Population Control for Climate Change

If you really wanted to do it, here’s how



Image from Ben & Jerry’s

Population control to fight climate change is wrong, but if you’re going to do it, then do it right. Forget the poor, who contribute next to nothing to climate change. ‘Control’ the rich.

This is of course not what people mean when they say overpopulation, they mean the unwashed hordes, breeding uncontrollably; the classic, classist fear since Malthus. Since forever really. This fear of the poor was always wrong, and it’s wrong today. When it comes to climate change, the problem isn’t overpopulation, it’s overconsumption. It isn’t people, it’s profit.

A rich person emits as much carbon with one vacation as many Africans do in a year. A rich person’s food, water, and fuel usage are also exponentially more. So please, leave the innocent poor alone. If you’re going to go Thanos on climate change, go Thanos on the rich.

Who Emits Most?

50% of the population accounts for 86% of emissions. And it’s not the bottom half, not the dirty poor having dirty children. It’s the global rich. Eliminating the richest people will basically eliminate climate change, or at least limit it to what they’ve already baked in.

If you want to save more people (ie, yourself), then maybe settle for reducing emissions by half. To do that you just need to reduce the population by 16%. You guessed it, the top 16%.

These numbers include all emissions, including stuff you have no control over. If you just live a saintly life in America you still inherit emissions from the infrastructure and the nature of the national grid. These ‘controls’ basically call for eliminating America, and there’s a lot of poor people in America that don’t deserve it.

So let’s look at another measure, which is lifestyle consumption. These are things you can control though — let’s be clear — the ultimate responsibility is on the 100 companies, 33 banks, and the captive governments that let this happen despite knowing better.




Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.