The Climate-Change Solution No One Will Talk About

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Nov 012014
 
Atlantic_Logo  NOV 1 2014, 9:00 AM ET

Studies have shown that improved access to birth control can be a valuable tool in slowing global warming, but many politicians are afraid to broach the subject.

The equation seems fairly simple: The more the world’s population rises, the greater the strain on dwindling resources and the greater the impact on the environment. The solution? Well, that’s a little trickier to talk about. (…)

“We want to achieve agreement on what the climate commitments are from individual countries,” said Alexander Ochs of the Worldwatch Institute. “There’s a new opportunity here, a new approach that takes a bottom-up look at what countries want to bring to the table. … We’re just focused now on getting over the stumbling blocks.”

You can find the full article [here].

Birth Control Could Help the Environment, but Not Quickly

 magazine article  Comments Off on Birth Control Could Help the Environment, but Not Quickly
Oct 302014
 

ScientificAmerican_logo_new October 30, 2014 |By Niina Heikkinen and ClimateWire Family planning could help reduce the pressure human population puts on the planet, but not for decades. This week, a group of researchers promoted a different kind of global approach to addressing climate change: voluntary family planning.(…)

Reducing population growth and lowering fertility will improve communities’ resilience and adaptive capacity in the short term, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the long term, population reductions could reduce the risk of climate impacts, according to the working group. It presented its proposals at a forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., yesterday.

“Far too often in the past, it has been approached as giving up freedom, rather than looking at family planning as creating greater freedom and greater happiness,” said Alexander Ochs, director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Worldwatch Institute.

He described the working group’s promotion of family planning as a “women-centered rights-based approach” that focused on the “urgency and right of determining the timing and spacing of having children.”

Efforts to control fertility improve maternal and child health and welfare, while also conserving natural resources, he added.

You can find the full article [here].

Mapping the future: Why bidding farewell to fossil fuels is in our interest – and how it can be done

 academic article/report  Comments Off on Mapping the future: Why bidding farewell to fossil fuels is in our interest – and how it can be done
Dec 082010
 

Developing efficient, sustainable energy systems based on renewable energy and smart grid technology is not only an environmental necessity: it is a social and economic imperative. We rely on fossil fuels for more than 85 per cent of all energy we use and pay a high price for our dependency, on all fronts. An overhaul of the way we produce, transport, store, and consume energy is underway and an improved energy world is emerging, slowly. Intelligent policies based on concise roadmaps will get us there faster.

cover_ClimateAction_2010People around the world are already suffering from the impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels, melting glaciers, storms, droughts, and floods – these natural processes, artificially intensified by global warming, will affect agriculture, fishing, transportation, and tourism to an ever greater degree. Changing ecosystems and landscapes, biodiversity losses, the surge of tropical diseases, and food and water shortages will lead to economic and welfare losses on an unprecedented scale should climate change remain largely unabated as it is today.

The cost of fossil fuels is unjustifiable

Even if we take climate change, which has been called this century’s greatest challenge, off the table for a moment, transitioning our energy systems is a socioeconomic imperative. For a host of reasons, our reliance on fossil fuels comes at an unjustifiably high cost to our economies. First, the burning of coal and petroleum pollutes our air and water. China, for example, estimates that addressing its pollution and pollution-related health problems swallows up to 10 per cent of its total annual GDP. Imagine if the country could put these huge resources into addressing pressing social needs!

[Please find the full article here. It has been published in UNEP’s Climate Action 2010 book; please find the whole book here.]