Climate scientists say ending population growth essential part of dealing with climate crisis

6 November 2019

Media Releases 2019

(Sustainable Population Australia media release Nov 06 2019)



Stabilising world population is an essential part of dealing with the climate emergency, according to the report signed by over 11,000 scientists in 153 countries released yesterday.


Sustainable Population Australia welcomed the report, saying the role of population growth in climate change has been ignored for too long.

SPA National President, Ms Sandra Kanck, notes the report says economic and population growth are among the most important drivers of increases in CO2 from fossil fuel combustion. It goes on to say “… therefore we need bold and drastic transformations regarding economic and population policies”.

Ms Kanck says the report calls for world population, currently growing by around 80 million a year (220,000 per day), to be stabilised but, ideally, gradually reduced – within a framework that ensures social integrity.

“Fortunately, as the report says, there are proven and effective policies that not only strengthen human rights but also lessen fertility rates,” says Ms Kanck. “These include family planning services for all people and removing barriers to their access; and full gender equity including primary and secondary education as a global norm, especially for girls and young women.

“But ending population growth is a responsibility of every country, not just those with high birth rates” warned Ms Kanck. “Each additional Australian generates more emissions than an additional person almost anywhere else.

“It’s time for the Australian Government to stop population growth as a Ponzi scheme to generate a false sense of economic growth. We are contributing to the brain drain in poorer countries while harming our environment and stranding our cities in gridlock.”


Ms Kanck says the report pulls no punches in terms of stressing the gravity of the climate crisis.


“It says the climate crisis has arrived and is accelerating faster than most scientists expected; it is more severe than anticipated, threatening natural systems and the fate of humanity.

“Particularly worrisome, according to the report, are potentially irreversible tipping points and reinforcing feedbacks that could lead to a hothouse earth, well beyond the control of humans.

“The report warns that potential disruptions to economies, ecosystems and society may make large areas of the earth uninhabitable. This is truly an existential crisis.

“Thus, there is no time to lose. In dealing with climate change, we have to work on a number of fronts at the same time, but ending population growth is critical,” says Ms Kanck.


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