Why Population Matters to Climate Change

Links between Population and Climate Change Adaptation

Demographic trends have an important connection to both the challenges and solutions to the problem of climate change. Rapid population growth exacerbates vulnerability to the negative consequences of climate change, and exposes growing numbers of people to climate risk. Population growth is also one of the drivers of the growth in greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Meeting people’s needs for family planning and reproductive health builds resilience to climate change impacts. Meeting family planning needs will also stem population growth, easing challenges associated with adapting to climate change impacts and reducing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.

Decision makers engaged in crafting climate change policy responses at local, national, and international levels should assess population trends and their interactions with efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Global institutions that support and promote climate change adaptation and low carbon development strategies can be strengthened through the inclusion of population factors in determining priorities for investment; likewise, national climate and development plans will be stronger when population trends are taken into consideration. Efforts to expand access to family planning and promote gender equity can be integrated into broader strategies and community-based activities that contribute to low-carbon and climate-resilient development, and can make a significant contribution toward climate change goals.