COUPLES who have more than two children are being “irresponsible” by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the government’s green adviser has warned.
Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.
A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning.
It\’s stupid in two ways.
The first is that it doesn\’t matter, in population terms, how many children each woman has. What matters is how many are had on average. And every industrialised country (bar the US, for reasons to do with high immigration rates) has a fertility rate below replacement. Below the 2.1 which leads to a rising population (absent things like increasing lifespans etc.).
So, we already know how to get the birth rate down, as we in fact have already done it. Get people to being fat and happy and they\’ll have fewer children. So it\’s economic growth that reduces the population.
The second reason that it\’s stupid is that abortion and contraception aren\’t what reduce fertility levels. It\’s changes in desired fertility that do. 90% of the change in actual fertility levels comes from those changes in desired fertility caused by becoming fat and happy. Only 10% comes from the availability of mechanical methods to put that desire into effect.