Consumers, rather than people per se, drive climate change, finds a study.
Models of future climate scenarios have taken insufficient account of population patterns and trends, according to a University College London review to be published in the print edition of The Lancet in November 2013. The review, “Population, development, and climate change, links and effects on human health”, examines the interconnections between population growth and climate change, from the perspective of global health.
The authors found that while population growth is an important factor, it is consumers, rather than people per se, who drive climate change. Reducing consumption thus represents the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions. This can have substantial health co-benefits, and consideration of human health should therefore be integral to future plans for tackling climate change.
Professor Judith Stephenson, UCL’s Institute for Women’s Health, says: “Disruption of the environment and climate system caused by unprecedented human activity since the industrial revolution confronts us with an urgent and complex problem that requires reduction in growth of both consumption and population for a sustainable world.”
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