Climate-change activists are mobilizing to cut the birthrate, arguing that richer nations should discourage people having children in order to protect them from the ravages of global warming and reduce emissions.
Travis Rieder, assistant director for education initiatives at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, told NPR that bringing down global fertility by half a child per woman “could be the thing that saves us.”
“Here’s a provocative thought: Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them,” said Mr. Rieder, who has one child.
He proposed procreation disincentives such as government tax breaks for poor people and tax penalties for rich people, a kind of “carbon tax on kids.”
Poor nations would be cut slack “because they’re still developing, and because their per capita emissions are a sliver of the developed world’s. Plus, it just doesn’t look good for rich, Western nations to tell people in poor ones not to have kids,” NPR said.
His paper, “Population Engineering and the Fight Against Climate Change,” written with two Georgetown University professors, is scheduled to be published in October.
Their work coincides with that of Conceivable Future, a New Hampshire-based nonprofit founded on the premise that “the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis.”
The activists insist that they are not advocating a coercive, government-imposed solution such as China’s much-decried one-child policy, but Climate Depot’s Marc Morano said that’s the logical extension.
“U.S. environmentalists are taking a page from China’s mandatory one-child policy even as China abandons the policy,” Mr. Morano said in a Friday statement.
He noted that climate-change groups have also touted the argument that people may have sex less often on a warmer planet, which would presumably lower the birthrate.
“The warmists have now graduated from regulating our light bulbs, coal plants and SUVs to regulating our family size,” Mr. Morano said. “Let’s keep ‘global warming’ out of the bedroom!”
Mr. Rieder’s book, “Toward a Small Family Ethic: How Overpopulation and Climate Change are Affecting the Morality of Procreation,” is expected to be released later this year.