An academic has come up with a way of slowing down climate change – but there’s a catch.Dr Travis Rieder believes that the world’s growing population is the key to slowing global warning, and the world’s birth rate should be reduced.He wants the world to adopt a ‘small family ethic’, going as far as ‘pursuing fertility reduction efforts’ in a defence against climate change.
Dr Rieder, a moral philosophy professor and bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University, explained he has faced a backlash since making his views public.
In an effort to defend his stance, he has addressed the arguments commonly used against him, and explained why they are untrue.Dr Rieder said: ‘Many people reacted to my work on procreation ethics by saying climate change will not be so bad, and so curbing individual desires, such as having children, in its name is unnecessary fear-mongering
‘Many coastal cities will be completely under water, and all low-lying island nations will likely have to be abandoned.
‘Hundreds of millions, if not billions of people could become climate refugees, as their homelands become uninhabitable.’
‘Environmentalists hate babies’
This is plainly untrue, Dr Rieder says – in fact, he has a child himself.
Rather than environmentalists failing to see the value of humans, he argues that it is the opposite.
In fact, I would argue that it is more ‘anti-life’ to prioritize creating new life over caring for, or even not harming, those who already exist.
Can the economy grow with lower population growth?
‘The problem here is that we have a finite resource – the ability of the Earth’s atmosphere to absorb greenhouse gases without violently disrupting the climate – and each additional person contributes to the total amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
‘So although humans will hopefully save us (we do, in fact, desperately need brilliant people to develop scaleable technology to remove carbon from the air, for instance), the solution to this cannot be to have as many babies as possible, with the hope that this raises our probability of solving the problem.’