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Factoring People Into Climate Change
Barbara Crossette, The Nation
It's a sure bet that women won't be high on the agenda, or even listed on the program, when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon convenes a climate change summit of world leaders on September 22. Women are also likely to be missing at the make-or-break emissions reduction conference in Copenhagen in December.
Even less likely to be discussed at either event is the potential environmental role of reproductive health. Family planning is a toxic subject in too many places, best buried as a malingering relative of Malthusian population "control."
Governments, which dominate these huge confabs, and the people who work independently in the field, down at village level, disagree sharply on the perils of omitting women and their reproductive choices when the future of the earth is at stake.
At the NGO Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Development in Berlin early this month, experts from scores of nongovernmental organizations from around the world asked the governments of developing countries to accept that a "rising population and climate change need to be considered together in an integrated policy," according to Inter Press Service. Reflective of the NGO view was Kulvashi Devi Hurrynag, a women's rights activist from Mauritius, who said that countries must recognize the "synergies between family planning, sexual education, development and environmental equilibrium."
(14 Sept 2009)
When It Comes to Pollution, Less (Kids) May Be More
David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post
To heck with carbon dioxide. A new study performed by the London School of Economics suggests that, to fight climate change, governments should focus on another pollutant: us.
As in babies. New people.
Every new life, the report says, is a guarantee of new greenhouse gases, spewed out over decades of driving and electricity use. Seen in that light, we might be our own worst emissions.
The activist group that sponsored the report says birth control could be one of the world's best tools for fighting climate change. By preventing the creation of new polluters, the group says, contraceptives are a far cheaper solution than windmills and solar plants.
It is an unorthodox -- and, for now, unpopular -- way to approach the problem, which can seem so vast and close that it is driving many thinkers toward gizmos and oddball ideas...
(15 Sept 2009)
Copenhagen and population growth: the topic politicians won’t discuss
Tom Levitt, The ecologist
According to the UN, population growth is a driving force behind emission increases yet it will not be on the agenda at any of the upcoming climate talks.
World population has doubled to more than 6 billion in the past 50 years. It’s expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.
The population of the USA is projected to rise from 300 million to more than 400 million by 2050.
But most of the population growth will be in poorer countries, such as Africa and the Indian subcontinent, whose CO2 emissions per capita are relatively small – 20 or more times less than the USA.
Given the gulf in carbon emissions per capita it is hardly surprising that few politicians or environmental groups want to raise the issue...
(15 Sept 2009)