The Corner

Think Globally, Cull Locally

The anti-western anti-human totalitarianism of the environmental movement grows ever more explicit. I’m very sad to see my old friend Alex Renton reduced to peddling this sort of self-loathing claptrap:

The worst thing that you or I can do for the planet is to have children. If they behave as the average person in the rich world does now, they will emit some 11 tonnes of CO² every year of their lives. In their turn, they are likely to have more carbon-emitting children who will make an even bigger mess…

In 2050, 95% of the extra population will be poor and the poorer you are, the less carbon you emit. By today’s standards, a cull of Australians or Americans would be at least 60 times as productive as one of Bangladeshis… As Rachel Baird, who works on climate change for Christian Aid, says: “Often in the countries where the birth rate is highest, emissions are so low that they are not even measurable. Look at Burkina Faso.” So why ask them to pay in unborn children for our profligacy..?

But how do you reduce population in countries where women’s rights are already achieved and birth-control methods are freely available? Could children perhaps become part of an adult’s personal carbon allowance? Could you offer rewards: have one child only and you may fly to Florida once a year?

After all, based on current emissions and life expectancy, one less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place.

Speaking of genetic predispositions, Alex’s dad was a Tory minister under Mrs. Thatcher — whereas Alex would appear to be more comfortable with Soviet-style restrictions on freedom of movement: Agree to abort your kid and the state will get you a special exit visa for two weeks in Florida.

Even if you overlook the control-freak totalitarianism, the argument is drivel. Much of “the rich world,” including three-sevenths of the G7 (Germany, Italy, Japan), is already in net population decline. And in those parts that aren’t, such as the United Kingdom, population growth is driven almost entirely by mass immigration: Those Bangladeshis with their admirably low emissions move to Yorkshire and before you know it develop a carbon footprint as big as your guilt-ridden liberal environmentalist’s. Thanks to immigration, Britain’s population is set to swell by 15 percent, with attendant emissions increases. So why not call not just for compulsory sterilization but an end to immigration, too? Keep all those Bangladeshis in Bangladesh, where they can’t destroy the planet. Ah, but that would all get a bit complicated for Guardian readers, wouldn’t it?

Alex will get his way. Much of “the rich world” has essentially opted for voluntary extinction. The notion that the planet will be a much cleaner place left to the tender mercies of the Chinese pollutoburo, the new caliphate, and the exploding megalopolises of coastal Africa might strike many as somewhat fanciful. But no doubt the last three Guardian-reading liberal environmentalists extant will still reckon it’s all our fault.

[UPDATE: Alex finds time to praise the results of China’s population control. Boy, there’s an environmental paradise.]

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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