|Issue of the Day: World Temperatures and Population Growth|
Published Friday, December 12th, 2008
As the United Nations climate conference in Poznan, Poland considers how to reduce greenhouse gases, the talk is about setting emissions standards and funding for renewable energy projects. What is not on the table is the consideration that population stabilization. The subject is a definite point of contention between the developed/developing world and differing religious beliefs. The developing world would see the introduction of population as an unfair punishment and the religious objection is the moral concern regarding abortion and birth control. However, “A lot of people say population pressure is a major driving force behind the increase in emissions, and that’s absolutely true,” the U.N.’s top climate official Yvo de Boer said.
The data suggest that the world surface temperature anomalies have been rising since the 1960’s with no negative anomalies since 1977. Proponents of the population stabilization plan point to the world population and anomaly data to illustrate a correlation, but this does not confirm a direct relation. The opponents, barring the religious debate, point to the fact that North America, Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East are the main contributers to the greenhouse gases, not just countries with high populations. Either way, it seems that slowing population growth will factor into climate policies for many countries, even if it does not for multilateral agreements.