Talking about climate change inevitably brings up huge shouting matches. But let’s put that to one side for a moment and just start insisting that those who do urge action on it actually read the reports that lead to the urging of action. As The Guardian quite obviously isn’t here:
The fact is that it is in the very poorest countries where women have the most children, on average. And where population growth slows, generally economic growth speeds up, and carbon emissions rise faster. This happens on a global scale and even within countries – certainly within the poorer ones where there is most scope for population control, and where, also, the potential for industrialisation is greatest. It is unclear which is cause and which is effect: it is likely that they play off each other. And in some cases, perhaps, population policies go hand in hand with economic reforms. Only in the wealthiest countries, though, which already have lower fertility rates, are these links weakened or even broken.
This phenomenon raises the counterintuitive possibility that curbing population growth could generate higher global emissions than would otherwise be the case.
No, that’s not something you’re allowed to do. For, as the SRES, the economic models upon which the whole game is based, have entirely the opposite assumptions baked into them. A richer world has a smaller population. And those richer, smaller, worlds have lower emissions than poorer and more populated ones. Other than the entirely extreme world of A1FI that is (and really, nobody believes that coal is going to provide 50% of energy in 2100).
Economic growth leads to falling fertility and thus a smaller future population. The combination of these two is part of the solution to climate change, not part of the problem.
It is, of course, fine to have differing views on the subject itself. But we’re adamant that whatever your views are they must at least be consistent with the evidence that leads you to them.