Population and climate change: Consensus and dissensus among demographers

Hendrik Peter van Dalen, C.J.I.M. Henkens

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What role does population play in thinking about the problem of climate change and some of its solutions? In a survey conducted between February and April 2020, we asked European demographers to state their views on the relationship between climate change and population developments, and asked them to rate their concern about climate change and other socio-demographic issues. We found that climate change is at the top of the list of demographers’ concerns, but that their sense of urgency with respect to taking action to redress global warming is not matched by their belief that population policy can make a crucial difference in reducing CO2 emissions: demographers are highly divided on the question whether the global population size should be reduced to lower CO2 emissions, as well as on the question whether family planning is an effective policy instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551–567
JournalEuropean Journal of Population
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2021


  • Climate change
  • Population
  • Family planning
  • Population policy
  • Demography


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