"In discussions about climate change, we tend to focus on the carbon emissions of an individual over his or her lifetime," said study team member Paul Murtaugh. "Those are important issues and it's essential that they should be considered. But an added challenge facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of resources."
Reproductive choices haven't gained as much attention in the consideration of human impact to the Earth, Murtaugh said. When an individual produces a child - and that child potentially produces more descendants in the future - the effect on the environment can be many times the impact produced by a person during their lifetime. . .
The impact doesn't only come through increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - larger populations also generate more waste and tax water supplies.