A pair of doctors have said that British parents should have fewer children, because kids cause carbon emissions and climate change. The two medics suggest that choosing to have a third child is the same as buying a patio heater or driving a gas-guzzling car, and that GPs should advise their patients against it. Writing in the …
On average, children of environmentally concerned parents will be more 'green' than their peers. if environmentally aware people have fewer children, while non-green (black? :-) ) types still have the usual number, the environmental awareness of society will be lower than it otherwise would be, thus causing a bigger problem in the long run.
What we need to do is limit the number of children of the environmentally unconscious, perhaps targeted mailings (free condoms or coupons for vasectomies? castration??? :-) ) against Hummer and SUV owners...
Someone has to say it...
Somebody has to say what people do not want to hear. Why not doctors? We have been living in a fool’s paradise where cheap energy has allowed a population not possible perhaps 100 years ago. Now as we are starting to see the cheap energy diminish, the ability to feed these people is in question.
If your policy is to have more children in order to support an aging population, then you need to consider how useful this workforce will be if they are unable to support themselves. Perhaps as cheap energy does decrease, the average lifespan will also decrease, thus negating the need for support of the aged?
Huh. I'd thought this was what El Reg wanted!
After all, we keep breathing out CO2, so cutting back on the mouth-breathers should help.
Re: Less children ?
Well, the average age on death has gone up by 10-15 years since "retirement at 65", so why not work another 10 years? That'd give you more workers.
And in any case, corporations outsource all the jobs (except their own) so fewer kids means not fewer workers but fewer people on the dole.
Re: So, WE should reduce our population...
Well, how would you feel if an Ethiopian doctor told *us* in the UK "don't have three kids"? Given how much stick they are getting ("they shouldn't talk on global issues" is a good one: plenty do that here with no education at all!) as doctors in the UK saying what should be done *in* the UK, there'd be a good risk of invasion!
The doctors are only expressing what Malthus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthus, had to say about over-population. And look at the trouble he got into with his theories.
As for the ageing population issue, there's an argument that goes like this:
1. People are living longer after retirement;
2. Therefore, we need a larger workforce to generate taxes for pensions;
3. The native workforce is dwindling so we must increase immigration to help us meet the commitment to a decent pension for all.
There's a flaw in that logic, unfortunately. When this larger workforce eventually hits retirement we will need even more taxes to pay their pensions. So we will need to increase the size of the next generation of workers yet again, ad infinitum. I think we know where that scenario is leading. I believe people should be encouraged to work longer. There is a problem with that proposition of course because of the endemic ageism in society. You need look no further than IT for instances of such an attitude.
Going back to the population-size issue, I suppose the difficulty a lot of people have is conceiving of natural limits, not just to population but also to many other areas of human activity, such consumption. Petrol is a good example. This is a limited resource; most people concede this fact but proceed to consume it in the kind of way that suggests they actually believe it is limitless.
Personally, I don't see ever emerging the kind of global consensus we need to tackle over-population and over-consumption. It's a dog-eat-dog world. Our politicians will continue to sell us a dream of a better tomorrow because that is what we wish to hear. If they say otherwise then we dump them out of office.
For those who still believe over-population is not a problem for us I recommend watching events in West Africa. Distance-wise, it is very much on our European doorstep. There is as yet a tiny trickle of people heading for Europe in their effort to escape poverty. The damage to their environment can only accelerate this mass emigration.
I don't know where you heard that Britain is still having a baby boom but it isn't true.
Almost all developed nations are in natural population decline and have been for decades (only immigration is keeping the ship afloat). A few developed nations are just holding their own in natural population. The world's burgeoning population is all in the developing world.
The problem is that the natural birth rate is so low in the developed world that without immigration the ratio of tax payers to old age care recipients will eventually reach a point that the governments could not longer sustain their social welfare systems. This is why the developed countries are allowing so many skilled immigrants in - it isn't because they feel like giving a piece of the pie to the less fortunate.
This problem was predicted decades before it emerged (the downward trend in natural birth rates was pretty obvious) so I'm surprised more people don't know about it.
As an aside the rate of population growth planet-wide has been slowing since the 1970s due to resource exhaustion but this too seems to be a little known fact. The world's population will not continue to grow adinfinitum. The final figures keep getting revised but last time I checked the world population was predicted to peak at about 9.5 billion sometime in the 2nd half of the 21st century.
Perhaps these idiot doctors should think of the logical conclusion to their idea. Your worth would be judged on the amount you do (e.g.work etc.) against your carbon cost. Therefore, if you're gainfully employed doing a lot of good quality work, you're worth more than a pensioner for instance. Therefore, all unemployed people are the same as pensioners. Cost a lot of carbon for no gain.........................
Next logical step....................
Seems like the Nazis are still around.
Real problem is that we will soon need 3 planet earths to sustain our population and the present rate of resource useage. Need to sort out this global mess for problems way beyond just CO2. UN needs to agree a long term plan to let the population "naturally" decline to 2 billion max. UK at 1.66 seems pretty good to me, but places like India where perhaps it is 5 is a far bigger issue for everyone. Time to take your jacket and step off this mad world.
Hello Mr Godwin! Always a pleasure.
Whats wrong with you people?
Firstly - have to say that carbon emissions is not the biggest reason for proposing population reduction. I think the two docs are band wagon jumping here. Best reason for having less children is to improve our lives - the place is getting crowded and would be more pleasant if it wasn't. Resources are getting scarcer and we are all (well most of us anyway) having to work harder and longer to maintain what is classed as a decent standard of living in our capitalist society. Certainly we need to stop rating our standard of living in terms of wealth and start looking at quality of life instead.
Secondly - to all the people saying population reduction is a bad idea - which planet do you live on? If you can't see that this congested, noisy, overcrowded, overworked, polluted, chaotic, unjust world ain't that pleasant to live in then you are clearly insane. I'm assuming that as you are against population reduction you are in favour of population increase. Which is a clearly a route to some very major conflicts over resources and/or mass starvation. Population will reduce anyway in the end just having less kids is a lot more pleasant route than war and famine.
Thirdly - the argument that children are needed to pay for old people is for the most part nonsense. If all the money that parents spent on children was saved for retirement instead then people could probably retire sooner and wealthier.
Just my £0.02. And loved the Bill Hicks quote - he always did cut through the balls in a truly unique way.
Common sense - well said that man
This would mean there are less bloody kids about - that's a tangible benefit worth having, the carbon saving is a mere bonus. Charlie Brooker said it best
As a species we're essentially a parasite, so less of us would mean less strain on the planet's resources. As the residents of the most carbon using per capita countries it's logical that we should be the ones that act first, children in developing countries are often seen as an asset that can be put to work so we'll struggle to convince them to put bits of plastic on their peckers any time soon.
While economists may talk about the problems of a dependent ageing population that's increasing in size, spawning more sprogs to pay for them is a daft idea and a self-perpetuating cycle. One generation is going to have to eventually take the hit and keep it's own size small while paying a significant chunk of tax for their elders to clear off with some dignity and comfort, and I guess it might as well be us - we've been stitched up by our parents generation plenty already (with things like house prices) so we're pretty used to it now.
On the list of things that should be a factor when having a third child, the extra carbon emissions is so unimportant that it's not worth a second thought.
Its easy to fix
If the effects of global warming are as bad as predicted, there's a good chance _it_ will reduce the population on its own.
If it isn't, well, all to the good, isn't it!
All the policies which seem to be proposed appear to be either cosmetic or worse than the problem! If you want to keep consuming energy at the current rate, going nuclear does appear to be the best of a collection of bad solutions. At least the problems only appear if things go wrong, rather than in the normal course of events. If you do have to reduce the population by half, that could easily be arranged too...
Arrr, that would _Dr_ Blackbeard to ye! There be a disaster on the horizon and I be the first to make a doubloon out of it!
Optimum Population Trust in "talking mince" shock.
The only folk who take the OPT seriously are the journalists and op-ed writers who are the target of their press releases.
Its significant that they bring out the anti-immigration fuckwits, too. By focussing on numbers of people rather anything meaningful like western consumption levels, they enable people to point the figure at those nasty swarthy-looking types and say "see - too many of *them* more like!"
At which point those with a vested interest in the ever-increasing tat-production economy and its associated ecological collapse can breathe a sigh of relief as they not only get let off the hook but start investing in flammable crosses, golliwog dolls and pitchforks.
Always the same response to OPT types: you first, then. I'm off to bring up a brood of class-conscious eco-anarchist kids.
Pensions won't be an issue as the govt are already requiring people to work longer. I won't get a state pension until I'm 67.
As for the population problem, that's been the obvious solution to ecological/environmental damage but we have hard-wired programming to go forth and multiply so it takes some effort to over-ride it.
Economically we live in a system that either grows, which requires more people, or collapses, which kills people. Sooner or later, if we keep growing in numbers, there will be a catastrophic crash, which we may or may not survive as a species.
What to replace our economy with nobody knows but we need to start looking before it's too late for us, and for the planet.
Paris because she provides relief for those of us who fight the reproductive urge. <LOL>
It Looks Like the Climate 'Consesus' Just Jumped the Shark
Now the Eugenisists are on board, next stop is total scientific leprosy.
I was only planning on having the 2 kids, but now I have a strange feeling we'll go for a third.
Pensions and that
People suggesting that an ever increasing birth-rate and population is a good model for a stable and sensible economy are stark, staring mad. Over population is the root of just about every major problem on the planet not caused by religion of one flavour or another.
"Much of the technology, research and manufacture of equipment to realise those resources comes from the first world and the planet is going to continue to rely on the first world for those things for quite some time to come."
Just because the Doctors are spouting piffle that is no reason to follow suit. Much of the above comes from the developing world, the UK long since ceased to be a player in most fields of research, development and Manufacture.
The fifth biggest Manufacturer in the UK is a Supermarket chain (Not Tescos), we really are a nation of Shopkeepers now and the rest of us are either making the equipment the Supermarkets need to sell their wares or growing/making the wares that the supermarkets sell.
The developing world is trying to make their contribution to Industry/research/Manufacture, we (the first world) are living of our past contributions. Lets not get too carried away with our current contributions to the betterment of mankind..................
Whats wrong with you people - part 2
And a few policy suggestions to discourage people from breeding - mostly a little controversial:
- No more free IVF on the NHS. I don't see why I should have to pay tax so people can have kids unnaturally, so that I then have to pay more tax so they can be educated, immunized, locked up, etc
- Contraceptive implants made available free to all when they hit puberty. I seriously feel sorry for these kids that get locked into a cycle of benefit dependency from the age of 12/3. Lets give them a chance for gods sake.
- All our international aid money to be directed into family planning projects. Seriously. Current policy just allows populations to increase beyond the environments ability to sustain them. Lets change the focus to development of long term sustainable populations rather than keeping people alive (and usually in immense poverty and suffering despite the aid) in an environment that cannot provide them with enough to live on. Some parts of our planet just aren't designed to be populated.
Seriously we need to start thinking about it or some of the nightmare scenarios in sci-fi will come true. My favourite was a Robert Heinlein one where the world government declared everyone over the age of 70 legally dead.
Re: It Looks Like the Climate 'Consesus' Just Jumped the Shark
Let me get this straight, Frank - you're now planning to have another child (well, when I say 'have another child' obviously I mean 'impregnate partner', credit where it's due and all that) purely to spite a couple of scientists you've never met?
That is the most awesome justification for procreating I've ever heard.
Physician heal thyself...
...and keep your noses out of issues that are of absolutely no concern to you.
Doctors should focus on the standard of their medical care. There are many excellent aspects of health care in this country but there are also many areas in which doctors' performance could improve and I respectfully suggest that they stick to their knitting and leave environmental issues to someone better qualified to opine on the subject.
Ethiopian children ecofriendly? ... and counting games
Did anyone notice the bit saying that a birth in Britain causes more carbon emissions than one in Ethiopia? Is that maybe because a birth in Ethiopia is more likely to lead to the death of the mother, and the child will probably die young of perfectly treatable diseases or starvation? They can't emit any carbon because they are miserable! Is that what we want for the world?
By the way, both my husband and I have exes, who have new partners that they're not having kids with. Alltogether, those six adults have only four children between them, three of which happen to live with my husband and me. So if you ecowarriors see me with my three kids, remember that in fact, to fulfill the quota of two children per two grownups, we can still have two more!
Surely it would make more sense to euthanize everyone over the age of 70 first?
We give them 5 years of retirement (ample opportunity to knit a hat & move to eastbourne) then it's off to the soylent green plant with them.
Now i'm not as harsh to suggest that we should process & eat the elderly but perhaps they could be recycled into compost/fertiliser so we are only indirectly consuming them.
I think this is a fair & balanced approach myself... anyone else have a better idea?
See you on the next planet!
at last some common sense.
If there was only one person in the world then there wouldn't be any climate and resource issues.
There must be some point between one and the current population that has the right balance. And if we don't find that balance soon were all going to be in a lot more shit than the terrorist could ever cause.
With regards to human consumption of natural resources (irrespective of your beliefs on the causes of global climate change), then yes this is absolutely the right thing to do. Allowing the world population to continue to grow unchecked will be disastrous.
Our ability to maintain an ageing population in this country is a different matter.
Paris, as she knows something about supply and demand, along with unforeseen consequences.
I love all the casual talk about "population reduction"...
...from all the neo-Malthusians in the house. So who's going to be the one to decide who lives, who dies and who commits genetic suicide then? You lot? I think I've seen one comment in this whole thread (Mark) that made any practical suggestions (e.g. why the Hell do we support IVF etc?), but in order to achieve real population reductions in a timeframe that would have any meaningful impact you're talking about some pretty nasty stuff, and at a global level, because whilst its correct that wealthier populations produce fewer children, they also use far more resources per head, so economics won't come to the rescue, especially as the two largest countries in the world are the ones increasing their per capita resource use the fastest.
So personally, I think we need to shut the hell up about population reduction before someone takes us at our word and starts picking and choosing who's going to die. Apart from anything else, we're human beings for fuck sake, NOT parasites; evolution gave us a brain to get out of desperate situations, not just so that we could sacrifice the rest of the tribe; we should be thinking of ways to survive with style. Right, get to it.
It is rather simple and painless to implement a population control strategy. Simply pay child benefit to the first child only and you could even go as far as to only pay it to mothers who conceived over the age of 18.
It would certainly make parents of teenagers think long and hard about what their daughters are doing if they knew the state wouldn't support any drunken accidents.
eugenics - you've gotta love it... But every few generations someone pops up presenting it as an answer to all our woes.
Re: Elderly First?!
Why wait till 70?
Retire EVERYONE over 60 immediately. Five years living and then off them.
You should allow them to cash in their annuity as a lump sum and have inheritance tax on anything left over.
Heck, you might not be able to last long enough at 60, so make it 55.
People keep harping on about "we can't have more kids because who will look after the old people".
So, perhaps the Policy should be, for each child over the 2-per-couple allowance, we sacrifice a grandparent?
"...there was only one person in the world then there wouldn't be any climate and resource issues."
Well, there would be something of an HR issue.
Theres nowt wrong with patio heaters
Patio heaters use a minimal amount of fuel and should not be painted in a bad light.
"We're already heading for trouble finding enough tax payers to support increasing numbers of OAPs."
There are and never will be trouble finding enough taxpayers to supprt the OAPs -- it's all rubbish. There are more than enough immigrants coming to the country each year to fund the elderly and then some.
The gov. should stop participating in illegall wars if they want to save a few billion quid
Surely this will be killing the future income of atleast a third of the population? Not too mention making benefits cheating harder, thus depriving them of much needed flat screens and beer money. They may even be driven to find a job. The right to bear children and then get the state to pay for them, ot atleast give the parent the money to spend on bear.
I get your point and raise you one......
"However, perhaps the Government needs to look into ways of stopping families from producing limitless numbers of kids with no means of supporting them other than benefits? That would also have the added benefit of reducing the strain on the tax-payer."
I have four words for you:
Education, Education, Education, Reform.
Make kids go to school, don't let them leave till they know enough to be productive, scrap the welfare state and rebuild it so that it cant be used to sponge off. Easy?
The above requires work and effort, the people who we will rely on for that work and effort are Polititions and Civil Servants........... Who are a bunch of lazy, inefective and freeloading bastards.
In short they wont do it, cos its hard....
What will they do instead?
They will tell me how many times I may play hide the salami with the Mrs. Why, because its easy and they like telling me what to do.
Meanwhile, while I am busy selling beans and not procreating/speeding/smoking/getting fat/producing CO2 etc, they will be busy with their expenses forms soaking up more of the countries resources than all of chavdom x 2, so you will excuse me if I don't sound too enthusiastic about the Government 'doing something' to tackle the problem......
"It is rather simple and painless to implement a population control strategy. Simply pay child benefit to the first child only and you could even go as far as to only pay it to mothers who conceived over the age of 18.
It would certainly make parents of teenagers think long and hard about what their daughters are doing if they knew the state wouldn't support any drunken accidents."
Agree completely - in fact maybe that benefit for the first child could get bumped in value every few years as long as no further kids have appeared.
In addition I think we need some kind of legislation around parental responsibility where parents are punished for the crimes of 12-17 year olds. We'd soon see the little brats behaviour improve if the parents were going to get punished for their crimes.
The only downside to using financial levers to control population is it is biased towards the wealthy and I really don't like the way it discriminates against the poor. We need to discourage the poor (and everyone) from having kids til they are old enough and educated enough to handle it - not discriminate against them alone.
Maybe have a tax escalator to improve the fairness - so people on 40% tax rate get bumped another 10% for every child.
"Retire EVERYONE over 60 immediately"
I think you'd find that most productive work in the UK would cease. Much of our economy (well, what's left of it) depends on people in or around that age group. That may not be a good thing, but while so many of our yoof show little interest or aptitude for real work, then we need to hang on to those who have.
BTW, cutting out all carbon emissions from the UK would leave 98% of them in place, so if they really are important, other solutions may be necessary.
Add crack cocaine to the pill
Give it out freely and the only women who will have babies will be those who will have the will power to get themselves of it (and who are far more likely to make decent mothers)
Immovable objects and irresistible forces
Why do I suspect a canal barge of green nappies is headed for a converted windmill as we gaze on.
So many different and wonderful ways to really offend people... curse the Moderators (but only very gently, a plague of hats would be nicely suitable).
Do you have to be an 'out of control eco-nazi' to think that the 4th most densely populated country in the world could perhaps be...y'know...a bit less densely populated. They DID talk about a sustained 0.25% pa decline - hardly a catastropic reduction. At that rate it would take a century to get down to 46 million, and nearer 2 centuries to get down to their target population size.
Paris, cos this is a shagging thread.
Said that the optimum population for the UK was 33 Million back in 1992 when I did it.
But the government will do some kind of voluntary thing which means nothing will happen and yadda yadda... just like ofcom, the advertising people etc etc.
But not for pollution...
They should instead employ population control for people who obviously cannot pay to take care of their child. Thus causing us huge tax bills.
ten child ten father mothers should be shot...
Re: if... but...
Curse the Moderators? But if we didn't let people speak their minds, we'd be censoring. We can't win!
I'd quite like one of those 80s sun-visors, please, I dunno if that qualifies as a hat.
At the risk of being labeled racist...
...are there not 'certain ethnic groups' who have 3+ children.
They've got a cheek
First they lower infant mortality, then they increase life expectancy, finally they invent fertility treatment - and now they're blaming *us* and telling *us* not to procreate.
People use resources, therefore people are responsible for resources running out (and possible climate change). Therefore more people = more problems with lack of resources.
Doctors deal with population control every day of the week. So WTF are you lot going on about Drs not being qualified to talk about this? F3ckin idiots!
I would say a lot better qualified than a bunch of IT bods.
If anyone has ever studied populations and modelled their behaviour you will know that they are limited by lack of resources, disease and lack of space (oh and in the human race, War too).
So go ahead if you want, multiply have as many children as you can it'll only shorten the human races life expectancy even further and who knows i may even be alive to witness the downfall and laugh and say i told you so................
Where's my carbon credits?
I have no kids at all therefore I should be receiving carbon credits to sell to those that want more surely?
If you live longer, you should work longer; I'm in my late twenties and expect to work to 75. I have no interest in supporting an aging population who want to have their cake and eat it by living longer but not working longer - the taxes I'm paying for their pensions are what will cause me to delay my retirement. State pensions should be based on a ratio of years worked to current life expectancy.