Paper on Family Planning and Carbon Emissions

23 November 2015

Research recently commissioned in partnership with Lancaster University has revealed that investing in family planning services is an even more cost-effective way to abate carbon dioxide emissions than previously thought.

Reducing future energy demand by preventing unwanted births and hence lifetimes in developed as well as developing countries is far cheaper — less than US $2 per ton — than any renewable energy alternative. The benefits multiply in perpetuity via each never-existing person’s never-existing descendants. Furthermore, by reducing the sizes of future populations, the same dollar spent has many other benefits: improving food and water security; reducing soil degradation and desertification; helping to prevent civil conflict and mass migration; protecting biodiversity; empowering women; improving health; stimulating economic development; and reducing unemployment and poverty.

In 2014, more than half of women of reproductive age in developing regions wished to avoid pregnancy. However, approximately 25 per cent of these women — about 225 million — were not using effective contraceptive methods. Those not doing so account for approximately 81 per cent of all unintended pregnancies in developing regions. A respected analysis has shown that fully meeting the global need for modern contraceptive services would cost only about $9.4 billion.

Population Matters Chair Roger Martin said, “Government has been reluctant to consider population size and growth as relevant to energy demand. This study should make them think — not least because the potential cost savings to the taxpayer are enormous. Family planning is a highly cost-effective complement to — not a substitute for — the conventional United Nations approach and if they are serious about climate change it would be irresponsible to ignore it.”

Related posts:

  1. UK to host family planning summit in July 2012 
  2. 222m women have unmet need for family planning 
  3. Carbon offset scheme funds family planning projects 
  4. EU population growth driving carbon emissions 
  5. Unique Carbon Offsets Scheme Helps Africans Put Their Case 
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