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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: When Carbon Limits Are Not Enough

Friday, December 11, 2009

When Carbon Limits Are Not Enough

(HT Drudgereport)  Self-righteous elements of the environmentalist population, whose belief in their own dogma is both devout and zealous, are convinced that they must impose their wisdom on others to save the planet from disaster, or to save the planet itself.  That was the purpose of the Copenhagen meetings.  With the CRUtape letters released, the meetings have degenerated into debating man's role in global warming.  Some don't find international attempts to limit carbon emissions enough to "save" the planet and the environment sufficient, insisting that we must impose a policy of one child per woman on the planet.  The right of a woman to control her body is thrown out like the baby with the bathwater.  Children are not a bundle of joy that will fund a country's retirement benefits but a negative externality that will impose costs on the strained resources of an overpopulated planet. 

If a growing population threatens to impoverish the world, shouldn't it have started already?  Population keeps rising, and with the exception of the past two years of financial recession, world income keeps rising.  Nor does an imposed limit on reproduction seem necessary.  Wealthy countries have falling birth rates and low or negative growth rates.  In these countries, populations are growing because of immigration and increased longevity.  In fact, the world population growth rate probably peaked in the 1960's at 2% annually and fallen to the current rate of about 1.12% annually.

Diane Francis, of the Financial Post expresses this opinion well in, "The real inconvenient truth."  Ms. Francis believes that China, a poor country whose air is choked with soot and whose rivers are flowing with toxins, and whose people are ruled by a totalitarian regime set the example of good environmental policy. 

The "inconvenient truth" overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world.

A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The world's other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity's soaring reproduction rate.

Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict...
The fix is simple. It's dramatic. And yet the world's leaders don't even have this on their agenda in Copenhagen. Instead there will be photo ops, posturing, optics, blah-blah-blah about climate science and climate fraud, announcements of giant wind farms, then cap-and-trade subsidies.

None will work unless a China one-child policy is imposed. Unfortunately, there are powerful opponents. Leaders of the world's big fundamentalist religions preach in favor of procreation and fiercely oppose birth control. And most political leaders in emerging economies perpetuate a disastrous Catch-22: Many children (i. e. sons) stave off hardship in the absence of a social safety net or economic development, which, in turn, prevents protections or development.

China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy. Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet.

For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs.

The point is that Copenhagen's talking points are beside the point.

The only fix is if all countries drastically reduce their populations, clean up their messes and impose mandatory conservation measures.

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