Population and climate change

Population and climate change are directly linked. Every person contributes to climate emissions during their lifetime, and the more of us there are, the more emissions we collectively generate.

This correlation is not straightforward, however. People in high-income countries have much larger carbon footprints than people in developing countries and choosing a small family may be the most impactful climate action individuals in wealthy countries can take.

People in poor countries are becoming wealthier and as countries develop, their emissions increase. Several studies have demonstrated that positive actions to slow global population growth, such as girls’ education and family planning, can have very significant effects on future emissions.

Learn more about climate change and population here.

See our latest news stories and blog posts about climate change below.

The Unmet Contraceptive Needs of Women and Girls

Briefings and submissions

A four page summary outlining the unmet contraceptive needs of women and girls globally and the relationship between the provision of modern family planning and social and environmental issues.

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26 September 2020

Reproductive Healthcare: The Missing Link

A new study released highlights the importance of ensuring universal access to modern reproductive healthcare to achieving the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. To mark World Contraception Day, Population Matters calls for increased funding to the UNFPA to fulfill unmet modern contraceptive needs. 

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14 September 2020

Relationships & Sex Education: Teach Everyone Every Aspect

The theme of this year's UK Sexual Health Week is relationships and sex education. In this guest blog post, Dr. Rebecca Foljambe, founder of RSE charity and Empower to Plan partner You Before Two, reflects on a discussion with some of her young students. 

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7 September 2020

The Kibra youths protecting their communities and environment

Population Matters Campaigner Katrina Dixon reflects on what we have achieved through our Empower to Plan programme so far this year, and the continued support needed for the people of Kibra slum in Kenya.

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Densely packed buildings
28 August 2020

It's time to end harmful population denial

Population Matters Director Robin Maynard debunks writer George Monbiot's claims that addressing the population issue is "blaming the poor" and "racist", and explains why population denial hurts everyone, especially the world's most vulnerable.

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20 August 2020

Earth Overshoot Day: Five ways we can move the date

Every year, Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when humanity has consumed all the resources that the planet can produce over the entire year. This year it falls on 22 August. Global Footprint Network CEO Laurel Hanscom lays out five steps we must take to shrink humanity's ecological footprint.

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London street crowd
6 August 2020

Small island, big population – why the UK needs a Sustainable Population Policy

With the United Kingdom already considered one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, unabated population growth poses a real threat to remaining ecosystems and human health and wellbeing. Population Matters Director Robin Maynard takes a look at a UK politician’s new proposal to set up a governmental body tasked with monitoring national population trends and developing policy recommendations. 

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12 August 2020

Championing better choices: My work as a young population activist

The theme of this year's International Youth Day is "Youth Engagement for Global Action". Stella Wright, a member of the Population Matters London Local Group, is one of an increasing number of young people around the world concerned about the impact of global population growth. Here, she explains what motivated her to become an environmental activist. 

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Person eating burger
27 July 2020

Eating the planet: what our diets and population growth mean for the environment

A new report reveals that global adoption of current food consumption patterns in G20 countries would ruin our chance of meeting climate and sustainability targets, exceeding our food carbon budget by almost three-fold and requiring up to seven Earths to support.

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14 July 2020

World Population Day 2020 – sustainable development needs a sustainable population

Saturday 11 July marked World Population Day and for us it was the culmination of a series of digital events that we hope will encourage and inspire people to talk about population issues. This year our theme and activities centred around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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