Table of Contents
Climate change is a growing issue that is mostly built up by the human generated greenhouse gases within the atmosphere. It is one of the most alarming and greatest threat to biodiversity and ecology of the planet that the world is about to face. The awareness about the detrimental effects of climate change has been recognized worldwide and people are trying to address the problem through the means of lesser consumption and adopting effective technology. The aim of the current study is to identify if population growth affects the climate change.
The climate change issue has been evidently taken place mainly due to the historical built-up of the industry generated greenhouse gases. The consequences of climate change have also been observable by the world population already. For instance, floods, extreme weather, droughts, and the decline in the agricultural production can be considered as the effects of climate change.
The studies regarding the human contribution to the climate change, more focus has been given upon the carbon emission by an individual throughout his or her lifetime. As mentioned by Cheeseman (2016), the carbon emission by an individual is required to be focused on in order to understand the whole population’s contribution to climate change. However, the recent studies are facing challenge due to the growing population growth and increased consumption of the natural resources available to the world population. It has been identified that the consumption pattern is highly correlated with the size of the carbon legacy. Integrating findings of the several studies demonstrated that a child born in United States is likely to emit carbon seven times more than a child born in China. It is 168 times higher in case of a child born in Bangladesh (biologicaldiversity.org, 2020).
There are 300 million inhabitants in US that emit the carbon more than double that of the Europe and the consumption of the natural resources on per individual basis are much higher. Therefore, in simpler words with the increase of the world population more demand arises regarding fuel, such as oil, gas, coal and others that are mined from the ground’s surface. There fuels are also burned which emit high amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causing trapping warm air like the greenhouses. During the course of 20th century, the human population of United Nations have increased to 6.1 million from 1.6 million. During this time the greenhouse gas emission has increased 12-fold. Researchers like Rypkema et al. (2019) also found that the population growth is stagnant in most of the developed nations as compared to the rapid industrializing developing nations. It has been estimated that the developing countries such as China, India and Bangladesh’s contribution to the global CO2 emission will be the highest. The three elements including global warming, population and pattern of consumption are inextricably associated with each others. The population growth rates and the size of the population is highly important in predicting the impacts of global warming.
As mentioned by Lutz (2017), there is a growing concern of the environmentalists about the capacity of the earth to unleash its effects on the ecosystem and the ability to withstand the extra load of greenhouse gases. In the current times the main challenge in front of the world population is to curtail the growth of climate change issues and to slow down the growth rate of the population. Other challenges that the world population is facing are stabilizing the tables of water, reversing the deforestation of earth, protecting the biodiversity, and others.
Most of the researchers and health practitioners pointed out towards the fact that developing countries are much more unlikely to focus on the health of women and children due to which the issue of population growth is taking place. Lack of education among the women and family planning led the issue to arise. However, Huang et al. (2016) finds that the developed countries are more responsible for the climate change and the main issue is not the growth of the population; rather it depends on the consumption pattern. As the developing countries are consuming in more uncontrollable way per capita consumption exceeds the consumption of the people in developing countries. Population growth is also responsible for the earth’s inability to withstand the climate change and absorb the emissions.
With the growth of the population, rapid industrialization and urbanization is taking place. This requires deforestation. Deforestation is also performed as lands are required to be used for the agricultural purposes that are essential to feed growing human population. There are two significant factors that are variably responsible for the climate change that relates to the population growth. One is these scenarios include fertility and mortality. In the field of population ethics it is highly concerned matter that the continuous dominant utilitarian position was to increase the health and wellbeing of the world population. This has improved the health condition of the world population that is responsible for growing number of humans. However, with the enhanced technological efficiency the fertility rate has also increased, which also contributes to the increased population of the world (Crist et al. 2017). It can be stated that the developing and non-developing countries both have implemented an increased focus on the health and wellbeing of the country population through making advancement in the medical infrastructure.
There are some demographic trends that are increasingly concerning the environmentalists. This includes urbanizations at the coastal locations and trespassing of the population to the marginal areas of the country. These marginal areas include shades of hills, degraded lands that increase the risks of climate change. The surveys conducted on governmental levels at the least developed countries indicated that population growth as the fact that aggravates vulnerability of climate change. Population Action International’s study indicates that there are 26 population and climate change hotspots (Pai.org 2020). It has also been included in the report that one of the four married women is not using modern family planning. The countries are facing difficulties in building resilience as there is a lack of education regarding the growth.
According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the projections of higher population growth have been observed to be resulting in more emission of the greenhouse gases. There are four family group identified by IPCC such as A1, A2, B1 and B2. Each of these family patterns provides different predictions about the growth of the economy, growth in technology and growth in population (environment.gov.au, 2020). The population growth assumption leaves the environmentalists in highly concerned about the future impacts of the climate change upon the world population. These assumptions range between 7.1 million to 15 million growths in the population in the year 2100. It has also been predicted that even in the low population growth scenario, technological change and carbon-intensive economic growth may result in high emission. Godber and Wall (2016) mentioned that comparatively low population growth has the potential to reduce the carbon emission. For instance, the consumption of the fossil fuel will reduce 1.4 to 2.5 billion tons with a slower population growth. It is also predicted that the most possible way to reduce the population growth is to declining fertility rate in the nations like United States and developing countries like China and India (populationmatters.org, 2018).
With the growth of the population the requirement for employment and living has grown, thus the increased number of industries that is highly contributing to the greenhouse gas emission. A number of mitigation strategies have also been provided by different researchers. One of the major concerns of the countries is needed to be reaching the needs of the women in the family planning process that will also contribute to the slow population growth. The most feasible way to cope with the issues of climate change is reducing the increased growth of the emissions of the greenhouse gases. Another major way to deal with the climate change is to reduce the consumption rate. It has been observed from the current study that the consumption rate of the natural resources such as fuels including gas, oil and coal is tremendously highly in the most developed countries than the developing countries. It indicates that these countries are required to strategically reduce the consumption rate through which the issues like climate change can be mitigated.
It can be concluded from the current study that the climate change is provided high importance by the contemporary researchers and environmentalists as it is affecting the living of the world population. The major reason found working behind the climate change is population growth. Both the developed countries and the developing countries have been found to be responsible for the uncontrolled population growth. Uncontrolled consumption of the growing population has also been found to be the reason behind the climate change. On the other hand, the rapid industrialization for supporting the population growth has been observed to contribute also to the climate change.
biologicaldiversity.org, 2020, Human Population Growth and Climate Change (2020). Available at: https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/climate/ (Accessed: 8 June 2020).
Cheeseman, J., 2016. Food security in the face of salinity, drought, climate change, and population growth. In Halophytes for food security in dry lands (pp. 111-123). Academic Press.
Crist, E., Mora, C. and Engelman, R., 2017. The interaction of human population, food production, and biodiversity protection. Science, 356(6335), pp.260-264.
environment.gov.au, 2020, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/climate-change/climate-science-data/climate-science/ipcc (Accessed: 8 June 2020).
Godber, O.F. and Wall, R., 2016. Mediterranean goat production systems: vulnerability to population growth and climate change. Mediterranean Journal of Biosciences, 1, pp.160-168.
Huang, J., Yu, H., Guan, X., Wang, G. and Guo, R., 2016. Accelerated dryland expansion under climate change. Nature Climate Change, 6(2), pp.166-171.
Lutz. W., (2017) Global Sustainable Development priorities 500 y after Luther: Sola schola et sanitate. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:6904–6913.
Pai.org 2020, Why Population Matters to Climate Change. Available at: https://pai.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/PAI-1293-Climate-Change_compressed.pdf (Accessed: 8 June 2020).
populationmatters.org, 2018 Climate change. Available at: https://populationmatters.org/the-facts/climate-change (Accessed: 8 June 2020).
Rypkema, D.C., Horvitz, C.C. and Tuljapurkar, S., 2019. How climate affects extreme events and hence ecological population models. Ecology, 100(6), p.e02684.
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