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Overpopulation is not the problem ? overconsumption by the rich few is

Photo credit: Hipnos

I often hear people saying that overpopulation is the main problem to our environmental and ecological problems. Some people even claim that it?s responsible for global warming. I also agreed with this idea before. But after reading more about the subject over the years I have changed my mind.

The rich countries in the ?North?, i.e. the West, have a ?rapidly decreasing? population which is ?expected to decline over the next forty years.? Developing countries such as India, China and most of Africa on the other hand is where we will see future population numbers increasing.

And yes. It seems so easy to blame countries with an overwhelming rising population for being responsible for wrecking our planet, climate and environment. Because surely more people must mean more pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Right?

Not really. The West is responsible for about 80% of the worlds CO2 increase. An average person living in Great Britain will in only 11 days emit as much CO2 as an average person in Bangladesh will during a whole year. And just a single power plant in West Yorkshire in Great Britain will produce more CO2 every year than all the 139 million people combined living in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

As Fred Pearce from the Yale Environment 360 blog notes, only a small portion of the world?s people are using most of the planets resources as well as producing the most of the greenhouse gases. And those are living in the West:

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I believe both contribute to global warming because the more people we have, the more energy used but also the more technology, cars, etc we add, the more energy used. I think controlling both population and use of nonrenewable energy will help but finding more ways to use our renewable resources is the ultimate solution.

I also wrote an article about population control on my blog. You can check it out here: Population Control - The Ultimate Green Choice

Simon Leufstedt likes this

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From another post:

"The population is growing at a rate of 1.5 million per week. To put that number in perspective, in order to house all those people in a single place you'd need to build a city the size of Phoenix each and every week, or a city the size of New York every 5 weeks. Before the end of next month, the world's population will have increased by more than the current population of Sweden. Before the end of the year, it will have increased by more than the current population of the UK. Before the end of 2013, it will have increased by more than the current population of the US."

>>The West is responsible for about 80% of the worlds CO2 increase. An average person living in Great Britain will in only 11 days emit as much CO2 as an average person in Bangladesh will during a whole year. And just a single power plant in West Yorkshire in Great Britain will produce more CO2 every year than all the 139 million people combined living in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.<<

But these are (rapidly) developing countries and it would a mistake to assume that their emissions will not increase substantially over the coming years.

Population increase in undoubtedly one of the most serious challenges - possibly the most serious challenge - facing the planet.

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I believe both contribute to global warming because the more people we have, the more energy used but also the more technology, cars, etc we add, the more energy used. I think controlling both population and use of nonrenewable energy will help but finding more ways to use our renewable resources is the ultimate solution.

I also wrote an article about population control on my blog. You can check it out here: Population Control - The Ultimate Green Choice

Yes, pretty much everything we do contributes to global warming these days. And I agree that the energy problems should be the main concern, not human population limits.

You write on your blog post: "In addition, the ability to choose is less common there, with birth control availability patchy and information hard to get"

I agree. But we shall not forget that the West is even blocking progress in developing countries, mainly with the help(?) from the Pope and his religious followers who bans, spread lies and misinformation about condoms, abortion and other birth prevention methods.

From another post:

"The population is growing at a rate of 1.5 million per week. To put that number in perspective, in order to house all those people in a single place you'd need to build a city the size of Phoenix each and every week, or a city the size of New York every 5 weeks. Before the end of next month, the world's population will have increased by more than the current population of Sweden. Before the end of the year, it will have increased by more than the current population of the UK. Before the end of 2013, it will have increased by more than the current population of the US."

>>The West is responsible for about 80% of the worlds CO2 increase. An average person living in Great Britain will in only 11 days emit as much CO2 as an average person in Bangladesh will during a whole year. And just a single power plant in West Yorkshire in Great Britain will produce more CO2 every year than all the 139 million people combined living in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.<<

But these are (rapidly) developing countries and it would a mistake to assume that their emissions will not increase substantially over the coming years.

Population increase in undoubtedly one of the most serious challenges - possibly the most serious challenge - facing the planet.

Good then that, according to the article, "the world’s population is expected to peak at around 9 billion by 2060 and then to decline to around 8.5 billion by 2100". And that:

“Just five countries are likely to produce most of the world’s population growth in the coming decades: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The carbon emissions of one American today are equivalent to those of around four Chinese, 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 40 Nigerians, or 250 Ethiopians.”

“A woman in rural Ethiopia can have ten children and her family will still do less damage, and consume fewer resources, than the family of the average soccer mom in Minnesota or Munich. In the unlikely event that her ten children live to adulthood and have ten children of their own, the entire clan of more than a hundred will still be emitting less carbon dioxide than you or I.”

When it comes to climate change overpopulation is NOT an major issue. No matter how you try to skew it. Overconsumption in the West is a much, MUCH larger problem.

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