SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — The world is getting hotter and more crowded and the two issues are connected, but not quite as much as people might think, experts say.
On Tuesday somewhere a baby will be born that will be the globe’s 8 billionth person, according to a projection by the United Nations and other experts. The Earth has warmed almost 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the world hit the 4 billion mark in 1974.
Climate and population is a touchy subject for scientists and officials.
While more people consuming energy, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels, is warming the planet, the key issue isn’t the number of people as much as how a small fraction of those people are causing way more than their share of carbon pollution, several climate and population experts told The Associated Press.
“We do have a population problem and we do have a population issue,” said Vanessa Perez-Cicera, director of the Global Economics Center at the World Resources Institute. “But I think most importantly, we have an overconsumption issue.”
And because of that the 8 billionth child born will “not have what we had ... because there’s not enough resources,” she said.
Kenya, which is suffering through a devastating drought, has 55 million people, about 95 times more than the population of Wyoming. But Wyoming emits 3.7 times the carbon dioxide as Kenya. Africa as whole has 16.7% of the world’s population but historically emits only 3% of the global carbon pollution, while the United States has 4.5% of the planet’s people but since 1959 has put out 21.5% of the heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
The average Canadian, Saudi and Australian put out more than 10 times the carbon dioxide into the air though their daily living than the average Pakistani, where one-third of...