In response to the Royal Society's report, People and the Planet, launching tomorrow, Oxfam's Chief Executive Barbara Stocking said:
"The Royal Society rightly points out that it is dangerously misleading to focus solely on population growth or solely on consumption, as we struggle to work out how we can sustain a population of nine billion people on the planet in the future. A much broader approach is needed.
"The planet has sufficient resources to sustain a population of that size but we can only ensure a sustainable future for all if we address grossly unequal levels of consumption. Fairly redistributing the lion's share of the earth's resources consumed by the richest 10 per cent would bring development so that infant mortality rates are reduced, many more people are educated and women are empowered to determine their family size - all of which will bring down birth rates.
"The solutions are simple and achievable but political obstacles are huge. It would take just 0.2 per cent of global income to pull more than a billion of the world's poorest people above the poverty line. With a growing global middle class rapidly adding to the strain on the world's resources, it is crucial that we step up to the challenge."
** Oxfam press officer contact: Georgette Thomas 07824 503108 / 01865 472037, firstname.lastname@example.org
** The report can be downloaded from the Royal Society website at: http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/people-planet/).