A recent study has debunked previous theories that limiting population explosion in poor countries may help save the environment. The study reports that controlling their numbers won't save climate.
According to a report in The Times, the study was carried out by David Satterthwaite, of the International Institute for Environment and Development, a think-tank based in London.
AdvertisementHe analysed changes in population and greenhouse gas emissions for all countries between 1980 and 2005.
His study determined that spending billions of pounds of aid on contraception in the developing world will not benefit the climate because poor countries have such low emissions.
It said that Britain and other Western countries should instead focus on reducing consumption of goods, services and energy among their own populations.
Satterthwaite found that sub-Saharan Africa had 18.5 per cent of the world's population growth and only 2.4 per cent of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions.
The United States had 3.4 per cent of the world's population growth, but 12.6 per cent of the growth in carbon dioxide emissions.
China's one-child rule had resulted in a sharp decline in population growth, but its CO2 emissions had risen very rapidly - 44.5 per cent of the growth in global emissions - largely because of the increasing number of Chinese enjoying Western levels of consumption.
According to Dr Satterthwaite, "A child born into a very poor African household who during their life never escapes from poverty contributes very little to climate change, especially if they die young, as many do.
"A child born into a wealthy household in North America or Europe and who enjoys a full life and a high-consumption lifestyle contributes far more - thousands or even tens of thousands of times more," he added.
A separate study by the Princeton Environmental Institute found that the world's richest half billion people accounted for 7 per cent of the world's population but 50 per cent of emissions.
The difference in emissions levels between a rich Westerner and a poor African was also illustrated in a study this month by the New Economics Foundation.
It found that by 7pm on January 4, a typical person in Britain would have generated the same amount of carbon emissions that someone in Tanzania would be responsible for in the whole year.
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