linking climate change to poor women in the developing world

They do not drive SUVs. Some have never even seen a light bulb. But according to research one of the most effective ways of preventing climate change is to ensure that poor women in the developing world do not have a lot of children.

Because of their advertised positive impact, I used to be a proponent of population control family planning programs in the developing world. And then I saw the data and changed my mind. Reducing the number of people being born in the developing world will not reduce the effects of climate change. What needs to happen is a change in consumption habits in the West and among the upper classes in the developing world. The poor too need to stop cutting down trees for charcoal. But we should not push them into having less children and make it a climate change issue. They are not responsible. Those responsible should change their consumption habits and perhaps invest in providing alternatives to charcoal for the poor.

2 thoughts on “linking climate change to poor women in the developing world

  1. Their research question is what is the best way to use $1 million. I don’t think you can accomplish the things you mention with $1 million, so it is more about marginal impact than the best way to reduce climate change period.

    So you are now not an advocate for family planning and girl’s education – even though it would also improve welfare – just because it also has a large marginal impact on climate change and supposedly lets western countries off the hook?


  2. No. I am not against girls’ education and the empowerment of women to enable them decide how many kids they want to have.

    What I am against is the family planning drive being used as a policy tool against climate change. You may say that this is just part of the solution but the problem is if it catches on it is ALL that is ever gonna be done – because of limited funds, people’s obsession with measurable short termist goals, and general ADD among policy makers.


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