Saturday, 5 December 2009

Copenhagen, Climate and Population

Well it's the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference on Monday and maybe this time they won't be missing the point totally. In my lifetime World population has almost trebled, 2.6 billion to 6.8 billion and rising at the rate of 1.5 million extra human beings every week! All these extra people and the teeming billions of poor already here will want the same comforts and life style we in the West currently enjoy but the sad fact is more polluters equals more pollution. As a Buddhist it's impossible to ignore the suffering that this will cause not only for humanity but for huge numbers of other sentient beings and our planet.

Research from the Optimum Population Trust estimates that every £4 spent on providing unmet demand for family planning saves one tonne of CO2. A similar reduction would require an £8 investment in tree planting, £15 in wind power, £31 in solar energy and £56 in hybrid vehicle technology.

But the potential impact on climate change of a planet teaming with up to ten billion souls has again forced the issue into the open ahead of the December 7-18 UN climate conference in Copenhagen.

In a sign of change, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has declared that braking the rise in Earth's population would be a major contribution to fighting greenhouse gases.

"Slower population growth... would help build social resilience to climate change's impacts and would contribute to a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in the future," the agency said in report in November.

If, by 2050, Earth's population stood at eight billion rather than nine billion, that would save between one and two gigatonnes of carbon per year, buying precious time for cleaner technology and other policies, its report said.

Actually reducing our population would be even better!

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