arrow for change – in search of climate justice: refuting dubious linkages, affirming rights


Fifteen years ago, at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), a global movement of feminists and their allies successfully debunked population control as a legitimate development strategy. That victory is being challenged today, as advocates for population control seek to regain ground—and capture new resources—by taking advantage of international concern about climate change. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, for example, Optimal Population Trust claimed “Contraceptives are the greenest technology!” President Zhou promoted the environmental benefits of China’s draconian family planning policy—400 million fewer births results in 18 million fewer tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a year. Some environmental activists argue that humans act as climate changers and suggest that population stabilisation policies are more politically feasible and cost-effective than other ways to reduce carbon emissions. Although the UN refused to link issues of population and climate change in the Copenhagen Accord, “the insidious message of population control gained new currency.

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Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre