Johnno on population

One need only look at the debate about population to understand
the full extent of that institutionalised denial and disconnect. Though
I have studiously avoided banging the population drum on this particular
occasion, I remain astonished that so few people (even at the most progressive end of civil society) are prepared to accept that a continuing
combination of a growing population and exponential economic growth
will put a sustainable world for humankind forever beyond our reach.
Though this is not the place to repeat these arguments, suffi ce it to say
here that any idea of avoiding “the ultimate recession” (the one which will
be induced by climate shocks, worsening inequity, resource scarcity and
collapsing eco-systems) is a total fantasy unless it embraces an unstinting
commitment to reducing average fertility all around the world just as fast,
effectively and compassionately as is humanly possible.

Hmm. Bit of a pity then that the IPCC report, the very one that gives us the prediction of climate change, is based upon the assumption the exponential economic growth is what reduces average fertility then, eh?

You can\’t argue it both ways me old cock. If you accept the IPCC then you have to accept the assumptions it\’s built on. Which is that rising incomes are what reduce fertility.

And at that point we have to leave Jonathan Porrit, Bt, CBE, and his misunderstandings of the world around him. For he himself has run out of things to misunderstand.

What really shines through the whole paper is that he\’s not understood any of the economic arguments being made…not even those of Stern (who he mentions several times), or Richard Tol, Partha Dasgupta, William Nordhaus….the serious people in the debate. How, for example, can you call for a deal to be made, for changes in markets, for an internalising of externalities (which he does) without once mentioning Pigou or Pigou taxation?

That Pigou taxation which Stern points to as a well known and well understood method of dealing with externalities?

Sorry, but this Porritt paper is lightweight fluff and predictably, lightweight fluff packed to the rafters with misunderstandings and even gross ignorance of the very subjects he\’s attempting to discuss.

Nul points Sir.

3 comments on “Johnno on population

  1. Let me be the first to say it: in our quest to reduce the British population, there is one member we could easily get by without…

  2. The problem with your argument, Tim, is that there simply may not be enough world out there to go on delivering exponential economic growth until such time as population increase drops off everywhere. The fact that historically wealth has delivered low birth rates doesn’t guarantee it will be the solution going forward. And maybe the IPCC is wrong on this?

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