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Washington Examiner


Population Control: An Ugly Solution To Climate Change

December 30, 2009

By Max Schulz

Want to save the planet from global warming? Forget about getting rid of coal plants or the internal combustion engine. Get rid of the humans. They’re the true problem.

That insidious message gained new currency with the United Nations Copenhagen climate change circus this month. While the conference likely will be remembered for participants’ failure to reach a binding emissions reduction agreement, its legacy may be that it brought mainstream respectability to the fringe left-wing notion that mankind is a scourge on the planet.

In so doing, it has breathed new life into population control proposals that had seemed discredited since the population bomb alarmists warned about in the 1960s and ’70s failed to detonate.

During the Copenhagen summit, Chinese representatives chillingly claimed credit for stifling 400 million births since the implementation of their one-child policy in 1979. That policy, which generally limits couples to no more than one offspring, is enforced by government mechanisms including coerced abortion and sterilization.

By Beijing’s calculations, its fascistic family planning regime has prevented 18 million tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere. Snuffing out lives to snuff out emissions seems a perfectly fair tradeoff not just to Beijing, but to opinion makers who have come to regard China as the global green exemplar.

That was the position taken by Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy in a recent debate sponsored by the Economist. Liu, a 2008 Time magazine “Hero of the Environment,” argued that China must be given credit not just for what it is doing on climate change, but “for what it is not doing.” By that she explained, “China’s one-child policy reduces energy demand and is arguably the most effective way the country can mitigate climate change.”

Diane Francis of Canada’s National Post echoed this notion in a Dec. 11 column that hailed China as the lodestar for international efforts to stave off environmental destruction. “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,” she wrote.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman expresses similar admiration for China’s “reasonably enlightened” leaders’ efforts to go green. Unburdened by the encumbrances of democracy, he notes, China’s one-party autocracy is able to “impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”

These are signs that the old specter of population control is back, capitalizing on the new eco-faddism of global warming alarmism.

New York Times environmental correspondent Andrew Revkin, for instance, recently questioned whether a market for baby-avoidance carbon credits might not arise. A study by Oregon State University researcher Paul Murtaugh notes that when an individual produces a child -- who will potentially produce more descendants down the line -- the environmental effect can be many times the effect produced by a person during his lifetime. So to prevent that child being born prevents the environmental harm.

A prominent Australian doctor meanwhile proposes levying a tax on each live birth -- along with an annual carbon tax per offspring -- to offset that child’s emissions. The Optimum Population Trust just began a campaign called PopOffsets paying poor Third World women not to reproduce. The message is clear: People are the problem.

For decades, population control has been relegated to the margins of acceptable public discourse. After Copenhagen, unfortunately, it might just be the new green mainstream.

Original Source:



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