You are here

Questionable framing of population issues in relation to climate change

Sins of Hot Air Emission, Omission, Commission and Promission (Part #7)

[Parts: First | Prev | Next | Last | All] [Links: To-K | From-K | From-Kx ]

Curiously, in the days immediately prior to the UN Climate Change Conference two indications regarding the significance of population growth for climate change have been published:

Slower population growth... would help build social resilience to climate change's impacts and would contribute to a reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in the future.

However the timing of this unprecedented acknowledgement ensures that the link cannot be effectively considered in either the climate change models on which the Copenhagen negotiations are based or in the months of negotiations preceding the event. Were the implications of the link too "hot" to handle? (Maria Cheng, UN: Fight climate change with free condoms, Associated Press, 18 November 2009; Ben Webster, Birth control: the most effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, TimesOnline, 19 November 2009; (Natasha Gilbert, Curbing population growth crucial to reducing carbon emissions, Nature, 18 November 2009).

Such considerations can usefully be seen in the context of the decades subsequent to the interdisciplinary consideration of world dynamics that gave rise to The Limits to Growth (1972) study in which the population factor had been included. Thereafter that systemic approach was successfully marginalized as irrelevant, if not deprecated, as described by Graham Turner (A Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Thirty Years of Reality, CSIRO, 2007). By whom and why?

Converging Challenges
alienated relatives destined to meet -- but when?
Converging Challenges: End is Near (Overpopulation) Converging Challenges (Global Warming)
Hidden in the shadows
of collective unconsciousness
Focus of conscious
public concern
Brothers differently engendered
by the unmentionable "other end"?

[Parts: First | Prev | Next | Last | All] [Links: To-K | From-K | From-Kx ]