Expert urges voluntary family planning to mitigate climate change

Expert urges voluntary family planning to mitigate climate change
Every week, world population increases by 1.5 million. Credit: Phil Testemale BMJ 2016

With climate change already close to an irreversible tipping point, urgent action is needed to reduce not only our mean (carbon) footprints but also the "number of feet" - that is, the growing population either already creating large footprints or aspiring to do so, argues a leading physician and environmentalist in The BMJ today.

Yet John Guillebaud, Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at University College London, says most discussions focus only on technology and consumption.

He points out that 45% of the world lives in areas where total fertility rates range from 2.1 to 5, and 9% where they exceed 5. In the 48 countries designated by the United Nations as least developed, population is projected to triple by 2100.

The UN's latest median world population projection of 11.2 billion by 2100 is predicated on continuing reductions in fertility rate, he adds. Without them, the constant fertility variant projects to roughly 28 billion by 2100.

Studies invariably show that family planning is highly cost effective compared with other emission abatement strategies, he explains.

For instance, simply by having one less child, an American woman would reduce her "carbon legacy" (the summed emissions of herself and her descendants weighted by relatedness) by 9441 tonnes, he writes. This is around 20-fold (10-fold in the United Kingdom) more than would be saved by other eco-actions.

Expert urges voluntary family planning to mitigate climate change
These are greenhouse gas emissions, as percentage of the world annual total. Credit: @ The BMJ 2016

He calls on health professionals to "advocate for voluntary family planning" and says "action on population growth as well as technology and consumption is essential to ensure that climate mayhem is both minimised and mitigated."

On Sunday, 5th June, Professor Guillebaud will be involved in celebrations for the ecotimecapsule project. Initiated in 1994 at botanic gardens in Kew and Ness, the Seychelles, New South Wales, Mexico and South Africa, it aims to make a decent, truly sustainable future a reality for our grandchildren - and for all the wild species in Nature that humankind so threatens. http://www.ecotimecapsule.com


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Journal information: British Medical Journal (BMJ)

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May 28, 2016
The very-selfish, as well as goofy folk hindered by religion, will not consider this.

May 31, 2016
I'm always in two minds about this. Firstly, family planning improves the lives of billions of people, especially women. It's related to development outcomes, better education, higher incomes, greater equality and a generally-better society for everybody.

But equating it with climate change ignores one big thing - most emissions are from wealthy developed countries with smaller populations so there is *no direct link between climate change and population growth*. Equating population growth with climate change allows the wealthy white world to divorce themselves from the implications of their own behaviour, combining this concept with basic racism and leading to the conclusion that the issue is these brown people having too many babies.

I'm just not comfortable with that: because it's not accurate, because it allows the people responsible (us) to abrogate responsibility and because it is too similar to appalling philosophies like Social Darwinism and Eugenics.

Jun 01, 2016
Well, then, gk and leet, assuage your guilt-trip about overpopulation. Feel free to off yourselves at any time.

Jun 01, 2016
Reading is a wonderful modern invention. You should try it sometime

Jun 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Jun 01, 2016
But equating it with climate change ignores one big thing - most emissions are from wealthy developed countries with smaller populations so there is *no direct link between climate change and population growth*. Equating population growth with climate change allows the wealthy white world to divorce themselves from the implications of their own behaviour, combining this concept with basic racism and leading to the conclusion that the issue is these brown people having too many babies.

The first sensible thing you've ever said. Who are you and what have you done with leetennant?
But, what you fail to realize is the worry that poorer countries (China, India) are moving towards wealthier lifestyles and that means less for the western white world.

Jun 01, 2016
Let's be honest. It's down to "rutting" versus "planning". Progressives like the latter, the animalistic right w(h)orship the former.

I've a simple solution. Educate every woman to the point she can be independent in her society. Many problems solved.
- Sheik_Yerbuti

Great idea. When are you leaving for Saudi Arabia so that you can influence the Saudi women not to have sex without birth control pills or a condom. Do you think that you would get out of the country alive once the Saudi men and the royal family find out what your goal is?

Jun 02, 2016
I think you're all confusing the Arab world with the Catholic Church. There's nothing in Islam about not using birth control. You have the wrong theosophy.

Jun 02, 2016
I think you're all confusing the Arab world with the Catholic Church. There's nothing in Islam about not using birth control. You have the wrong theosophy.
Theres nothing about it in the bible except the story about Onan. But it is in the koran.
http://www.answer...azl.html

All religions condemn anything that seeks to avoid the will of god. Both bible and koran have a lot to say about the womans proper role as baby maker and housewife.

And of course all religions condemn in the strictest terms any alternatives to procreative sex. Because the surviving religions are the ones which are best at outgrowing and overrunning their less prolific counterparts.

This is a form of evolution, specifically of group selection.

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