Here's a problem with the global warming campaign I can't get out of my head.
Let's assume the dark outlook is right. Let's assume we act on it. Let's assume we stop the growth in energy expenditure per capita - maybe even cut it in half.
That's all fine - but the world's population is growing, so we're going to end up at the energy usage levels we dread; it's
just not going to be reached at 7 billion people but at 10 or 14 billion people.
So we're going to run into global warming-type problems in the end anyway. Will it really matter to the coastal populations of the world whether their homes are flooded because of 10 billion other people and not 7?
I doubt that very much.
Unless of course we can stop population growth. What is the only* known cure against insane population growth: Wealth. The richest countries consistently have the lovest population growth. Who uses the most energy? The richest. Of course there's the related problem that we can't invest in making the poor rich and childless if we're investing all our money in climate change.
This is kind of a Malthusian counterpoint to the Pascal climate wager people are throwing around. Using Pascal's Wager** - as in that pretty stupid video - strikes me as a criticism of the climate movement, not a recommendation. Especially in the light of the complete absence of demographic concerns in the debate.
* (OK, there's two: Untreated disease (e.g. AIDS) is the other)
** Imagine the horrible consequences if you don't believe in God and he does exist. It's safer to believe to avoid the risk.Posted by Claus at January 21, 2009 04:18 AM | TrackBack (0)