climate change poverty

Is population growth the main cause of climate change?

population-growth-vs-emissiGeorge Monbiot tackles population growth in this week’s column. It’s too easy for those in rich countries to point to population growth in poorer countries as a leading cause of climate change, he argues. In fact, since every new citizen of a developed country will produce several times more CO2 than their counterparts in Africa or Asia, the only growth that is of major concern is that of the richer nations.

Of course, there are other reasons to reduce growth and stabilise the populations of poorer countries – employment, healthcare and education are reasons enough. Growing populations in developing countries are raising emissions, but their impact pales into insignificance next to the emissions of developed countries.  Consumption remains the real problem.

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