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Population and climate change: moving toward gender equality is the key.

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Relevance to three pillars:
Human, Societal and Developmental aspects of Climate Change Y
Adaptation to impacts of Climate Change N
Equitable Low-Carbon Development Y


Stott gives an overview of the climate crisis with a perspective on what health professionals can contribute individually, as members of society and as a wider body. In combatting climate change it is important to remember the impacts faced by the poorest and most vulnerable (especially women) and consider measures which will be the most empowering and transformative.


Even if climate change were not an issue, a human rights approach
to development would demand a move to gender equality, with unprejudiced access to education and family planning, and equal representation in decision-making at all levels. With such conditions in place , as has been observed in more affluent countries, population tends to fall. The positive health effects of carbon mitigation and resource transfer can be considered as a ‘positive prism’ through which to view action upon climate change.


The article proposes a massive transfer of resources to disadvantaged people while the wealthy reduce their carbon emissions, which will deliver considerable health benefits for the poor. Key to this approach is the human-rights-based perspective upon women’s access to education and family planning. The Contraction and Convergence model as approved by the Climate and Health Council offers an example of a global framework which could meet these criteria.


The author suggest health professionals have a key role to play in informing professionals and the public, and in showing an example by leading low-carbon lives themselves. Networking can add to the numbers of health professionals on board with the message; health institutions can adopt low-carbon policies.

The most pressing priority is to advocate for a global framework to cap the aggregate emissions of carbon in a way which ensures transfer of resources to the developing world.
Directions for future policy:
An emissions reduction framework must:
· Consist of a globally-binding commitment to reduce emissions within 10 years to an agreed ‘safe’ limit informed by climate science.
· Contains a mechanism to transfer resources to the poorest countries. This should build in gender equality as a means of ensuring women have access to family planning and decision-making to encourage a stable population.
· Encourage everyone despite their location and circumstance s to make low-carbon choices as part of sustainable development.