Studio News

#7 Family Planning


For women to have children by choice rather than chance and to plan their family size and spacing is a matter of autonomy and dignity. Two hundred and fourteen million women in lower income countries say they want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack the access to contraception - resulting in some 74 million unintended pregnancies each year...

Securing the fundamental right to voluntary high-quality family planning services around the world would have powerful positive impacts on the health, welfare, and life expectancy of both women and their children... Family planning can also have ripple effects on drawing down greenhouse gas emissions...

When family planning focuses on healthcare provision and meeting women’s expressed needs, empowerment, equality, and well-being are the goal; benefits to the planet are side effects...

Iran put a program into place in the early 1990’s that has been touted as among the most successful such efforts in history. Completely voluntary, it involved religious leaders, educated the public, and provided free access to contraception. As a result, fertility rates halved in just one decade...



Increased adoption of reproductive healthcare and family planning is an essential component to achieve the United Nations 2015 medium global population projection of 9.7 billion people by 2050. If investment in family planning, particularly in low income countries, does not materialise, the world’s population could be closer to the high projection, adding another 1 billion people to the planet. We model the impact of this solution based on the difference in how much energy, building space, food, waste, and transportation would be used in a world with little to no investment in family planning, compared to one in which the projection of 9.7 billion is realised. The resulting emissions reductions could be 119.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, at an annual average cost of $10.77 per user in low income countries. Because educating girls has an important impact on the use of family planning, we allocate 50 percent of the total potential emissions reductions to each solution - 59.2 gigatonnes apiece.



“Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming”, pp. 78-79.