Climate, Environment and Population

There is an unchallenged contention that there is a causal and direct link between increased population and climate change. Population is linked to climate change only through the intermediate stage or process of consumption. This fact may be illustrated by the GHG equivalent population distribution curves. 

The major focus of this research project will be :

  • Looking at the relationship population, energy consumption and GHG emission.
  • Policy action should be directed at the climate-consumption link rather than targeting at the population-climate links only.
  • Whereas control or regulation of human activities is an accepted legitimate function of govt. controls of the right to reproduce present far thornier ethical questions specially if imposed as a result of international negotiations. Direct regulation of population presents enormous socio-political disruption (e.g., Indira’s India. 1977 and China’s female infanticide).
  • Factors determining population growth : Certain increase in standard of living as measured in PQLI (Physical Quality of Life Index) will reduce population growth (e.g. Kerala, Sri Lanka and Europe in early twentieth country).
  • Role of women : Women literacy and awareness has a far greater impact on population growth rate than only contraception practices.
  • Regional relationship and life style : While more affluent societies consume for luxury, poorer societies are involved in subsistence activities. They are qualitatively different and need to be treated as such.
  • While countries (regions) should control population? Or, should consumption be controlled to make the greater impact on climate change?
  • Undoubtedly, in a future the emissions of the developing countries would increase with the expansion of the economies. The rate of growth and the cumulative levels of emission will be integrated factoring in historical emission of industrialized countries.
  • It has been proven that development is the best antidote for population growth.