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.

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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11 July 2020

World Population Day 2020 Live Q&A

Join us for a live panel discussion on the link between population and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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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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Chris Packham
17 January 2020

Chris Packham: we need to talk about population

In a landmark and powerful documentary on the BBC, Population Matters patron Chris Packham looked at the challenges of population growth, and made 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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