End population growth to achieve climate targets

21 April 2009

Media Releases 2009

If greenhouse gas emissions are to be cut to levels that the Federal Government has promised under the Kyoto Protocol, that is 60 per cent by 2050, then population numbers must be stabilised and then allowed to fall, according to Sustainable Population Australia Inc (SPA).

Speaking on the eve of Earth Day, SPA National President Ms Sandra Kanck says that population growth is responsible for 85 per cent of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

“Population now grows in Australia at 1.8 per cent per annum, and emissions at 2.0 per cent,” Ms Kanck says. “Clearly population stabilisation and then reduction has to be part of a suite of measures that will ensure the cuts in emissions that the Government has promised.

“Population growth is a major driver of climate change. Forests are cut for farmland to feed an ever-increasing population; there are more cars on the road, more coal-fired electricity generated. It entails more houses and other consumer products. It uses more cement, energy and water which all results in more greenhouse gas emissions.”

Ms Kanck says that it is critical that the world keeps CO2(e)emissions below 450 ppm or below 2oC warming.

“Once we go above that we will experience positive feedbacks such as release of methane from the tundra and loss of albedo as ice melts in the Arctic. Yet if we continue with business-as-usual, and that includes continued population growth, we will head for the higher end of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s projections of six degrees or more.

“That will ensure the end of civilisation as we know it,” she warns.

Further information: Sandra Kanck  08 8336 4114 or 0417882143


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