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How Preventing Unwanted Pregnancies Can Help in Climate Fight

Every year, some 36 billion tons of anthropogenic carbon enter the atmosphere, mainly as a result of burning fossil fuels. With 8 billion people on Earth, this means that each human adds an average of 4.5 tons of carbon into the air annually. And wealthy people have a far bigger footprint than the poor — by a couple orders of magnitude.

Too often ignored in devising solutions to slow global warming is the fact that a sizeable number of pregnancies are unintended, and many of the resulting births are unwanted. According to the Guttmacher Institute, as many as 121 million pregnancies each year are unintended, and an estimated 10 percent of all births are “unwanted,” a consequence of either sexual assault or some other form of coercive conception, including the unavailability of effective birth control or abortion.

By one recent estimate, some 270 million women of childbearing age have…

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