Population control and climate change

crowdSome AGW alarmists suggest that the human population will be “culled” by global warming. Other extremist “environmentalists” suggest a more proactive approach to reducing the human population. Being a tad fond of life personally, and being one of those people that believe people are special (with responsibilities which go with that “specialness”), I inwardly cringe at such suggestions.

However, the reality is that this world cannot support an infinite human population. The number of human beings needs to cap sometime.

So, do we just not think about something so horrible? I mean, its not like its going to happen in our lifetimes?

Or, do we listen to global warming alarmists and resile ourselves to doom, like Dr James Lovelock?

James Lovelock in the interview published in  One Last Chance to Save Mankind says:

Do you think we will survive?

I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

I don’t think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what’s coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing’s been done except endless talk and meetings.

I don’t think we can react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what’s coming up

It’s a depressing outlook.

Not necessarily. I don’t think 9 billion is better than 1 billion. I see humans as rather like the first photosynthesisers, which when they first appeared on the planet caused enormous damage by releasing oxygen – a nasty, poisonous gas. It took a long time, but it turned out in the end to be of enormous benefit. I look on humans in much the same light. For the first time in its 3.5 billion years of existence, the planet has an intelligent, communicating species that can consider the whole system and even do things about it. They are not yet bright enough, they have still to evolve quite a way, but they could become a very positive contributor to planetary welfare.

Real doomsday stuff!

OK, those are two ideas that don’t really appeal to me. Is there a third, or fourth … answer?

Let’s try this one on for size – eliminate world poverty.

Yep, that’s all, that’s not much to aim for.

Isn’t it? And how would that work anyway, you say?

Ever noticed that it is the developing nations which have large families ie higher birth rates? And, if there are no devasting wars, droughts or famines for other reasons, that their populations are growing? Compare that to developed countries who rely on immigration for population growth, even with greater longevity.

Where there are high mortality rates, family sizes are larger so that parents have a greater chance of having enough surviving children to care for the parents when the parents are elderly. In relatively prosperous countries people are not as concerned with survival, and find other things to do than create and raise children. (I can provide references if anyone wants them – I am trying not to be too soap boxish.)

Therefore, eliminate poverty and the feeling of threat for survival, and birth rates drop – dramatically. If people in all countries felt reasonably prosperous, every country would have low birth rates. Natural and painless population cap.

Personally I would rather have my share of the billions of dollars of tax money, which is currently being thrown at global warming ,go towards a united global effort to eliminate poverty. With the amount of money being wasted on the global warming scaremongering, eliminating world poverty would be achievable.

By the way – the Millenium Development Goals are another United Nations project. Ever heard of them?