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or U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) funds for
population programs could be increased.
Other Benefits and Costs
Slowing population growth may well lead to less stress on the
environment. In reviewing research on population growth and
economic development, a National Research Council (1986) report
concluded that slower population growth is likely to lead to a
reduced rate of degradation of renewable common-property resources
such as air, water, forests, land, and species of plants and
animals. As discussed above, it should also be noted that
population reduction programs may themselves have income
Research and Development
The links between population growth and greenhouse gas emissions
are not fully understood. While some researchers indicate that
increased population growth will result in increased greenhouse gas
emissions, others feel that a reduction in population will result
in increased greenhouse gas emissions as the per capita income of
the population increases. A better understanding of the links among
population growth, economic growth, and greenhouse gas emissions
would aid decision makers in their determination of whether family
planning is a worthwhile policy to pursue with regard to greenhouse
The world population is growing rapidly. If there is not a
significant reduction in fertility rates, the population may reach
14 billion before stabilizing.
The National Research Council (1986) report noted that reducing
fertility would produce at every subsequent point slower population
growth and smaller population size. Both World Bank and U.N.
population projections show that the sooner fertility rates are
reduced, the smaller the world population will be at
The links between population growth and greenhouse emissions are
complex and not well understood. However, at any given rate of
greenhouse gas emissions per capita, a smaller population will mean
less total emissions, as well as less stress on the environment in
general. For example, at any given level of per capita emissions in
2025, the U.N. low population projection would involve 11 percent
less total emissions than the medium projection, and 24 percent
less than the high population projection (Sadik, 1990).