I found one study from 2017 that says (emphasis mine):

We recommend four widely applicable high-impact (i.e. low emissions) actions with the potential to contribute to systemic change and substantially reduce annual personal emissions: having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) emission reductions per year), living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year), avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per roundtrip transatlantic flight) and eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year).

All the recent conversations around this seem to link back to this one study. This seems like a pretty important issue on which there should be plenty of research. Are there other scientific studies estimating the impact on climate change of having a child today?

  • 10
    Possible duplicate of Does having one fewer child reduce my carbon footprint as much as 71+ people going vegan?
    – user11643
    Jun 23, 2019 at 20:50
  • 1
    Pretty close, though that question seems to be focused on how that study got its numbers (and the sole answer certainly seems to interpret it that way), while I'm wondering if other researchers independently arrived at different numbers or a different conclusion entirely.
    – EM0
    Jun 23, 2019 at 21:24
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    I'd think the answer is the same for both questions. To get this result requires odd definitions, neglect of secondary effects, and a tenuous assumption that nothing ever changes. Combined with the insidious effect of subverting individuals from one of humanity's basest urges, to reproduce, I don't know what other answer you might hope for, that is, probably best to file this one under "freakonomics".
    – user11643
    Jun 23, 2019 at 21:52
  • @fredsbend, upvoted, though I don't think you really mean basest :)
    – Benjol
    Jun 26, 2019 at 7:34
  • @Benjol lol, I guess not. Maybe "basic" instead.
    – user11643
    Jun 26, 2019 at 15:40


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