photo: Courtney Walker via flickr
A new report coming from Optimum Population Trust and carried out by the prestigious London School of Economics says that expanding access to family planning and contraception is about five times less expensive than low-carbon technology in combatting climate change. Here's the gist of the Fewer Emitters, Lower Emissions, Less Cost report:Before anyone gets their proverbial underwear in a bunch, the report specifically says that they are talking about non-coercive methods of reducing population here. That said, let's continue.
Family Planning = $7/ton -
The report concludes that when taken purely as a method of reducing carbon emissions, family planning is far more cost-effective than the current leading low-carbon technologies.
Between 2010 and 2050 each $7 spent on basic family planning can reduce emissions more than a ton; to achieve that same level of reduction using low-carbon tech would on average cost $32 per ton.
For more specific comparison, wind power would cost $24/ton, solar $51/ton, carbon capture and storage $57-83/ton.
In total, expanding access to basic family planning throughout the globe would save 34 gigatons of carbon emissions over the next 40 years, the report concluded.
We Must Break the Taboo About Discussing Population
On the significance of these findings, OPT's chairman Roger Martin said:
It's always been obvious that total emissions depend on the number of emitters as well as their individual emissions ... The taboo on mentioning this fact has made the whole climate change debate so far somewhat unreal. Stabilising population levels has always been essential ecologically, and this study shows it's economically sensible too.
Population Growth Must Be Discussed Alongside Climate Change
Saying that this part of combatting climate change is "so easy, so cheap" and would make addressing all the other environmental problems we face so much easier -- not to mention bringing many other social/economic benefits in areas such as health, education and empowerment of women -- Martin concluded, "The population issue must now be added into the negotiations for the Copenhagen climate change summit in December."
Since this report from OPT is obviously going cause a stir, here's the original: Fewer Emitters, Lower Emissions, Less Cost
The Best Way You Can Go Green: Have Fewer Children
Less Sex, More TV Solution to India's Overpopulation
Brits Break Silence on Population-Climate Links