David Harsanyi has already written a fine critique about the recent NPR story “Should We Be Having Kids in the Age of Climate Change?”, but the entire NPR article is such a bit of weapons-grade stupidity that as someone who works professionally on energy and climate policy, I need to offer an even more forceful rebuttal.
It’s hard to know what’s more shocking and depressing—that there are large numbers of people out there who take nonsense like this seriously or that our government-funded radio network has reporters credulous enough to report on it without a trace of mockery.
Nobody knows what will happen to our future climate, and you can find estimates from serious scholars ranging from the dire to the optimistic (I lean fairly strongly toward the latter view). But betting that climate will cause catastrophic disruption to human populations, at least in countries like America – changes so disruptive that they would make child-bearing a bad idea – is simply, based on history, a terrible bet. NPR’s piece is a pure form of climate propaganda in which arrogance, both on the part of the reporter and her subjects, masquerades as self-sacrifice.
The article informs us that “scientists and world leaders agree” that a change of over two degrees Celsius ”would trigger cataclysmic consequences” (scientists are agreed on no such thing, and not having crystal balls, it wouldn’t matter if they did agree—they simply can’t know).
One of the stars of the NPR article, Travis Rieder, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins with one child, claims to know about ethics, but he clearly knows nothing about history, which, at least in the developed world, has been rife with failed predictions of environmental doom and a continued under-estimation of human resiliency (a finding extensively documented 35 years ago by economist Julian Simon and built on by countless scholars since).
NPR’s article also profiles another group of women who have been so scared by environmental doom-mongering that they’ve founded an organization, “Conceivable Future” with the founding ideology that “the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis.”
Of course, if one was really worried about carbon emissions, as opposed to simply discredited leftist ideology, one of the best things to do would be to ban almost all immigration from poor countries to wealthy countries since immigrants to wealthier countries inevitably begin immediately to have a much more affluent lifestyle that produces far more carbon emissions. And of course each of these immigrants will have children who will also lead far wealthier, and thus higher carbon-emissions lifestyles than they would have led had their parents not immigrated.
Using our bioethicist’s own logic, ending mass immigration to wealthy countries would also cause the population of those countries to begin falling substantially, just as Rieder wants, since all of them have birth rates that are well below replacement levels. But of course, Rieder, as a dedicated leftist, would never think about banning mass immigration. In fact, he wants exactly the opposite—for wealthy countries to open their borders to tens of millions of “climate refugees.”
#related#A friend of mine recently wrote me that, “The most important fact of today’s politics is that liberals, like vampires, do not reproduce. They have to grow their numbers by infecting new generations.” At some level, I’m happy to leave these people to their own idiocies. They may be sincere and kind in person, and I would never wish anyone to be denied the joy of having a family, but in all honesty, the world will probably be a better place if people with ideas this stupid aren’t contaminating the future gene pool—or the press pool. But, as a father of five, I have to worry about the exposure of my own children to this sort of pernicious and empirically unfounded propaganda, which will assault them in both the media and the classroom. I’d be terribly upset if any of my own children decided to follow the poor example of the people in this story.
“Welcome to memetic warfare,” my friend added, after warning me about the vampires. “Watch your kids!”
Indeed I will, and I will always need to, because, regardless of what happens with the climate, the tides of radical environmentalist stupidity always seem to be rising.