How contraception could improve human welfare, the environment and the climate

A commentary from US scientists entitled Climate Change and Contraception is a timely reminder of how research in reproduction could have wide-ranging implications for our planet and for our ability to tackle climate change.

The article, published in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, highlights the urgent need for other approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and one approach that has been “largely overlooked by the international climate community” is contraception.

Because population growth is a key driver of climate change, the authors argue that improving universal access to contraception in both men and women would reduce millions of unintended pregnancies and births, increase the ability of couples to plan their families and slow population growth. And slower population growth in the future could lead to significant reductions in global emissions.

To achieve this, the authors argue that there needs to be more investment in family planning programmes in developing countries, wider distribution of contraceptives already on the market, and more research and development of improved and/or novel contraceptives in both men and women.

The authors conclude that improved access to contraception worldwide “would have a profound positive impact on human welfare, the climate and the environment”.

Read the commentary here