Public understanding, conflict and power in the population and sustainability nexus – JP&S Editorial

| February 9, 2024 | Leave a Comment

Girls in school, Pakistan

Item Link: Access the Resource

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Date of Publication: January 17

Year of Publication: 2024

Publication City: Winwick, UK

Publisher: White Horse Press

Author(s): David Samways

Journal: The Journal of Population and Sustainability

Volume: 8 (1)

Pages: 5-12.

As I write this editorial, COP28 has just concluded. Hosted by the UAE and presided over by the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, this COP has rightly been regarded with greater skepticism by environmentalists than many previous to it, yet, astonishingly, it is the first to officially recognise the burning of fossil fuels as the (proximate) cause of the climate crisis. Amongst other items in the final communique was the pledge of an extra $400 million to assist vulnerable countries with the effects of climate change. Whilst bringing the total in the ‘loss and damage’ fund to $700 million, this represents only a tiny fraction of the estimated $400 billion needed (Richards et al. 2023) and somewhat shamefully amounts to only ten percent of the cost of building the COP28 venue in Dubai.

While the level of consumption, especially of the most affluent, is cited as the most significant factor in the generation of the environmental crisis (Steffen et al. 2015), population growth is universally acknowledged in the scientific literature as a significant indirect driver of present and future trends1 (Brondízio et al., 2019; Almond et al. 2022; IPCC, 2022). Importantly, the majority of future population growth will take place in the least affluent countries, many of which have the lowest carbon footprints but are also the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Lowering the rate of population growth in these emerging economies will have multiple benefits for human welfare and for the environment (including longer-term carbon emissions).

Read David Samway’s full introduction editorial here or download it from the link above.

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