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Concerns over climate change may be leading to lower fertility rates.
A recent investor note from Morgan Stanley analysts said that the “movement to not have children owing to fears over climate change is growing and impacting fertility rates quicker than any preceding trend in the field of fertility decline.”
“Having a child is 7-times worse for the climate in CO2 emissions annually than the next 10 most discussed mitigants that individuals can do,” the analysts explained, as reported by CNBC.
Indeed, there is a growing movement calling for parents to have fewer children due to climate concerns. Several thousand young people have signed the “No Future Pledge” — which encourages them to avoid reproducing in the interest of cutting carbon emissions.
As one organizer explained in an opinion piece:
Even though I want to have children more than almost anything, I am pledging not to, until the government takes the climate crisis seriously.
My generation is facing a future of economic instability, food scarcity and extreme weather events. With climate change forcing millions of people out of their homes, poverty and violence will inevitably rise. Who wants their children to face the worst that humanity has to offer? We can turn the tide, but this requires political will.
Until our government begins to act like the grown-ups they’re supposed to be, we will make uncomfortably grown-up decisions of our own and refuse to carry on as though all is fine.
Morgan Stanley’s analysis came shortly before the United Nations released a nearly 4,000-page climate report that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called a “code red for humanity.”
The report described five different future scenarios based on how much the world reduces carbon emissions. They are: a future with incredibly large and quick pollution cuts; another with intense pollution cuts but not quite as massive; a scenario with moderate emission cuts; a fourth scenario where current plans to make small pollution reductions continue; and a fifth possible future involving continued increases in carbon pollution.
In five previous reports, the world was on that final hottest path, often nicknamed “business as usual.” But this time, the world is somewhere between the moderate path and the small pollution reductions scenario because of progress to curb climate change.
The United States birth rate fell by 4% in 2020 — despite expectations that the United States would see a “baby boom” as a result of COVID-19 and government-enforced lockdowns. The rate is presently at the lowest level since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago.