Posted 13 July 2012
A move by the Royal Society of New Zealand to lokk at what it calls the "human carrying capacity" of our country, has provoked an interesting discussion within our Coalition ranks.Start with reading a paper by Dr Tim Ball of Canada, linked here
Dr Tim Ball on Population
Overpopulation has been the issue from the start. The Club of Rome took the Malthusian argument that population would outgrow food supply and expanded it to claim that with fossil fuel driven technology overpopulation would expand and outgrow all resources. It followed Ehrlich's 1968 book "The Population Bomb". In it he predicted
“The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”
“Four billion people—including 65 million Americans—would perish from famine in the 1980s.”
“In ten years [i.e., 1980] all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.”
It is amazing Ehrlich has any credibility left at all but he is still in the thick of things. So is his co-author on other population publications John Holdren. He co-authored a 1969 article with Ehrlich that claimed, "if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.” Holdren, as science Czar in the White House, was in a position to make this prophecy a reality.
The Club produced the first grossly simplistic linear trend computer models and published the results in "The Limits to Growth" in 1972. In fact, the Limits to Growth “World3” model was not intended to be predictive. “In this first simple world model, we are interested only in the broad behavior modes of the population-capital system.” The “population-capital” phrase is telling because it links the catastrophic population predictions of Ehrlich with the economic system. Does this sound like a blueprint for something?
Holdren was a fully paid-up member of The Limits to Growth club. For example, in his 1971 Sierra Club book, Energy: A Crisis in Power, he declared that, "it is fair to conclude that under almost any assumptions, the supplies of crude petroleum and natural gas are severely limited. The bulk of energy likely to flow from these sources may have been tapped within the lifetime of many of the present population." Because of this view Holdren joined with Ehrlich and John Harte in a bet with economist Julian Simon that five metals would increase in price over ten years because of increasing scarcity. Holdren was assigned the task of selecting the metals and the time. Simon easily won the bet.
Some believe people should not exist. Holdren thinks they should be limited and controlled. Here is his a totalitarian list of proposals.
Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not;
• The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation's drinking water or in food;
• Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise;
• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.
• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.
He disavowed these ideas in his Senate hearing for appointment as Science advisor for Obama. (Something about Leopards and spots)
Paul Ehrlich’s credibility was shattered briefly but the idea of overpopulation had gained political momentum. By 1994 his predictions were already completely wrong but this did not stop the United Nations, with the enthusiastic support and attendance of Al Gore, holding a population conference in Cairo, Egypt.
What better place to hold the conference with the teeming, hungry millions outside the conference hall? They ignored the fact that the Netherlands with among the highest population density also had among the highest standard of living.
In the questions after my session section (with Anthony Watts and Patrick Michaels) at the Heartland in Washington somebody asked if ocean acidification would be the next big issue. I said no, because as the climate vehicle carrying these ideas of the dangers of overpopulation failed they would revert back to basics, overpopulation.
The stupidity of the whole exercise is that populations decline with development, it's known as the Demographic Transition, as I wrote about here. (includes some of the material mentioned above.)