Monday, June 29, 2009

Deep Greens in high places

In the London Times:

UK population must fall to 30m, says Porritt

JONATHON PORRITT, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society.

Porritt’s call will come at this week’s annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), of which he is patron.

The trust will release research suggesting UK population must be cut to 30m if the country wants to feed itself sustainably.

Porritt said: “Population growth, plus economic growth, is putting the world under terrible pressure.

“Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”

… However, Porritt is winning scientific backing. Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, will use the OPT conference, to be held at the Royal Statistical Society, to warn that population growth could help derail attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Rapley, who formerly ran the British Antarctic Survey, said humanity was emitting the equivalent of 50 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

“We have to cut this by 80%, and population growth is going to make that much harder,” he said.

These recommendations are a lot more radical than what we have heard publicly from, say, John Holdren, Obama's science advisor, but stem from the same kind of Deep Green, Ehrlichite doom-saying mindset.

Porritt has a blog, which reveals that he is strongly opposed to nuclear power. Expanded use of nuclear power is the most readily available way to produce energy without emitting carbon. So cutting carbon emissions without using non-carbon-emitting power sources, yes, that does seem to require population cuts. To cut population by only 50%, but cut carbon emissions by 80%, would also require severe poverty for most of the remainder. Burying all the (30,000,000!) corpses would provide "shovel-ready" work for those remaining, and sequester the carbon in the bodies. Incineration would be counter-productive.

I feel like I need a shower, from thinking about this stuff. This is supposed to be responsible policy debate? Why isn't this kind of thing consigned immediately to the lunatic-rants bin?

There's more on this at Belmont Club, with a goodly number of comments.

This story is a few months old; I missed the Belmont Club post, and just came across it at Dr. Weevil.

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