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The problem of population

Does the world have too many people, and should reducing the population, over time, be considered one of the means by which greenhouse gas emissions are brought down?

It is a reasonable discussion to have once everyone is in the same boat; children per woman is at its highest in Niger, at 6.4, but the carbon footprint of each person is 0.09 tonnes per year. In the US, the comparable figures are 1.77 (3.6 times lower) and 16.06 (178.4 time higher). Combining these figures, we find that to effect the same emissions reduction requires one person from the US or 49.36 people from Niger.

It is not only the number of people that is critical, but what each of us demands of the planet; the demand made by people in developed countries is unsustainable, and would remain so even if the world's population were reduced by the poorest 50%; they are responsible for 14% of emissions, half that of the top 1%.

The World Bank emphasises the financial cost of not educating girls, to the state and the individual:On average, women with secondary school education earn almost twice as much as those with no education at all.

But there are many benefits to supporting girls and women including the elimination of child marriages, better health and well-being, greater agency and opportunities, and a reduction in fertility rates. A study for the BBC by the Royal Geographical Society found that the world population could be reduced by 843 million people through improving women's education, and funding family planning.