Overpopulation is a problem leading to the climate crisis?
Recently, Prince William of the UK blamed growth in the human population for declining wildlife in Africa. The ‘overpopulation’ argument is often heard on T.V. shows and various personalities are known to have endorsed this. However ‘overpopulation’ is not scientifically responsible for climate change or even a decline in biodiversity. Such arguments that blame certain populations for our environmental problems are called ‘eco-fascist’.
Population growth can indeed affect natural resources unevenly, but the reasons for the loss in biodiversity are rather economic. Let’s face some economic facts now, the global population rise is 1% per year whereas consumption rises at 3%. High consumption, a prime factor for the climate crisis, is more prominent in rich & developed countries with lower populations. A study conducted by Oxfam in 2020 demonstrated that individual carbon emissions in the U.K. are as high as 8.3 tonnes per year, as compared to only 1.68 tonnes in India. The global per capita carbon emission average is 4.7 tonnes per year. This implies that there is no correlation between population growth and carbon emissions or even in the loss of biodiversity, as rich countries with lower populations tend to have contributed more to carbon emissions.