According to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute, better access to birth control should be one of the key strategies in the fight against global warming. By 2050 it’s estimated that world population will reach 9 billion. The Worldwatch Institute report cites evidence that better family planning could help level off the world’s population at 8 billion by 2050. If world population did level off at 8 billion, the Worldwatch Institute notes that it would reduce CO2 emissions by more than the reduction that would occur if global deforestation were completely eliminated. Studies show that as the prevalence of birth control use has grown in recent decades, family size and population growth rates have also slowed, so there’s evidence to back up Worldwatch Institute’s assessment.
Report author Robert Engelman notes, “Increasing women’s reproductive rights should be at the heart of the climate discussion, in the same basket as strategies like increasing energy efficiency and researching new technologies.” Of course the report dives into the popular population argument – that the world will need to slow population growth in order to truly fight the effects of global warming. On one hand, contraceptive rights, such as better access to birth control, should be priority. On the other hand, this access to birth control argument feels a little bit like a population control argument agenda – a way to make women, or anyone who wants kids, more responsible for a pressing environmental issue than other people.
I’ve run into population control folks before and they tend to harp on me for having a child and thus contributing to global warming. It’s not always a fair fight because I don’t excessively harp on meat eating, big car owning, stuff having people who don’t have kids and they’re responsible for global warming just as much as I am. I’m all for slowing global warming and better access to birth control. Let’s just hope the argument stays focused on this, because placing more guilt on people who want to be parents, is a little annoying.
To obtain a full copy of the report, email [email protected]