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back to article Lancet: Hordes of patio-heater babies will doom planet

Famed politico-medical journal The Lancet has grabbed big ink by taking the view that providing contraceptives for women in developing nations prevents five times as much CO2 emission as the same money spent on conventional green measures such as windmill subsidies. Famous for starting the MMR vaccine scare and for publishing …

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Hmm

In this case, I'll ignore the usual arguments about "climate change", by saying it is part of the "resources" in the rest of this post and make no comment on how small or large a part it is.

Fact is, we live on a planet of limited useful resources. Our population is increasing, and we can't recycle enough. There are three ways out -

1) Technological expansion, which has helped in the past, but at this point, the minimum requirement is extensive harvesting of resources from deep space, along with planetary scale engineering. That's not going to happen fast enough

2) Population reducing it's impact. Humans are selfish and they'll hang onto their current lifestyles. You can tinker around the edges, recycle, reusable tech etc, but the developed world is unlike to abandon enough to bring it's consumption down to a fair level, and the rest of the world is scrambling to drag themselves up above the fair level. And, of course - with an expanding population, the fair level is effectively dropping. That's just not going to happen on a useful scale.

3) Population reduction. This is the only realistic option left. Your choices are culling or reduction of birth rate. So, which is it? Don't take too long to decide, because our ecosystem tends to favour random culling, and it's going to do it soon...

Nice analysis of the piece though, made me think carefully!

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Personal Carbon Trading

If I wanted to offset my personal carbon footprint, which is around 10 metric tonnes a year according to wikipedia, all I have to do is send 2800 quid worth of rubber johnnies to developing countries and I'm in the clear for the next 40 years. This would be well below the expected remaining lifetime of a confirmed and committed smoker, drinker and anti-sportial male, my doctor tells me. Will this really shut the eco-nazis up?

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Is right

Not just the 3rd world needs to breed less - life would be better for everyone with less people equalling more resources per head. The oldies might be forced to work a bit longer but they'll be wealthier with it.

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Rob
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Alert

Another baby, I think not

So to put my wife off of having another baby I can suggest a patio heater instead, I shall report back later to let you know how that one went down.

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wrong target?

Now, I'm the last person to advise on contraception, or Africa for that matter. However from a purely arithmetical slant, it does seem to me that babies born in Africa are either doomed to lead short lives (the median age for people in Uganda is 15, Source: Economist Pocket, World in Figures) or to not produce that much CO2 anyway - being the continent with the lowest earnings / enery use per capita (same source).

However, if The Lancet was to focus on reducing western populations, then (apart from the outrage from all the liberal minded and eloquent mothers out there, with direct access to government-influencing media) then the "bang for buck" of preventing one western birth compared to one African birth would be a lot higher.

Maybe that would impact on their target audience, advertisers and subscription base, just too much for comfort.

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Preaching to the choir

"...the only way to save the planet is to have fewer people on it. "

And those too stupid to realise this have no business in the gene pool anyway, but of course are the ones most likely to add to the population explosion, which means another generation of those too stupid to realise this.

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Charity begins at home

I suspect the carbon footprint of a 1st world child dwarfs that of a 3rd world child.

Consider TV,Console Gaming, Mobile Phones, computers. A plethora of toys during early childhood, teenage car ownership/usage etc.

The list goes on and on and on.

I wonder if the US would like to pave the way by leading by example?

Thought not.

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Populatation Concern

Population Concern is a charity with exactly this sort of message.

Problem is you don't hear much about it: it's not well funded. The reason is simple: people give to charity to salve their conscience; helping people out works far better than avoiding the problems in the first place. Prevention may be better than cure, but curing is makes you feel better.

Next time you give money for farm implements, drinking water projects, sponsoring donkeys etc. feel guilty about it, 'cause you should do: you've just made sure an enlarged future population will endure even more suffering and given an extra job to our descendents to try to alleviate it.

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MMR Scare

The Lancet didn't start the MMR scare. The Lancet published a case report, which it does all the time. The media then used that to create the MMR scare.

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Coat

Unpopular choices time folks:

Which one would YOU choose - they are all evil:

Someone invents a baby-furnace, and/or an old-person furnace.

Enforced global sterilisation for people with low IQ's, say below 110,

(Logans Run) - 'lottery-to-live' once you're past 30,

We bury our heads n the sand, carry on as normal and see what happens,

WWIII - a few nukes to sort out the high-population areas and its' like a reset button.

Umm did I check the anonymous box?

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It is a bit trickier...

... but fewer people would be good news for the planet, no question. Resources are kind of limited and as a species we do tend to be pretty greedy. Given that contraception is probably the least painful route to fewer people in future, it seems like something of a no-brainer.

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Pirate

What a concentrate of hypocrisy in such a small note

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that several per cent of the Iraqi population have died as a result of the 2003 invasion*

*This would indicate suffering proportionally as intense as that of Japan during World War II. Japan famously engaged in bloody mass-mobilised armed combat by land, sea and air against the allied powers for several years, suffered incredibly severe conventional bombing, and was then hit twice by nuclear weapons.

On the other hand Japan didn't have a massive internal sectarian conflict.

=========================

so it is fault of the Iraqi that they are dieing, right? It is even factually wrong

because even counting Saddam killing the Kurds one does not reach the same totals.

... but by the way what total? Isn't strange that the free-as-a-puppet Iraqi government does not keep any records(*) and the same does the Army of the beacon of democracy.. strange, uhu?

The so called journalist who wrote this note is saying that the numbers that he does not like are wrong and compare that with.. Japan in 2 WW? right, why not with the Fall of Bisantium then ?

Imagine, some relatives of you just killed by Blackwater guards spraying bullets in the neighbourhood and how it comes that you do not love the above mentioned beacon of democracy.

The history of fraud shows that if you do not keep a record then typically you have something to hide

(*) such an focused attitude toward the well being of his population may also explain while the population is shooting at the government

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@ Unpopular choices time folks

"Someone invents a baby-furnace, and/or an old-person furnace."

Not entirely sure how much 'inventing' would be required for this......but it doesn't matter as I have better idea.

Method:

Employ the terminally ill and eldery as stunt men\women and extras in action movies.

Result:

Excellent, realistic fight\chase scenes in the movies. And the money they earn could be used for good causes or given to their families.

An excllent plan, with no drawbacks!!

But killing babies? That's just SICK!! ;0)

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difficulty

Just because something is difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't try it. Let's at least aim at stabilising the population.

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Megaphone

Doctors, if you are reading this

Fuck off. Fuck off back to your hospital or your surgery and do your fucking job. You will know when I require your advice about my lifestyle choices because I will ask for it.

Until then, kindly STFU.

That is all.

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Megaphone

Cue the usual comments of...

..."if you want to reduce population, why don't you offer yourself up first"...blah, blah, blah.

When will people realise that population control can be entirely ethical?

Pisses me off no end that nobody seems to want to see the elephant in the room on this one, and yet they automatically assume population advocates are direct descendants of hitler or Satan???

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Anonymous Coward

Another solution

Sack all the doctors in the world.

Life expectancy will reduce, population will reduce and the Lancet will cease to be. Not to mention that hospitals are hugely environmentally unfriendly.

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Flame

They obviously hate brown people

Notice how they never seem to suggest population control in areas where it would personally affect them? It always ends up being "suggested" that the third world needs to reduce its population by some amount to cut the Scary Problem of the Day.

Of course this begins to make sense when you consider that many of the current population control advocates belong to groups that were founded by out and out racists and eugenicists. Planned Parenthood in the US was founded by such a eugenicist and the organisation seems to be carrying out her wishes quite well, promoting abortion amongst minority groups far more than amongst "superior" whites.

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Condoms for environmentally guilt-free sex

Now, can we link the bed up to a generator?

Thumbs, and anything else, up!

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About time too

Seriously, whenever I see someone moaning about how hard it is to bring up a child I can't help thinking how selfish they are to have one before they're set to take care of it properly. Worse still are the ones who go on to have more and act like they never suspected two would be harder than one.

My usual response is to say "lucky you" and leave them to it.

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And an absurdity

It's also fairly absurd that, in a world where theres clearly far too many people, we spend millions (if not billions) each year on fertility research and treatments. The human race is clearly not the highly developed intelligent species it thinks it is.

Divert all that money into birth control research, education and treatments and we might get somewhere.

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Oh really?

Its not the developed nations that are causing the problem, its countries like India (>1B people) and China (3.5B? people) So whether you have another kid in the uk or not (68M?) is not going to make a blind bit of difference. The Western nations birthrate is falling, its the poor nations in Africa, South America and Asia that are out of control.

Remember LIve AID and Saint bloody Bob? Well in Ethiopia the famine was man made when they got a marxist government that decided property was theft and promptly stole all the villagers grain to sell for whisky and guns to fight the Eritreans. So you had a population that the land could not sustain, and after all the rich celebs had been to have a gander and asked you to donate, had an even larger population that it still could not maintain. btw I hate rich people asking me to give money. Fuck em! Saint Bob and Saint Bono. useless feckers. Remember Rhodesia? The bread basket of Africa? Now run by the basket cases of Africa? Take the troops out of Afghanistan, topple Mugabe. Install colonial rule again, and get the farms working again, send in droves of American missionaries to remind the population its going to hell if they don't stop breeding.

The one kid rule is good for everyone, you could then trade your child allowance to couples that wanted one, would mean sterilisation though. All the chavs would flock to be sterilised/give up their allowance for a small box of stella.

Can you tell I've had a bad day?

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Reading comprehension

@Pete 2, RE: wrong target? #

"The Trust has told the Reg in the past that Blighty needs urgently to reduce its population by 35 million or so"

There was something called the 'one world study', and I'm quoting from memory here, so feel free to google for it, and correct me on minor errors, but; they estimated the number of planet earths that would be needed for people to live sustainably, given various lifestyles: given a US American lifestlye - energy / food use, etc, 6 planet earths would be needed for it to be sustainable, that is, 1 billion people can live that way on one earth, this figure decreased through other industrialised nations, and so on, down to, IIRC, Somalia or Ethiopia - the 'lifestyles' of which would be sustainable for the global population, on a (decent sized) fraction of one earth. So there is plenty of consciousness that the main problem here is industrialised nations. However, unless you're going to actually suggest culling people, then the next best thing is reducing further population growth, in nations which are trying to industrialise.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

More stating of the bleeding obvious? Although of course all humans need to be responsible breeders, if they insist on breeding at all, but it seems possible that the 'first world' is gradually realising that.

Anyway a 3rd child is a much worse "evil" than a patio heater; the heater not producing more small heaters that grow up to produce even more small heaters that ...

(BTW we don't need 6 Earths, we need just 1 Earth and a 6th of the people.)

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P.J. O'Rourke put it best

Overpopulation is a way for liberals to practice racism.

Underlying all this is the assumption that those poor, unhygienic dark-skinned babies are less valuable than our clean, wealhty, pink-skinned rugrats. Utter crap, or course.

I do believe that there are too many people in the world. Like people behind such thinking in articles like the one in the Lancet. (Not to mention the editors, etc.)

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The Lancet - a spare magazine, anyone

> Family planning is five times cheaper than conventional green technologies to combat climate change

If push comes to shove, break, and reload, a bullet is cheaper still. Cui Bono? Yes, that tw*t, but not only him.

Running seriously low on ammo, a mass, and am at exactly nowhere.

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Actually

thinking about it, condoms and baby furnances are not the way to go

because condoms just encourage people to have more sex thus making the planet hotter, and baby furnances would just increase the amount of heat being generated on planet earth

No the correct way to reduce the population is for an all out thermo-nuclear war, as this will reduce the population quite nicely and cure global warming with a nice nuclear winter.

Thus leaving my 6' tall radioactive children free to take over the world and enslave humanity.

Well... a roach can dream cant he..............

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AC 1205

You've missed the most obvious option.

Big scaling up with nuclear followed by renewables to keep the whole world in electricity and artificial oil-juice, vertical farming to help provide more food, and a mass-production scale space program to get people offworld.

Cost? Well, it'd be a few trillion.

So not a drop in the ocean, but on a scale that politicians will be dealing with increasingly in the not-too-distant future- and those few trillion would go back into the proper science, tech and manufacturing sectors.

So yeah, a technological solution can be managed and will be managed- when things get bad on Earth it'd only take a few major globocorps to get this sort of thing going.

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Stop

All a matter of money

The business mindset:

More People = More Markets/Consumers = More Money

More People = More Workers in Pool = Lower Wages = More Money

More People + Finite Resources = More Value on Existing Resources = More Money

Why would any company (or government dependent on population support) want fewer people?

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Birth control that works

Trying to reduce the number of births purely by pushing birth control on people is about as effective as trying to stop drug use by making it illegal. The best you can do that way is to cut it down a bit. You have to get them to stop wanting to do it. No one's found a really good way of doing that for drugs, but the solution for birth rates has been known for years, its very simple, and its something people want anyway: high standard of living.

Its a simple pattern, found everywhere in the world (note that, say, british citizens on minimum wage may not reckon they have a high standard of living, and they probably don't compared to other, better off, citizens, but their standard of living is still hugely higher than, say, your average Somalian, or 80%+ of China or India). The non-imigrant population of every 1st world country in the world is dropping like a stone.

There are many interlocking reasons behind this, including but not limited to: the high expense of raising a child in a rich country, people in general and women in particular having other things to do with their lives, people not having children until later in life because of a multitude of other reasons, very low rates of infant mortality removing the need to have many children to guarentee survival of some (takes a while for the culture to catch up with the physical fact), and bunches of others.

The solution is clear, though. Industrialise as fast as possible, go high tech as fast as possible, educate (general literacy, etc), introduce female emancipation if not already present, wait a generation, and watch the birth rate plummet. Its not a quick fix. But its the only one that is guarenteed to work.

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What's all the hubub?

All the 1st vs 3rd comparisons are rubbish. And the baby kilns? Seriously?

This is about as low hanging fruit as you can get. People in industrial countries for the most part have ready access to cheap, effective birth control methods. They can use them or not, their choice.

People in third world countries, not so much. Expensive relative to incomes and in many places difficult to impossible to obtain.

People like having sex, raising babies not so much. Why not make birth control available to anyone that wants to use it? Is the world so devoid of people that we need people raising more babies if they aren't interested in having them?

Lots of old people is a short term problem, but pumping out even more soon to be old people is just kicking the can down the road. No that's not right, it's kicking the can down the road and welding on bits as we go so it gets even bigger. Just as you can't spend your way out of debt, you can't boost population forever to take care of previous population booms that are not aged, it just delays the day of reckoning while making it even worse.

And this may be an unkind thing to say, but keep in mind that no matter how bad the ratio is between youngins and oldins, the problem can't last longer than a single generation (unless we kick the can down the road).

Maybe we are doomed to failure, if even a no brainer like letting people who don't want kids have access to birth control is shot down out of hand.

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Sounds like a variation on...

..."If you do it, you'll go blind!"

Excuse me Lancet, but I would sincerely appreciate it if you could translate and then comply with the following:

LET LEN(PIER) < LEN (WALK)

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Grenade

@Tim Nevins

"I wonder if the US would like to pave the way by leading by example?"

Some of us are trying, pal. The wife and I are planning one more rugrat, for an even two, and stopping there. Unfortunately, that's outweighed by the fanatical 13-child uber-religious families. And every time someone mentions population control, especially among the poor and uneducated, we're shouted down with, "EUGENICS! NAZZZZZZZZIIIIIISSSS! REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS!!!"

At least we still have our guns so that the poor can take care of their overpopulation problems efficiently. "Lemme get this straight, criminal trash are shooting other criminal trash in a moronic attempt to control their garbage-strewn "territory" and out of an imaginary sense of "pride"? Where's the problem?"

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@ Richard 102

And dismissing the concerns as purely racism is a convenient way to justify maintaining your destructive and selfish lifestyle. Before you ask, I'm limiting my white self to two kids because I believe it's the Right Thing to do (cue jokes here). It's not even about how many people the earth can support, it's how many can have a good life of plenty. I reckon that's less than the 6bn odd we have now.

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