Re: World ‘population bomb’ may never go off as feared, finds study

Written by Olivia Nater | Published: March 28, 2023

We submitted the following letter to The Guardian on March 28, 2023, and are sharing it below since it wasn’t published.

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Dear Editor,

Jonathan Watts’ coverage of the new Earth4All report (“World ‘population bomb’ may never go off as feared, finds study”) misses some important shortcomings.

The Earth4All models use the historical global trend in GDP per capita as a predictor of future fertility rates. However, in the regions with the highest fertility rates, GDP per capita has largely been stagnating. The report ignores that lowering fertility rates by improving access to family planning and education are often necessary precursors to accelerated economic development. It is unwise to assume the issue of continued population growth and the inequalities that underpin it will resolve themselves.

The report demonstrates that achieving sustainability solely by tackling overconsumption would require drastic measures, e.g. everyone on Earth living just above the poverty line, while we can end population growth by empowering women everywhere to choose their family size—something that is morally essential in its own right. Let’s not neglect the urgent need for progressive population solutions.


Olivia Nater
Communications Manager
Population Connection