10/05/2007

Having large families ‘is an eco-crime’

The neo-Malthusians in the OPT (Optimum Population Trust) have this week issued a press release promoting the idea that one way to offset carbon dioxide emissions is to have smaller families.

They argue that Britain’s population is getting too big and that if couples opted to have two children instead of three they could cut their family’s carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.

John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said: “The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.” He further says: “The decision to have children should be seen as a very big one and one that should take the environment into account.”

OPT’s press release states:

“Based on a 'social cost' of carbon dioxide of $85 a tonne, the report estimates the climate cost of each new Briton over their lifetime at roughly £30,000. The lifetime emission costs of the extra 10 million people projected for the UK by 2074 would therefore be over £300 billion.

“A 35-pence condom, which could avert that £30,000 cost from a single use, thus represents a 'spectacular' potential return on investment – around nine million per cent.

“Population limitation should therefore be seen as the most cost-effective carbon offsetting strategy available to individuals and nations – a strategy that applies with even more force to developed nations such as the UK because of their higher consumption levels.”

In other words, Forget that penny-pinching capitalist production methods have been destroying the plant since the advent of the industrial revolution, the real problem there is a bloody big hole in the ozone layer is because Brits have a penchant for the occasional shag.

Whilst the report may cite consumption levels in industrial society as being paramount, nowhere does it criticise the culture of consumption which capitalism actually depends upon and promotes. Indeed, nowadays, the profit merchants are hell bent on instilling in us false needs, continually bombadring us with adverts that tell us we have not got enough, that we have not got the latest, that our lives are not complete unless we surround ourselevs with every available gadget and piece of technology on the high street.

Once again, another problem that is very clearly rooted in how our world is organised for production is laid at the feet of the workers. Capitalism again comes away unblemished.

1 comment:

Simonfromlondon said...

The difference between Malthus and the OPT is clear - several billion more people on the planet. You're right to criticise the capitalist culture of consumption, but wrong to think that a forecast 50% rise in the world population over the next 40 years should not also be seen as a contributor to resource depletion and global warming. We need to challenge both for a better future.