Population and climate change


PSN’s Population and Climate Change programme undertakes research and international advocacy to increase awareness of the complex yet critical links between population dynamics and climate change, and to promote the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights as a strategy for increasing resilience to climate change.

Credit: Brian R Jeffery via Flickr

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded, with 95% certainty, that humans are the primary cause of climate change, which has been largely driven by the consumption of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions of rich, industrialised countries.

Yet it is the world’s poorest countries, which have contributed least to climate change, that are the most vulnerable to its effects. Developing countries face the challenges of adapting to the effects of climate change and minimising its impacts,  at the same time as needing to provide for and lift growing numbers of people out of poverty.

Evidence is also increasing of the significance of population growth and other population dynamics for climate change mitigation. This points to the opportunities that exist to advance both climate change adaptation and mitigation by increasing access to family planning programmes that respect and protect human rights. PSN is working to advance this approach within climate change discourse and policy.

Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA)

PSN is the Secretariat of the Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA), formerly known as the Population and Climate Change Alliance (PCCA).

The alliance members first came together as the PCCA, to work together to influence the climate change agenda, in particular around the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit. More recently the PCCA has been renamed the Population and Sustainable Development Alliance (PSDA) and continues to promote increased understanding of the links between population, reproductive health and sustainable development issues, including climate change.

Population and Climate Change Symposium

In March 2010, PSN together with the Commonwealth Medical Trust, the Africa office of Partners in Development and the British Medical Association convened an International Population and Climate Change Symposium and Ministerial Dialogue on the connection between population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights and climate change.

The symposium brought together policy makers and activists from the UK and Africa and culminated in a report and advocacy toolkit for advancing the integration of population dynamics into climate change policies and programmes.

Research and publication highlights