n Couples + (2 x Kids) = World - z Quality Environment

...where "n" equals current number of couples worldwide and "z" equals an unspecified but somehow measurable "amount" of environmental quality.

From Chuck Colson's BreakPoint on Friday:

In February, Jonathan Porritt, the chairman of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission, said that couples with more than two children were placing an “‘irresponsible’ burden of the environment.”

...[S]ix weeks later, he upped the ante: he declared that the UK must cut its population from its current 61 million to 30 million “if it is to build a sustainable society.”

Really? It's that simple? Huh, who knew? It sounds so certain and data-based, doesn't it?


Hey, Allen, look how many more children the world would support if we just got rid of spammers: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2345380,00.asp
Is there any indication of the lack of war, famine or other stressers? Or that they would decrease upon the influx of Moslems to Europe?
Allen - I hadn't heard that about the '98 high. I think that if you're comparing to '95, then even though it was a record high at the time, every year since then but 2000 has been hotter. See: http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2009/01/global-temperature-graph.html http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/ I'm okay with claims that we're over-consuming, since there's not enough resources for everybody to live the way we Americans do, and we're much more egregious about it than most other 1st-world countries. It may not be a problem, though, if we can increase efficiency or practices before we break anything permanent. Meh. Anyway. I'm looking forward to your next part.
Thanks Ben, Lee, Jason and Claudia for the good comments. Sorry I've been a tad too slammed to join in the discussion. Ben, as for the '98 high, my understanding is that the academics on both side of the debate leave that macro-level data point out as an outlier for the reason you point out. But perhaps I've got my facts wrong on the common treatment of that number. One complaint I received on Facebook, when I posted this, was that my post is all mockery and no counterargument. And that's actually a fair point. My intent was more to communicate "Look, it seems to me that the 'reality based community' - as the progressives like to call themselves - seem to claim that data and science uniquely support their claims, but then look how crazily fast and loose they play with causal claims. It's just dressed up dogma. That the same crowd that wrongly claim that scientific and economic data support their climate dogma and economic policy is making this claim about how data supports the idea that the world population needs to shrink is a pretty sure sign that it doesn't." But it's a fair challenge to expect a counterargument at some point, and I'll look for an opportunity to do so in the near future. Again, thanks all.
Jason - actually, it doesn't presume upward mobility - it only says what will women will choose *if* they have upward mobility. But can you find me an example of a first-world country that doesn't give women upward mobility enough to get birth control and an education? So yes, I think countries will continue to modernize, and as they modernize, fertility rates will decrease - barring war, famine, or other "stressors" which tend to increase fertility rates.
Also Ben that presumes women will gain upward mobility. In many societies there is no such thing as upward mobility.
Oh by the way LeeQuod, there was a greater population of Asians then Englishemen during the Great Mutiny. Demography is not necessarily destiny.
"Birth rates are highly correlated with poverty, development and education - typically as women gain upward mobility they have children later and fewer of them. " I believe it was also said that societies as they become more modern become less religious and it was also said that we had reached an end of history. Not all women in the world are Frenchwomen. If a society gives prestiege to childbearing it will give birth to children.
Parts of the Middle East and Asia are growing fast, along with most of middle Africa and parts of Central and S. America. Birth rates are highly correlated with poverty, development and education - typically as women gain upward mobility they have children later and fewer of them. I think it's a bit silly to say "it's different this time" just because the projections were wrong in the '60s. Mankind has gone through many famines and resource wars in the past, even since the Industrial Revolution.. so how can you say everything will be okay if you haven't really examined the facts? Allen - a small nitpick: 1998 was the last highest global temperature, in the El Nino cycle. But it's really not relevant, as 10 years is short by climate standards. This is what you'd expect from normal weather variability, and doesn't prove or disprove AGW.
LeeQuod, it doesn't work that way. When people decide the government won't protect them, they either get a new government or protect themselves. If that sort of thing is kept up at a serious rate it will provoke anti Islamic terrorist groups. Which will make London into Northern Ireland and reduce everyone's population.
Jason Taylor wrote: "one wonders how they plan to go about it." Simple - allow homicidal, radical Islam to flourish in British cities. Sure, it takes a while to get real population decline, one suicide bomber at a time, but most of it *will* occur among descendants of the Angles, Saxons, and Celts. And speaking of Islam, isn't that religion's population increasing the fastest partly because they absolutely proscribe birth control? So if anyone really believes that our world population is growing too quickly, shouldn't they be seeking to change attitudes in Muslim areas of the Middle East and Asia? (I'd be willing to chip in to buy both Porritt and Fedoroff an airline ticket each. And hey, we could probably save a few bucks by making them one-way, in anticipation...) "Porritt-Fedoroff Maximum Human Quantity Limit" - that's absolutely classic, Allen!
The typical English methods of decreasing population to make a sustainable society is sending them to Australia or America, taking over the world, and plundering Frenchmen. As those methods are now politically incorrect, one wonders how they plan to go about it.
Since they were predicting, back in the '60s, that we would run out of food by the 21st century (and that didn't come to pass), it's hard to believe someone has dug up that old, wrong, idea. Don't we have enough bad new ideas w/o recycling the old ones?
Jason Taylor wrote: "Which will make London into Northern Ireland and reduce everyone's population." Which was my point in response to your original wondering about how they'd do it. If you can't plunder France, you can copy their accommodation of Islam within Western Europe. :-/ You also wrote: "Demography is not necessarily destiny." True, but demography can take quite a short-term hit; just ask Catherine and Zoe about Africa.

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