The population explosion in poor countries will contribute little to climate change and is a dangerous distraction from the main problem of over-consumption in rich nations, a study has found.
It challenges claims by leading environmentalists, including Sir David Attenborough and Jonathon Porritt, that strict birth control is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The study concludes that spending billions of pounds of aid on contraception in the developing world will not benefit the climate because poor countries have such low emissions. It says that Britain and other Western countries should instead focus on reducing consumption of goods, services and energy among their own populations.
Yes, it’s true that the destitute have low carbon emissions (although not quite as low as the report would have it: much forest clearance is slash and burn agriculture).
Yes, it’s true, that if the children of those currently on a $ a day remain on a $ a day than the number of them won’t make that much difference to climate change.
However, this is entirely ignoring the assumptions we’ve already made about climate change and the causes thereof.
Which is that those on $ a day will not remain so.
So, the report as a whole is intensely stupid: we have already, in making our calculations about what climate change there might be in the future, assumed that the poor will no longer be poor. We cannot therefore turn around and say we can beat the results of that assumption we’ve already made by saying that the number of the poor doesn’t matter. For, as above, we’ve already assumed that the poor will no longer be poor, thus their number does indeed matter.