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Scientists Say Having Fewer Kids Is Our Best Bet To Reduce Climate Change

By Janet Burns

New research suggests the most powerful way to reduce our carbon footprints is by making key choices about food, travel, and family planning.

A Swedish study published this month found that having fewer children is the most effective thing we can do to lower our carbon impact and reduce climate change. After reviewing the emissions associated with various lifestyle choices, researchers from Lund University found that our most popular energy- and carbon-saving tricks can’t compare to the impact of several key choices, and particularly that of having a smaller family.

As the study’s authors explained, “Current anthropogenic climate change is the result of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere, which records the aggregation of billions of individual decisions.” In order to compare the impact of those decisions, co-authors Kimberly A. Nicholas and Seth Wynes calculated their potential for reducing greenhouse emissions in developed countries based on 148 scenarios from 39 sources, and discovered a handful of decisions that really make or break the carbon bank, so to speak.