Will reducing population levels have a positive impact on climate change?



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    Hi Peggy. I do believe that population containment would be have a positive impact on climate change – more people means greater resource consumption. However, I think what is more significant is the way in which that contained population consumes. For instance, although the US population constitutes only five percent of the world, American consumption accounts for nearly a quarter of the world’s global energy use. So while population control is important, the way in which that population utilizes resources is more important.

    This graph (from here), shows American consumption compared with the world.

    (In percentages)

    Where the yellow bars represent American consumption, blue developed countries and brown developing countries

    Before we condemn the US alone, however, disproportionatly high consumption is a trend endemic to wealthy states. In fact, according to the World Bank data, the richest 20% of the world acconts for over 3/4 of global consumption. As higher populations tend to be centered in poorer countries, this would again indicate that changing the quality and degree of consumption, as opposed to raw population containment, would have a greater positive impact on climate change.


    For more information on population growth and the environment, please glance at the questions and answers below.

    Population Growth and the Environment








    Population levels and Animals


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