Thursday, April 30, 2009

Population trends are linked to climate change says report

People and Strong evidence exists showing that demographic change is closely associated with greenhouse gas emissions, and that population dynamics will play a key role in attempts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of changes in the climate system in the future, a new study has found.

Population Action Internationalk (PAI) - an independent US-based policy advocacy group - says it is clear that analyzing changes in the composition of various populations is very important for understanding future needs and potential for mitigating carbon emissions and climate change. These population changes include age composition, the distribution of people in urban and rural areas, and household size.

The analysis presented by PAI argues that by including only population size as the demographic variable in climate models, the contribution of "population" to climate change has been underestimated. Similarly, understanding demographic trends, including fertility, population growth, urbanization, migration from environmentally depleted areas, and growing population density in marginal and vulnerable areas, is also crucial for the world to adapt to and cope with the adverse impacts of current and projected climate change.

…"A range of development policies are urgently needed to address this situation, including renewed commitment to meeting the globally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Investments in family planning and reproductive health, girls education, economic opportunities and empowering of women, and in youth could help least developed and developing countries to speed up their demographic transition, enabling them to achieve demographic windows of opportunity which may contribute to economic growth and a greater capacity to cope with climate change impacts.

"Population dynamics should not continue to be ignored in climate change adaptation strategies, and effective measures must meet the needs of the world's most vulnerable citizens, including the needs of women.

… "Population policies and programmes that promote universal access to voluntary contraception, when linked with broader efforts to address a range of demographic factors and meet development and poverty reduction objectives, such as the MDGs, will help lead to a more sustainable demographic future that will play a crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation."

Image from the People and Planet web site

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