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.

Chris Packham
17 January 2020

Chris Packham: we need to talk about population

In a landmark documentary on the BBC, Population Matters patron Chris Packham looks at the challenges of population growth, and makes an impassioned plea for it to become a core part of environmental debate.

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Mountains and lake
10 January 2020

Here's why 2020 could be a ‘super-year’ for nature

Despite the climate and biodiversity crises continuing to escalate, environmentalists are calling 2020 a ‘super-year’ for nature because of several upcoming international policy meetings that have the potential to set nature on a path to recovery. Population Matters is actively campaigning to ensure population solutions are recognised and implemented.

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Robin Maynard and Lagos media, World Population Day 2019
23 December 2019

2019 Year in Review

PM director Robin Maynard reviews a successful year for Population Matters, but one which brought much bad news about the planet.

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Big Baby climate change event Parliament quare
3 December 2019

Big Baby calls for small families to cut CO2

With the critical COP25 climate change meeting opening in Madrid, Population Matters' 7m-high Big Baby brought a critical message to Westminster on Friday: cutting population growth through choosing smaller families is vital to fight climate change.

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Person sitting on cracked soil
8 November 2019

11,000 scientists call for population action to prevent catastrophic climate impacts

The Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, signed by more than 11,000 scientists from around the world, warns of “untold human suffering” unless governments take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis, including ending and reversing population growth.

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Soil
25 October 2019

Organic agriculture could increase climate emissions without changes in population and diet

A new study shows that converting all farmland in England and Wales to organic agriculture could increase greenhouse gas emissions because meeting the food demands of the UK population would require using more land abroad.

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condom
16 October 2019

Scientists call for improving contraceptive use to fight climate change

A new commentary article published in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health urges wide-scale adoption of policies that increase the use of modern contraception as part of global efforts to reduce climate emissions.

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Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough at UN Climate Action Summit
24 September 2019

UN Climate Action Summit fails to deliver climate action

The UN’s Climate Action Summit in New York City wrapped up yesterday, leaving many environmentalists feeling deeply disappointed. Despite pressure from youth activists led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a record-breaking attendance at last Friday’s global Climate Strike, and a call to action from Sir David Attenborough, world leaders yet again failed to make meaningful commitments.

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27 June 2019

Condoms cut carbon - Population Matters at the Mass Climate Lobby

Decked in giant condom robes, Population Matters and supporters attended the mass lobby for climate and the environment in London yesterday, highlighting the urgent need for smaller families.

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Woman drinking water
21 June 2019

No water, no life: Population growth and climate change are fuelling the water crisis

From India to sub-Saharan Africa to Britain, local water shortages are turning into a global water crisis due to population pressure and climate change.

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