Population Matters Update - April 2016 Part II
 

Population

We have updated our Overshoot Index, showing which countries have an unsustainably high population. We now calculate that 114 countries of the 182 measured are in overshoot: nine more than last year.

We welcome the decision to introduce a national living wage in the UK

We welcome the decision to introduce a national living wage in the UK. This policy, we believe, is consistent with our vision of a more sustainable society with a smaller and more productive workforce.

A two-day conference on the ideas and legacy of Thomas Robert Malthus will take place at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities and Jesus College, Cambridge from 20 – 21 June. Open to the public, the event will include discussion of the relevance of population growth to sustainable development today.

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Society

Improvements to energy efficiency will not be enough to prevent future increases to carbon emissions from the UK, according to our submission to the ECCC Inquiry on 2020 renewable heat and transport targets. The only permanent solution is for the UK government to promote population stabilisation.

Population stabilisation is the only way to prevent an increase in harmful waste generation

Population stabilisation is the only way to prevent an increase in harmful waste generation, according to our briefing. We conclude that, while waste disposal methods have improved, they still have a harmful effect on the environment and society.

The number of older people will increase from 8.5 per cent of the global population today to 17 per cent by 2050, according to a report from the United States Census Bureau. By 2050, global average life expectancy at birth is projected to increase by almost eight years, climbing from 68.6 to 76.2 years.

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Sustainability

Population growth is an important contributor to water scarcity worldwide, according to our briefing. While population growth has led water consumption to increase over the last 100 years, other population-related issues, such as climate change and urbanisation, have led to a decline in the availability of fresh water.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching on record

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching on record, according to the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce. 95 per cent of reefs from Cairns to Papua New Guinea are now severely bleached, as a result of their exposure to rising water temperatures.

UK energy consumption will not be reduced in the long term if population growth continues, according to our briefing. While the UK government should continue to promote renewable energy, it should also consider promoting population stabilisation policies.

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Fertility

The US has launched a global strategy to help girls worldwide complete their secondary education

The US Secretary of State John Kerry has launched the “US Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls”. $40 million will go towards an initiative to help girls worldwide complete their secondary education.

Sexting amongst British under-16s is increasing dramatically, according to the UK Labour Party. The party criticised the Conservative government for failing to provide young people with consistent and well-organised sex education.

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Population Matters Update is edited by Lily Chamberlain.


 

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Nominations are now open for the Jack Parsons Awards for members, and the Population and Sustainability Awareness Award. Nominations close at the end of June.

Active London member Robert Gillespie has had his application for Guarantor membership approved.

Our patron, Sir David Attenborough, remains one of the most popular public figures in Britain, a recent poll confirms. 23 per cent said they would like to meet the naturalist for coffee — second only to Stephen Fry, at 24 per cent.

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