Medical Journal Indicates Birth Control Access Could Impact Climate Change

The Lancet, a British Medical Journal, published an editorial last week that indicates increased access to birth control could slow population growth, thereby hampering climate change. More than 200 million women want, but do not have, access to modern contraceptives, resulting in 76 million unplanned pregnancies annually. “Meeting this unmet need” for birth control would “thereby [reduce] demographic pressure on the environment,” according to the article.

Leo Bryant, who wrote the editorial and led a World Health Organization study on the relationship between population growth and climate change told Reuters, “we are certainly not advocating that governments should start telling people how many children they can have…The ability to choose your family size…is a fundamental human right. But lack of access to family planning means millions of people in developing countries don’t have that right.”

According to the Digital Journal, the earth’s current population (about 7 billion) requires about 1.3 “earths” to sustain it and that by 2035, about 2 “earths” will be required to sustain the population. Estimates indicate the world population will reach 9 billion by 2050 and that more than 90 percent of this growth will come from developing nations, reported the Associated Press.


The Lancet 9/19/09; Reuters 9/18/09; Digital Journal 9/18/09; Associated Press 9/18/09

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