FSRH responds to NHS Net Zero call for evidence
Date: 14 Apr 2020
Type: FSRH Consultation Responses
The NHS has launched a call for evidence on how it can reduce its carbon footprint and become greener. Our response proposes that reducing unintended pregnancies and births through choice in family planning is one of the most impactful ways to ease pressure on the environment, and to reduce CO2 emissions.
The primary cause of climate change is high consumption in developed countries; 80% of the accumulated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been generated by just 20% of the world’s population. In a developed country, having one less child results in emission reductions of 58.6 tonnes of CO2 per year, which equates to over 36 transatlantic flights.
In the UK, almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned or ambivalent. Addressing unmet need for contraception would help to reduce the number of unintended and ambivalent pregnancies and would have a significant impact on our national carbon footprint.
Increasing voluntary access to contraception and family planning services addresses two critical objectives of our time: improving the health and wellbeing of women and children, and simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions and slowing climate change. Family planning and climate change should therefore be addressed together in an integrated, rights-based manner based on individual choice. We propose that the value of increasing access to contraception should be included in national environmental strategies and policies, while continuing to enshrine women’s choice around whether and how many children they may have as a human right.