Sharing Our World

The world's population is forecast to grow by another two billion to more than nine billion by 2050. This increase is almost as much as the entire human population of the world was in 1950. According to the United Nations, most of this growth will take place in the developing world.

We believe it is time to face up to the population issue, recognize the link between population and carbon dioxide emissions and acknowledge the need to safeguard our beautiful planet for future generations. Every week approximately 1.58 million extra people are added to the planet — nearly 10,000 every hour. We already face urgent environmental challenges that threaten ecosystems, food supplies and energy resources upon which we all depend for our survival.

Population and the Environment


Exploiting resources as if they were infinite has led to significantly increased emissions of greenhouse gases, the most significant of these being carbon dioxide. Dramatically increased per capita carbon emissions coupled with continuing population growth has led to reduced resources, increased demand, reduced biodiversity and a changing climate.

Many reports over the past decades — Club of Rome - 1972; Rio Summit - 1992; People & Planet - 2012, etc. — clearly indicate that we cannot go on living like this — it is simply unsustainable.

Humans have learned to adapt the environment to our needs, but do we want a planet devoid of its biodiversity as we focus on technological fixes and ignore our place in the web of life?

The Carbon Impact

Carbon is an intricate and essential part of life and the planet has evolved mechanisms over the eons to utilize and recycle carbon to ensure life's continuity. Professor James Lovelock, a Population Matters patron, first published his Gaia hypothesis in 1965, demonstrating the awe-inspiring nature of the planet's capcity for self-regulation — within limits.

The ability of humans to adapt their environment to suit their needs has led to increasing outputs of carbon dioxide coupled with continuing population growth and consumerism — a triple whammy.

Year 1650 1750 1850 1950 2050
Population (bn) 0.5 0.8 1.3 2.5 9.4 (est.)
CO2 (ppm) 280 280 280 300 450 (est.)

As the chart illustrates, population growth is a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions and population growth can be tracked virtually on a parallel course.

The Wider Impact

Leaving aside climate change, the demands of an ever-growing world population and increasing per capita consumption have led to massive reductions in forests and biodiversity, increasing desertification and water shortages, and dramatic declines in fish stocks. The ability of the planet to recycle pollution is now being overwhelmed as our waste grows in volume and toxicity.

The increasing demand for resources, land, food, energy, housing and support infrastructures has placed huge burdens on the planet. Contributing to PopOffsets not only offsets your own emissions and reduces carbon dioxide emissions, but makes a direct contribution towards solving many other environmental problems.