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Contraceptives Could Fight Climate Change

September 18, 2009

Family planning experts claim that contraceptives in developing nations could be a crucial line of defense against the impacts of climate change.

Writing in The Lancet medical journal, experts said that about 200 million worldwide would use contraceptives if they had access to them. Additionally, the use of contraceptives in these women could result in a reduction of unintended pregnancies by as much as 76 million each year.

“We are certainly not advocating that governments should start telling people how many children they can have,” lead researcher Leo Bryant told Reuters.

“The ability to choose your family size…is a fundamental human right. But lack of access to family planning means millions of people in developing countries don’t have that right,” he added.

The Lancet editorial said that a reduction of unintended pregnancies would result in less environmental stresses from overpopulation.

“There is now an emerging debate and interest about the links between population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and climate change,” experts wrote in the editorial.

The world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, with more than 90 percent coming from poorer, developing nations, according to the Associated Press.

“Countries in the developing world least responsible for the growing emissions are likely to experience the heaviest impact of climate change, with women bearing the greatest toll,” editors wrote.

“In tandem with other factors, rapid population growth in these regions increases the scale of vulnerability to the consequences of climate change, for example, food and water scarcity, environmental degradation, and human displacement.”

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