Human Population as a Driver to Climate Change. Conflict between Human Population Growth and Climate Change in Developing Countries

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2021

23 Pages, Grade: 2.0


Table of Content


1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background

2.0 The Impact of Climate Change
2.1 The Climate Change Cost
2.2 The Energy We Consume

3.0 The Human Population as Driver to Climate Change
3.1 The Population Growth
3.2 Biodiversity in Human World




Our world is overpopulated, and we are struggling to feed everyone and fulfill each individual's needs. The poverty and hunger in developing countries are rising, and in the same environment, we are witnessing an increase in the population. We have 80 million births each year, with an anticipated 9.7 billion people by 2050 (The Numbers, 2020). These are not just simple numbers; they need a decent place to live, access to water, food security, clean air, and sustainable cities with affordable energy.

Global warming can be seen as flood, drought, ice melt, disease, food insecurity, and other natural disasters. It is found that climate change can displace 143 million people by 2050, and there will be conflicts between nations over natural resources (Rigaud, et al., 2018). In today's world, we still have inequality between developed and least developed countries in various sectors and levels (Garthwaite, 2019). A transformation to reduce climate change effects can create over 65 million jobs (Bank, 2020), but failing to cope with climate change can result in losing 80 million jobs by 2030 (ILO, 2019). In terms of the economy, the climate change catastrophe cost us US$165 billion globally in 2019 (Swiss Re, 2019).

Forests are vital players in reducing CO2 emissions, but the desertification of forests by humans include 23% of carbon emission (Edenhofer, et al., 2014). The transformation from fossil fuels to green energy can bring us US$52 trillion in a year (Przemysł, 2018). Also, biodiversity has a significant contribution to our ecosystem, and their preservation must be part of our responsibility (Baker, 2016). To have proper nutrition, drinking water, decent economic growth, sustainable cities, and several other human-friendly concepts in our world, we are required to control our population growth. This can happen by educating girls about contraception methods, family planning, preventing child marriages, and removing traditional and cultural barriers (Moran, 2020).

1.0 Introduction

The developing countries are at the frontline of risks and challenges to tackle climate change. This is because of not having a solid extent of human resources, inequality existence, lack of environmental leadership tools, and economic capacity (Baker, 2016). There is a more in-depth connection between population growth and climate change. The Earth has accommodated over 7.8 billion human beings, and statistics indicate that since the Second World War, between each 12-15 years, 1 billion is added to our population (The Facts, 2020). We have not been kind to our planet. We have created many problems such as endangering water resources, destruction of green lands, emissions of CO2, overrun consumption of water, and food waste (The Facts, 2020). The human population worldwide is increasing dramatically by 80 million births annually, and there are going to be 9.7 billion people by 2050, with a slight increase of 10.9 billion in late 2100 (The Numbers, 2020).

Moreover, half of the predicted increase in population by 2050 will be in the USA, and mostly in developing countries such as Egypt, Tanzania, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Congo, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan (The Numbers, 2020). Contraceptive education for over 200 million women in the least developed countries is necessary to control the birth rates. Still, lack of knowledge in this area and sometimes religious, cultural, and traditional barriers prevent this topic from being discussed (The Numbers, 2020). The population growth and climate change link can be evident by seeing the increase in global temperature, ice melt, famine, the animals' extinction on land and below water, losing cities to water by increasing the sea water level, and so forth. This way, we endanger the food security, our cohabitant, and our future as well (Climate Change, 2020). The population has been a worldwide topic to confront in sustainable development on how to accommodate this number of people and the obstacles they will face (Elliot, 2013). In climate change, the low-income communities in Asia and Africa will suffer the most, and approximately 150,000 mortality will be added due to poverty, various diseases, lack of nutrition, and water overflow. However, the developed countries are the main drivers of global warming (Elliot, 2013).

1.1 Background

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there are numerous climate change-related matters addressed by policymakers, such as global warming, human capital, natural disasters, crop production and food security, infrastructures, and economy (Jamet & Corfee-Morlot, 2009). The German Environment Agency illustrates that global immigration can happen due to various environmental and global warming elements. Yet, this issue goes back to humankind's history, which tends to reside in well-resourced places. In addition, the immigration visionaries counted environment and family decisions as to the main factors of human movement in the nineteenth century. They also state that a temperature rise will accelerate worldwide migration (Flavell, Milan, & Melde, 2019). In another research, population growth was a pressure factor for food production and natural resource consumption, including more air pollution and CO2 emission. It is also stated that least developed countries should control their population (Gutiérrez, 2013).

Is our planet ready to feed everyone? Is the energy we consume sustainable? How much does it cost us to have a sustainable world? Are we killing the ecosystem's biodiversity? Are developing countries the ones who suffer? Can we control the population growth? These are the questions to be asked and discussed.

2.0 The Impact of Climate Change

Our planet requires the greenhouse gases, which are being produced naturally, to keep its temperature around 30°C, because without the greenhouse gases, the Earth would not have been a habitable planet for humankind. The methane, water evaporation, and CO2 in the greenhouse gases act as heat cover against cold, but breaking this balance and increasing the greenhouse gases in the planet's surface leads to global warming (Society, 2008). In the 1980s that global warming, CO2 emission, and other aspects of climate change opened concerns about the future of human life. Since the industrial age, the fuel, coal, and gas consumption in different machines has emitted a high amount of carbon in various industries and the agriculture sector (Meadowcroft, 2002).

There has been a dramatic carbon dioxide emission increase since the industry's age in 1750 (BBC, 2020). Over 6,000 years, our generation has managed to live within the climate and natural variables with an average temperature of about 13ºC per year. In such a situation, the organized agricultural system was explored, shaped, and consumed by human beings (Fleming, 2020). The dramatic changes occurring in the climate can influence all the quantity and quality of foods we consume, the electricity we utilize, the type of transportation we use, our environment, and the way we live. Climate change will lead us to face destructive natural events that can include famine, various animal and plant extinction, endangering the cities in coastal areas by the rise of water level, and inundation of seas. (Baker, 2016). Due to global warming between 2005 and 2015, the oceans' water level annually increased by 3.6mm, and yet 2015 to 2018 had a high-recorded temperature rise worldwide (BBC, 2020). The changing patterns in the climate can negatively affect humans' livestock and livelihood in terms of crop diseases, nutrition, access to clean water, and so forth (Meadowcroft, 2002). Furthermore, the diversity and the movements in our nature by different species have provided CO2 immersion, nitrogen production, freshwater, and insects' pollination. If this organized system is affected by climate change, our planet's colorful nature will be disrupted (ILES, 2003).

Global warming leads 3 billion people to inhabit high-temperature areas like sub-Saharan by 2070 in the upcoming 50 years if we do not take on time actions and comprehensive decisions. The consequence will include 30% of the predicted population growth in that period, where the median temperature will be 29°C, the greenhouse gas outflows, and the mean temperature is 7.5°C more compared to the time people were residing before industrialization years (Fleming, 2020). This is why the rapid increase in population in the current hot destinations, which the least developed countries and most poverty-stricken communities, will expect unfavorable consequences due to a rise in temperatures (Fleming, 2020). The government, businesses, and civil societies are spreading awareness about the importance of climate change as it is hitting our world stronger than any time before (Oreskes, Oppenheimer, & Jamieson, 2019). The world has experienced the hottest climate in the last five years, and the global temperature has passed the 1°C, which used to be in pre-industrialized time, but we should limit the temperature to 1.5°C (IPCC, 2018), and it will cost us hundred years to have back the temperature of the pre-industrialized time (BBC, 2020).

Figure 1. The Global Risks Interconnections Map 2020. Adapted from "The Global Risks Report 2020," by World Economic Forum, (2020). Retrieved from

2.1 The Climate Change Cost

Extinction is coming toward us, and humans are no more exceptions. Several creatures are no more on our planet, and among the human generation, there is an unlike level in natural catastrophes; men are 14 times less to lose their lives than women, children, and elders (UNDP, 2013). Climate change can attack developing countries' health systems, mainly for the most underprivileged communities (Kristie, Jeremy, Hess, & Watkiss, 2017). We will lose several acres of cultivating fields, which is weakening the food consumption and access to water needs by 2050. The water temperature on the planet is rising, becoming more inundated, and mixed with chemical materials. This endangers the lives below water, supportive species for our ecosystem, and food security (IPCC, 2019). The Arctic and Greenland have lost high amounts of ice since 1979 (BBC, 2020), and the current melt of icebergs around the world has three times more severe impacts by 2050 (IPCC, 2019). In addition, the iced carbons melting in topsoil in various parts of the world can have unexpected effects on our planet's atmosphere (WEF, 2020). The natural disasters out of climate change between 2008 and 2016 have given the 20 million population of our world only one mandatory choice: immigration. This kind of immigration will increase the high probability of natural risked areas (UNHCR, 2016). For instance, Syria experienced the most impactful famine from 2006 to 2011, and lack of water resources crippled its crops production, livelihood, domestic products, business sector, and governance system. This crisis led to over 500,000 deaths and national and international level immigrations (Heijden & Stinson, 2019). As per the World Bank's anticipation, by 2050, lack of food and water will force 143 million people in low-income countries to migrate, following internal war and conflicts over the resources (Rigaud, et al., 2018). Over 124 million people face utmost lack of proper nourishment, which 76% of this vital problem is due to global warming (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, & WHO, 2018). Furthermore, the weather pattern changes cost us $520 billion from a year's utilization, leading to 26 million people hungering annually. International trade harbors in the least developed countries like Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Guangzhou, and Dar e Salaam face extreme loss due to an increase in water level in coastal locations (Kulp & Strauss, 2019).

Countries are always looking to extract more natural resources and shortcuts to have access to that capital, which follows most of the time by thawing the icebergs to have easy access by vessel (Economist, 2019). For instance, the journey from East Asia to Rotterdam by ship includes approximately 30 days and crossing the Suez Canal, but with low ice through the Arctic course, it only takes 23 days (Brosig, et al., 2019). In 2017 there have been intensive conflict records over water in 45 countries globally (OCHA, 2018), which this natural resources dispute over specific location between countries has led them to alter their stand in global topics (IRENA, 2019). Since 1960, there is a vast inequity between developed and least developed countries. Climate change has added a 25% gap, and the capital per person in the developing nations from 17% to 30% between 1961 and010 (Garthwaite, 2019).


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Human Population as a Driver to Climate Change. Conflict between Human Population Growth and Climate Change in Developing Countries
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences
Sustainable Development Management
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
population, conflict, human, global warming, climate change, SDGs, sustainable, growth, energy, business, industry, weather
Quote paper
Sayed Ahmad Fahim Masoumi (Author), 2021, Human Population as a Driver to Climate Change. Conflict between Human Population Growth and Climate Change in Developing Countries, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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