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This article is more than 4 month old.

'Eco-anxious' youth wary of having babies over climate concerns: Survey

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40 percent of respondents between the ages of 16-25 years said they do not wish to have children as they are scared of the dangers of climate change. 74 percent of Indian Gen Z felt humanity is doomed, the highest among all countries surveyed.

'Eco-anxious' youth wary of having babies over climate concerns: Survey
Climate change is an existential threat to humanity. With extreme weather events no more an exception, the time to act is now. Governments have framed steps to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures, as set out in the Paris Agreement. But actionable plans are few and far between.
All this has left the world’s youth a pessimistic lot. With so much evidence of climate crisis around them -- in the form of rising sea levels, floods, brutal heatwaves, wildfires, prolonged monsoon, landslides, melting glaciers and much more -- many of them say they do not wish to have children.
In the largest survey of its kind, 40 percent of respondents between the ages of 16 and 25 years said they do not wish to have children as they are scared of the dangers of climate change. The survey was conducted by researchers from the University of Bath on 10,000 individuals spread out across 10 countries: UK, Finland, France, USA, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, India, Philippines, Nigeria.
The survey has highlighted the growing anxiety over the climate crisis. The expert panel report submitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control (IPCC) recently underscored the danger of climate change in what has been called a ‘code red’ for humanity.
The IPCC report stated that carbon emissions must reach their peak by 2025, in order to have any chance of reaching net-zero emissions by the stipulated time. The goal, however, seems almost impossible to reach, therefore, fuelling eco-anxiety among the young and aware.
The term, ‘eco-anxiety,’ has been defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” Experts say striking visuals that people see on their screens almost on a daily basis, along with the news of locals turning into refugees due to multiple environmental crises, is causing young people to become ‘eco-anxious.’
Morgan Stanley stated in an investor note 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.”
Other studies have highlighted how increasing particulate pollution and rising temperatures can significantly impact birth rates as well.
Indian youth, in particular, are overwhelmingly pessimistic about their opportunities and the future. Seventy four percent of Indian respondents feel that humanity is doomed, the highest among all countries surveyed. Four out of five Indian youth believed that the coming future is frightening; with 67 percent of the respondents believing that they would have fewer opportunities than their parents due to climate change.
The surveyed youth also felt betrayed by their governments for not taking concrete action. Sixty five percent of respondents felt that the governments had been failing the youth and 58 percent felt that current governments have betrayed future generations.
According to new research conducted by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) project, nations have already failed to support their climate commitments with actionable plans that would start cutting carbon emissions.
Gambia is the only country in the world to have set ambitious enough plans to reach net-zero, reported Bloomberg. India has been classified as having “highly insufficient” plans to reach Paris Agreement goals of keeping temperatures rise in check.
With India’s reticence to even commit to a net-zero initiative despite insistence from experts and even US Climate Special Envoy John Kerry, it can be seen as a huge hindrance in the fight against climate change, India’s plans of developing 450 GW of renewable energy notwithstanding.
While strategic international partnerships between governments like that between India and the US, to develop and fund renewable technology is an important step towards net-zero goals, the lack of more ambitious commitments can lead to trillions of dollars in losses from climate catastrophe down the line.
 
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