Critical to Global Energy Strategy

June 24, 2011 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Joe Bish for this article.  See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-maceachern/why-family-planning-is-cr_b_852395.html

Why Family Planning Is Critical to Global Energy Strategy

Diane MacEachern

During the first Earth Day in 1970, environmental activist Stephanie Mills made headlines when she announced she would not reproduce to avoid contributing to climate change and other environmental problems attributed to a growing human population. Forty-one years later, should reducing population again be considered as a way to contain global energy demand?

Japan’s nuclear catastrophe and the explosion in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago force the question. Nuclear advocates universally justify the decision to fuel power plants with radioactive uranium as the best way to sate the world’s increasing appetite for energy. Coal-fired utilities and oil companies use a “running to stay in place” argument as well. Despite gains in efficiency, they correctly point out, energy demand is on the rise. Part of the reason is because people in developing countries are justifiably using more kilowatts of electricity and barrels of oil to help bring their standard of living up to that of countries that have abundant energy access 24/7. But another reason is because every year, says the United Nations, our global numbers increase by some 80 million people, the equivalent of ten New York cities. At that rate, world population is projected to spike from the current 6.9 billion people to over 9 billion by 2044.

We don’t have to wait thirty-three years to comprehend the impact increasing population growth will have on energy consumption and the resulting carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change. According to the International Energy Agency, from 2004-2008, world population increased 5%. During the same period, gross energy production increased 10% with a comparable 10% jump in annual CO2 emissions.

This does not bode well for our energy future.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-maceachern/why-family-planning-is-cr_b_852395.html

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