On June 6, 2021, the global population was 7,882,706,000 or close to 8 billion people. Without further action to limit population growth, the United Nations predicts there will be 8.5 billion people in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100. The rate of increase is, however, slowing and is projected to cease to grow by the end of the century.

Carbon emissions increase significantly with every additional person on earth — the rich more than the poor — and increases the number of climate change victims – the poor more than the rich.

There is clearly a direct correlation between population and climate change.

In the fight against climate change, Project Drawdown ranks family planning as solution number 7. More than 10,000 scientists concur, signing, in 2019, the Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency, in which they explicitly call for, among other things, “bold and drastic transformations” regarding economic and population policies, including making family planning services available to all. 

Speaking for more than 150 organizations, Dr. Jane Goodall, added her voice to the call for family planning, as she advocated for smaller families in the summer of 2019.


The Alternative, Optimistic Story of Population Decline

By Wang Feng 01/30/23
The shoe has dropped. The big one. China, the most populous country on the planet for centuries, this month reported its first population decline in six decades, a trend that is almost certainly irreversible. By…
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Should you not have kids because of climate change? It’s complicated.

By Shannon Osaka 12/02/22
Some researchers have claimed the best thing to do for the environment is to have fewer children. The truth is more complicated.
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Earth now has 8 billion humans. This man wishes there were none.

By Cara Buckley 11/23/22
A nonprofit backed by Al Gore and other big environmental donors says it can track emissions down to individual power plants, oil fields and cargo ships.
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The population question

By Somini Sengupta 11/18/22
There are now 8 billion of us. How does that affect our ability to live within planetary boundaries — and to stave off the worst climate hazards? Actually, what matters most is not how many…
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Elon Musk thinks the population will collapse. Demographers say it’s not happening

By Jen Christensen 08/30/22
Billionaire Elon Musk tweeted, not for the first time, that "population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming." Climate change is a serious problem facing the…
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The amazing ‘spike maps’ that will change the way you see Earth

By Christopher Carbone 08/01/22
Eye-opening population density spike maps have revealed the true scale of how jam-packed America's coastal areas are compared to its interior - and the staggering detail that New York City's five boroughs could hold all…
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World population will reach 8 billion by November, U.N. says

By Derek Saul 07/11/22
The world population will surpass eight billion people on November 15, according to projections from a United Nations report released Monday – though population growth is at its lowest level in decades.
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Why American Women Everywhere Are Delaying Motherhood

By Sabrina Tavernise 06/16/21
Luz Portillo, the oldest daughter of Mexican immigrants, has many plans. She is studying to be a skin care expert. She has also applied to nursing school. She works full time, too — as a…
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Op-Ed: The complex link between population decline and a warming planet

By Jade S. Sasser 06/07/21
It’s time to stop blaming overpopulation for our environmental woes and start looking at the factors that really matter — resource consumption and toxic exposure as population growth and fertility rates show downward trends. U.S.…
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An unexpected side effect of climate change? More stillbirths

By Matthew Rozsa 05/25/21
Climate change is perhaps the greatest existential threat that humanity has ever faced — and as environmental research accumulates, we keep discovering unexpected side effects of making industrial civilization reliant on fossil fuels. The latest…
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It’s wrong to blame ‘overpopulation’ for climate change

By Sarah Kaplan 05/25/21
When the Census Bureau released data recently showing that the United States population is growing at its slowest rate in almost a century, an old question reappeared in environmental reporters’ inboxes: Do we need a…
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Should We Worry About Population Decline?

By Robert Kunzig 05/25/21
Which are you more worried about, population growth or population decline? Or do you prefer to freak out about both at the same time? The recent Census Bureau report that the U.S. population grew in…
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A Planet of 3 Billion

Tucker makes the case that the Earth’s 'carrying capacity' is limited to 3 billion humans, and that humanity’s century long binge has incurred an unsustainable ecological debt that must be paid down promptly, or else…

Population Matters

Our vision is of a future with a good quality of life for all, a healthy and biodiverse environment, and a stable and sustainable population size.

Human Population Growth and Climate Change

The largest single threat to the ecology and biodiversity of the planet in the decades to come will be global climate disruption due to the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. People around…


The Overpopulation Podcast: The political hazards of discussing overpopulation

Bernie Sanders was asked about human overpopulation. How did he handle it? And how was that reported by the media and received by the public? The Overpopulation Podcast team offers observations and analysis....
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For Caribbean nations, climate change means shrinking populations

By Kenya Evelyn   12/22/19  
Vieques, the small island community off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, looks much the way it did before Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc in September 2017. Business is booming at the bar and…
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Educating Girls Would Save 59.6 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Educating girls leads to economic growth, and also to lower population rates, since educated women will not only have healthier babies, but fewer of them.
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Critics blast a proposal to curb climate change by halting population growth

By James Temple   11/05/19  
More than 11,000 scientists signed a paper arguing the world needs to stabilize or gradually reduce the global population.
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This Controversial Way to Combat Climate Change Might Be the Most Effective

By Michael Shank   10/29/19  
What's less frequently discussed when it comes to personal contributions people can make, is also one of the most effective actions on the climate front: a smaller family size.
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Is population control the answer to fixing climate change?

By Nicole Mortillaro   10/29/19  
The argument some people present is that if there were fewer people on Earth, greenhouse gases would be reduced and climate change could be averted. But experts say population control isn't the panacea some might…
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For many reporters covering climate, population remains the elephant in the room

By Wudan Yan   09/18/19  
“If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?” In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea…
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Bernie Sanders in climate change ‘population control’ uproar

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been criticised after arguing population control should be part of tackling climate change.
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We’ve worried about overpopulation for centuries. And we’ve always been wrong.

By Kelsey Piper   08/20/19  
For nearly all of human history, there haven’t been that many of us. Around the year zero, Earth’s population is estimated to have been 190 million. A thousand years later, it was probably around 250…
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Joe Sandler Clarke: Does overpopulation cause climate change?

By Joe Sandler Clarke   08/14/19  
"What we need to remind everybody is: these are things that are happening now," Prince Harry told ethologist Dr Jane Goodall in a recent interview in British Vogue. "We are already living in it. We…
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Population growth ‘a threat to planetary health’

When Dr Jane Goodall began studying chimpanzees in Gombe National Park in 1960, it was part of a forest belt stretching from western East Africa to the west African coast, across equatorial Africa...
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World Population Day: Fastest-growing countries; Guinea, Chad, Mali

By Elzy Kolb   07/10/19  
World Population Day, July 11, is just around the corner. It was established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program to turn our focus to population issues....
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BirthStrike: The people refusing to have kids, because of ‘the ecological crisis’

By Stephanie Bailey   06/26/19  
A movement of women have decided not to procreate in response to the coming ‘climate breakdown and civilisation collapse’. Will their protest be a catalyst for change?...
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BirthStrikers: Meet the women who refuse to have children until climate change ends

By Elle Hunt   03/13/19  
A movement of women have decided not to procreate in response to the coming ‘climate breakdown and civilisation collapse’. Will their protest be a catalyst for change?...
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Climate change and population growth are making the world’s water woes more urgent

As it scours the universe for signs of extraterrestrial life, nasa has a motto-cum-mission-statement: “Follow the water”. About 70% of the human body is made up of water, it says, and 70% of Earth’s surface…
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Family size grows when girls’ education withers

Fertility rates in some African nations fell less quickly when fewer girls finished primary school.
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Katharine Wilkinson: How empowering women and girls can help stop global warming

By Katharine Wilkinson   11/01/18  
If we really want to address climate change, we need to make gender equity a reality, says writer and environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson.
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Population Control Is the Climate Change Fix Nobody Wants to Talk About

By Yasmin Tayag   08/31/18  
The greatest driver of climate change is greenhouse gas emissions, which the Science Forum authors, which include renowned demographer John Bongaarts, Ph.D., of the Population Center and Brian C. O’Neil, Ph.D., of the National Center…
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To Stop Climate Change, Educate Girls and Give them Birth Control

By Robin George Andrews   02/18/18  
Opinion: When women aren’t educated or empowered to make their own family planning decisions, the effects can lead to higher carbon emissions.
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Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children

By Damian Carrington   07/12/17  
The greatest impact individuals can have in fighting climate change is to have one fewer child, according to a new study that identifies the most effective ways people can cut their carbon emissions.
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The Urban Fix: Resilient Cities in the War Against Climate Change, Heat Islands and Overpopulation (2019)⭐

By Douglas Kelbaugh   11/13/19  
Cities are one of the most significant contributors to global climate change. The rapid speed at which urban centers use large amounts of resources adds to the global crisis and can lead to extreme local…
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World’s population could swell to 10.9 billion by 2100, U.N. report finds

By Patrick Barkham   06/17/19  
The growth will increase humanity’s footprint on the planet, which could exacerbate hunger, poverty and climate change, experts say.
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