WE can plant billions of trees and stop using fossil fuels, as well as converting to wind, wave, solar and nuclear, but the only real solution to climate change is a brake on population growth.

In the last hundred years, the world’s population has quadrupled to almost eight billion, with humans so numerous that we are ruining our planet’s ecology and heating it up with greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s good news, therefore, that the apocryphal 2.4 children family of the mid-19th Century has come down to a more scientific 1.89.

Higher living standards and proper careers for women are reducing family size in advanced nations, whilst, at the same time, having a depressing effect on population growth.

By 2050, the populations of the advanced nations should have levelled out and our collective carbon footprint reduced.

The ultimate challenge is to help the developing nations of Asia, Africa and South America raise their standards of living in a carbon neutral way, whilst, at the same time, encouraging them to emancipate their female citizens.

Cllr Steve Kay (Ind), Cabinet Member: Health, Housing and Welfare, Redcar & Cleveland council.