Climate Change And Overpopulation

Climate Change And Overpopulation: What Is The Link?

Presenter: John Pope

January, 2019

Every human being has a carbon footprint – more people, more footprints.  Our carbon footprint is directly related to our consumption, especially our energy consumption and the carbon emissions associated with it.  Therefore, there is a direct link between climate change and human population.
Our discussion will focus on this argument and its implications.  Please read the following 4 articles for background information to facilitate our discussion.

1. “According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century. (Think about it: It took all of time for population to reach 1.6 billion; then it shot to 6.1 billion over just 100 years.) During that time emissions of CO2, the leading greenhouse gas, grew 12-fold. And with worldwide population expected to surpass nine billion over the next 50 years, environmentalists and others are worried about the ability of the planet to withstand the added load of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on ecosystems down below.”  Read more – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/population-growth-climate-change/

2. “Demand for energy by our increasing population over the past half-century has led to an accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the concentration of which – now 400 parts per million – has not been present on this planet for several million years.”  Read more – https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/04/climate-change-population-crisis-paris-summit

3. In the United States, every child a woman has will add, on average, about 9,441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to her emissions scorecard over her lifetime.  A person’s reproductive choices must be considered along with his day-to-day activities when assessing his ultimate impact on the global environment.

4. This author discusses “…whether it’s moral to reproduce in this climate; whether it’s responsible to have children; whether it is fair to the planet or, perhaps more important, to the children.” Read more – http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/parenting-children-generation-of-climate-change.html

QUESTIONS

Can slowing the global birthrate mitigate the effects of climate change, or is it too late for that?

Is there a ‘right to have children’?

If a general increase in prosperity (and urbanization) are reducing the global birthrate (as the Nymag author above argues), will eliminating poverty reduce the birthrate and consequently the effects of climate change?

What role do religions play in family planning?  Are the issues of overpopulation under-reported because of religious biases?

Knowing what we know about the chances for humans to survive these devastating environmental changes already underway, is it moral or responsible to have children?

On a lighter note:

“Somewhere on this globe, every ten seconds, there is a woman giving birth to a child. She must be found and stopped.” -Sam Levenson

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