Spotlight

From: Tori Whitley, NPR
Published July 19, 2017 07:01 PM

Want To Slow Global Warming? Researchers Look To Family Planning

We've all heard of ways to reduce our carbon footprint: biking to work, eating less meat, recycling.

But there's another way to help the climate. A recent study from Lund University in Sweden shows that the biggest way to reduce climate change is to have fewer children.

"I knew this was a sensitive topic to bring up," says study co-author Kimberly Nicholas on NPR's Morning Edition. "Certainly it's not my place as a scientist to dictate choices for other people. But I do think it is my place to do the analysis and report it fairly."

The study concludes that four high-impact ways to reduce CO2 gas emissions include having fewer children, living without a car, avoiding airplane travel and eating a vegetarian diet.

By the numbers, any of these lifestyle changes drastically reduces carbon emissions compared to more common practices like recycling, using energy-efficient light bulbs and line-drying clothes.

  • having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 metric ton CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year;
  • living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year);
  • avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per round trip trans-Atlantic flight); and
  • eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year).

 

Continue reading at NPR.

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