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.

Hitting the Targets - Population and the SDGs

Briefings and submissions
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School children
25 June 2020

Can relationships & sex education help save the planet?

On the UK's Relationships and Sex Education Day, Population Matters Campaigner Katrina Dixon lays out why quality sex education is key to protecting lives and the environment. 

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29 May 2020

How much would it cost to end the worst gender inequalities?

A new UN report summarises last year's Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, which aimed to boost global progress on women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health. One key outcome of the meeting was its revelation that ending maternal deaths, gender-based violence and unmet family planning needs is affordable and within reach, but desperately needs more funding.

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Earth at night
14 May 2020

Empowerment or 'kicking down'? The truth about population concern

Population Matters Director Robin Maynard responds to environmental writer George Monbiot's denigration of population campaigners in a recent Guardian piece.

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Population Matters Magazine Spring 2020

Population Matters Magazine

Features Chris Packham's '7.7 Billion and Counting', a summary of ICPD25, Population Decomposing, and an interview with Judy Ling Wong.

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28 April 2020

Planet of the Humans: Infinite growth is suicide

Our Director Robin Maynard reviews Planet of the Humans, the controversial new documentary produced by Michael Moore and directed by Jeff Gibbs, released on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

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Wake up sign
23 April 2020

Report: overpopulation one of ten greatest threats to humanity

A new report by a group of Australian researchers identifies the ten most catastrophic threats to human survival, including overpopulation, climate change, biodiversity loss, and pandemics, and calls for urgent global action.

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27 March 2020

Study: preference for small families is 'contagious'

As highly social creatures, much of what we say and do is influenced by the people close to us. A new paper examines this effect on family size and consumption behaviour and concludes that smaller families and sustainable lifestyles could be achieved by facilitating the evolution of social norms.

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Shipping
17 February 2020

The ‘blue acceleration’: ocean plunder in the Anthropocene

A new study highlights the rapidly increasing pressure on the world’s oceans as a result of human population growth and burgeoning demand for resources.

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