Control Population to Limit Climate Change

As the world looks to Copenhagen for solutions to a changing climate, China's vice-minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission has expressed a viewpoint that has generally been overlooked or ignored - that it may be more effective to limit world population growth than to limit CO2 emissions per se.

As a result of the family planning policy, China has seen 400 million fewer births, which has resulted in 18 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions a year, Zhao said.

The UN report projected that if the global population would remain 8 billion by the year 2050 instead of a little more than 9 billion according to medium-growth scenario, "it might result in 1 billion to 2 billion fewer tons of carbon emissions".

Research at the London School of Economics has suggested that money expended on family planning reduces CO2 emissions more efficiently than money expended on hybrid vehicles or solar and wind power.


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The climate has been changing even before the human population increased. It has been warming since after the peak of the last Ice Age. The success of the human species in increasing its population is largely due to the disappearing of the ice since after the last Ice Age, since before the Industrial Revolution, and which is continuing even today.

The problem here is that even those scientists who agree in climate change are divided between two camps: 1) those who say we are entering into a new Ice Age, and 2) those who say we will be entering into an era of climate warming. This is therefore not a settled issue.

If you listen to the new Ice Age advocates, the action to bring down CO2 levels will even hasten the coming of this ice age. So we should not be surprised if the public is divided because the scientists are not unanimous on this matter.

Personally, I think both groups are wrong, and I suspect that the lack of agreement on the conclusions is due to the flow of money which is the real subject matter in Copenhagen. Scientists should forget Copenhagen because politics and finance is going to distort scientific conclusions. Take note that Copenhagen is not talking about the forests. It is talking about control and redirection of industrial development via limits to CO2 emissions.

There is not yet enough scientific data for the arrival of a proper conclusion. For example, without a determination in terms of the aggregate capacity of the biosphere to absorb CO2, then the worry about increase in CO2 levels may be unfounded.

Then there is the fact that carbon related emissions are heavier than air, and therefore we should not expect CO2 to increase its levels in the atmosphere because it will eventually precipitate. And there is the matter of thermodynamics which make improbable that 400 ppm of CO2 will have any impact on the 999,600 ppm of nitrogen, oxygen and water vapor in the atmosphere. A direct association in terms of heat transfer and association is not possible given the percentages.

While it is true that deforestation has diminished the ability of the biosphere to absorb CO2, there has yet been no determination as to how much human and microbial activity contribute to absorption (NASA have said that 50% is absorb by plankton and other ocean plantlife). The activity of people to store food, clothing, build homes, and increase its population including livestock (all of these being carbon related materials) has not been given numbers or included in the discussion. The symbiosis between the flora and bacteria in the production of Oxygen, CO2, methane and water has not been quantified.

And then there is the wobble of the Earth which definitely will change the climate patterns of the planet, this has not also been factored in or that its contribution has been isolated. Definitely, the change in surface positions relative to the sun is expected to shift the occurrence of seasons in the different places.

And back to deforestation, the dynamics here involve hydrologic activity (the release of vapor and the retention + deposition of water in aquifers and forests lands), the release of oxygen, and the deposition of CO2 into the soils in the form of wood and leaf decay residuals. Scientist are not even talking about this in terms of being able to give specific quantities of the total production mix, and how each element produce will impact on one to the other and vice versa. For example, how much more heat will water vapor absorb from the sun if its quantity will go up to 5%. Without factoring water into the equation, considering that there are more clouds in the sky than CO2, any attempt to make a conclusion will be automatically false.

And finally, no scientist is talking about the increase of moisture in the atmosphere, and the constancy of the saltiness of the oceans as indicators of where the waters from the ice caps are going. If the oceans have not been diluted by the melting ice, it means that the waters did not stay in the oceans. If the waters do not stay in the oceans because of evaporation, two things are false about the Gore predictions: 1) the ocean waters will increase its levels, 2) increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Also, Sarah Palin is likewise wrong. Both Palin and Gore are in error together with the polarized scientists who are behind each.

In conclusion, it is not CO2 that is changing the weather; it is the water that is moving its locus from the ice caps to the atmosphere plus the Earth's wobble.
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Cola, I'm less concerned about the prospects of a worldwide policy (which I agree is unlikely to ever happen), but I'm very concerned about the damage to Western liberal democracies this sort of thinking could produce. The intellectual argument for population control is once again becoming more and more mainstream:

There's a good chance this thinking will slither away as it did after the 70's, but the outcome is never certain and it's still shocking how stupid ideas like this can take hold of seemingly intelligent people.

Anyway, toodaloo - I'm off to buy more tinfoil.
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Of course, no serious climate (or any other kind of) scientist thinks population control is a solution.

1) We're not going to go out and kill 40% of the population, so this would have to be a long-term (multiple generations) "solution." We don't have that much time to solve the problem.

2) 68% of the world's electricity is consumed by 36% of the world's people. From just that, it's clear that population control isn't a solution at all.

3) Efficiency and consumption control are the solutions. If the US and China implemented California's efficiency standards, we'd gain some 50 years on the problem instead of having less than 10 years.
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Alfalfa, do you understand things like metaphor and sarcasm? Such a thing is currently impossible. Even if all the world leaders wanted to get into bed together because they're the bestest of best friends, there are so many sore feelings between different groups of people that this will NEVER HAPPEN. Human are tribalistic, and they think in terms of groups. My ultimate group is humanity, but every group is trumped by the next smallest group. My country, my ethic group, my religion, my state, my town, my family. We want to control our resources, just like a child doesn't want to share her legos, to serve the needs and interests of our group. The way that huge groups of people completely dehumanise whole other groups of people should be evidence enough for you that this is complete nonsense. Even if someone goes, "hey, wouldn't it be great if we could all just get along for the sake of our entire species?" it doesn't matter! He or she is one among billions who are too self interested and tribalistic to make it work.

As it stands, look at how ineffectual a body like the UN proves to be. Member nations use its influence and money to serve their own needs and screw over their rivals routinely. Look at how the American government manipulated them to get the political clout to invade Iraq for just a minor example.

Like it or not, nations have to work together, but none of them like each other enough to want to actually give up their sovereignty to merge. Nations are more likely to split, a la Pakistan and India or Chekoslavakia (sp?) in spite of crap like the UN or the League of Nations.

There's your freaking "fresh taste of reality." Could you sound more like a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy crank?
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