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Curbing Population, Cooling the Planet

"Nearly half-a-century has passed since the American biologist Paul Ehrlich wrote his controversial manifesto, The Population Bomb, decrying the environmental and human catastrophe that awaited us if we failed to rein in population growth. That was in 1968, when 3.5 billion people inhabited the earth. Since then our numbers have doubled to more than 7.4 billion. The United Nations projects that we'll reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100.

"Some argue that we've managed to avert utter environmental disaster thus far, so why not continue to be fruitful and multiply without fear of future apocalypse? The best answer lies in two words: climate change."

That's how I open the article that appeared in today's Cognoscenti, Boston Public Radio WBUR's online thought forum. I argue that consumption patterns and fuel choice matter, but so does population growth -- the multiplier that we've managed to forget as we careen toward climate chaos. "It's time to make well-informed reproductive choice a central part of our climate change agenda," I conclude. Here's a link to the article, "7.4 Billion and Counting: Could Curbing World Population Help Cool the Planet?"