Eight billion and counting: How to manage humanity's record population?

In less than half a century, the planet's population has doubled. We know that humanity's carbon footprint is unsustainable. How about its birth rate? The two are closely tied but the answer for many a nation is not as straightforward as it seems.

India, which is due in the coming year to overtake an ageing China as the world's population leader, has 1.4 billion mouths to feed on limited resources. But it also has a slowing birth rate, which means a fast-ageing population of its own. Where do the priorities lie?

As the COP27 climate summit in Egypt negotiates the long term of how rich countries can help finance the transition to a more sustainable way of life, there is also the short term to consider. G20 nations are meeting in Indonesia with the spectre of recession spooking leaders. Crucial to both the short and long term is how many babies we bring into this world.

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