Copenhagen protocol must include population

4 June 2009

Media Releases 2009

 Sustainable Population Australia

Patrons: Dr Paul Collins, Prof Frank Fenner, Prof Tim Flannery, Prof Ian Lowe, Dr Mary E White



International discussions to prevent dangerous climate change must focus on the expanding numbers of those who cause the damage – human beings.

World Environment Day this year coincides with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings in *Bonn to prepare the agenda for critical climate change protocol formulation in Copenhagen in December. Significantly, the 2009 theme for Environment Day is: Your Planet Needs You – UNite to Combat Climate Change.

National President of Sustainable Population Australia, Ms Sandra Kanck, said, “It is time the UNFCCC decision-makers recognised that population growth compounds the problems of climate change and explored the potential to minimise population growth through renewed attention to family planning.

Currently, 41% of all pregnancies across the globe are unwanted.  If we could ensure universal access to family planning and other reproductive health services, every child would be a wanted one.  Tens of millions of fewer babies would be born each year.  A billion fewer by 2050 would greatly reduce the challenge of climate change, as well as reduce poverty.

Other UN agencies have acknowledged population growth as an environmental problem.  For instance the 2007 Global Environment Outlook Report No. 4 said:  Growing population and increased consumption of energy have had a huge impact on the environment…To effectively address environmental problems, policy makers should design policies that tackle both pressures and the drivers behind them.”

Ms Kanck said that between 1970 and the present, global growth in population has accounted for virtually all growth in greenhouse gas emissions.  Economic growth has been offset by reduced energy intensity of the economy.

“Australia’s population growth is currently 1.8 per cent and growth in emissions is 2.0 per cent – thus, 85 per cent of our increase in emissions is due to population growth.

“In Australia where per capita emissions are very high, every new person – whether by birth or immigration – adds more to emissions than most other places on earth” said Ms Kanck.

Further information/comment: phone Sandra Kanck 08 8336 4114

* Sustainable Population Australia has formal NGO observer status for the UNFCCC meetings, presently at Bonn (where we are represented by the SPA’s National Secretary, Ms Jenny Goldie) and in Copenhagen in December.


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