Stop making babies to reduce global warming

The other day, as a favor, I posted a scientific article from a friend of mine, Dr H. Harrister, PhD, who conclusively showed that fitter people have larger carbon footprints than do fatter people. You might remember Dr Harrister from his famous paper showing that zombie attacks will increase due to global warming.

Unfortunately, because of sloppiness on my part, several readers came to the conclusion that Dr Harrister, PhD’s paper was satire. That is to say, a joke. Far from it. That paper was just as rigorous and valid as the dozens that now appear monthly in scientific, peer-reviewed journals the world over.

As evidence of that, we have the essay by John Guillebaud, PhD and Pip (yes, Pip) Haye, MD, in the very prestigious British Medical Journal. The title of their work “Population growth and climate change: Universal access to family planning should be the priority.” For my slower readers, I emphasize that they use the familiar euphemism “family planning” for “contraceptives and abortion.”

These eminent authorities start their editorial by claiming

The world’s population now exceeds 6700 million, and humankind’s consumption of fossil fuels, fresh water, crops, fish, and forests exceeds supply.

Their statement is true, it must be true because it’s in a science journal. I suppose I am stupid because I have not seen wide-spread global famine or thirst or lack of lumber or sushi or etc. But these appalling conditions must exist or these men would not have said the use of resources currently “exceeds supply.” I am grateful for having learning something new.

It’s actually worse than this because each year there about 80 million new mouths to feed, or about 1.5 million a week by their calculations, which “amounts to a huge new city each week, somewhere, which destroys wildlife habitats and augments world fossil fuel consumption.” Anybody notice where they’re putting these cities? I haven’t been out to the Dakotas, but the people I’ve met from there have always acted suspiciously. You also can’t trust the Chinese.

Although this paper is, as I have said, scientific, they do make a mistake. They say “In 1798 Malthus predicted that as the population increased exponentially, shortfalls in food supply would be unavoidable.” Actually, Malthus did not say this. Malthus predicted that the population (of any species) will always be as large as the available food supply allows, barring war, disease, and other activities that increased deaths or suppressed births. Mathus’s theory was a steady-state one occasionally effected by “shocks.” But never mind that. Everybody makes this mistake about Malthus.

More importantly, the authors turn to “unmet fertility needs and choices”, by which, again, they mean increasing access to “contraceptives and abortions”; the later word they are unable or unwilling to expose.

They say “economists overlook the fact that, everywhere, potentially fertile intercourse is more frequent than the minimum needed for intentional conceptions.” Economists, those with academic PhDs, might have overlooked intercourse for pleasure, but I can assure you dear reader that I have not. I can’t answer for your own spouses, of course. Anyway, they scientifically state that, even though theory doesn’t predict it, “having a large rather than a small family is less of a planned decision than an automatic outcome of human sexuality.” Now I know!

Because of this mysterious, and anti-theoretical outcome, “Something active needs to be done to separate sex from conception” (emphasis mine). Guillebaud and Haye suggest giving out contraceptives (yes, they finally use that word). I’d say free televisions and cable subscriptions would have the same effect. Either way, handing out condoms and pamphlets explaining their use tends to happen in places where the population get richer and starts caring more about themselves than others, which “is consistent with normal consumer behaviour.”

Prophylactics are not the only recourse we have to discourage the “automatic outcome of human sexuality”. We also have soap operas!

The Population Media Centre [in Iran] uses serial radio dramas or “soaps”. Audiences learn from decisions that their favourite characters make—such as allowing wives to use contraception to achieve smaller and healthier families.

Thank God for government soap operas because, as we all know but rarely publicly state, people really are too stupid to think for themselves, aren’t they? I’d also suggest government-sponsored pictures of dirty diapers on milk cartons so that first thing in the morning as potential parents prepare their frosty flakes, they can see the horrors that await them as the result of the “automatic outcome of human sexuality.”

But what about the global warming menace?

The Optimum Population Trust [where both the authors work] calculates that “each new UK birth will be responsible for 160 times more greenhouse gas emissions . . . than a new birth in Ethiopia.” Should UK doctors break a deafening silence here? “Population” and “family planning” seem taboo words and were notably absent from two BMJ editorials on climate change. Although we endorse everything that those editorials recommended, isn’t contraception the medical profession’s prime contribution for all countries?

Unless I’m reading this wrong—and I admit to being in a different scientific class than our authors—they are advocating that doctors’ “prime contribution” should be contraception and abortion services. So much for healing ills and curing the sick. Well, they are the doctors, not us, and they do correctly note that “Unplanned pregnancy, especially in teenagers, is a problem for the planet.”

They rhetorically ask “Should we now explain to UK couples who plan a family that stopping at two children, or at least having one less child than first intended, is the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren?” The answer is obvious, my dear readers.

Incidentally, Guillebaud is an expert on contraceptives: he “has received fees and expenses from manufacturers of contraceptives for educational presentations, research projects, and short term consultancies.” But so what if he makes an extra buck from the government endorsing his plan? We’re trying to save the plant here, folks.


  1. Wade Michaels


    I look forward to the day when Roe v. Wade and other abortion decisions are overturned because it’s no longer a woman’s right to decide, it’s the state’s.

    Imagine a Judge Judy show where she requires some girl to get an abortion because not doing so would increase CO2 and cause the neighbor’s poison ivy to grow too much….

    It’s so stupid it’s funny.

  2. Guillebaud

    I am serious about this. I wish my mother had been using contraception when I was conceived. That is how serious I am. No. More. Babies!

  3. Joy

    I’m losing my funny bone. I can’t laugh about this study but I should.

    The BBC “The One Show” covered this story about three weeks ago. Not one of the presenters seemed to express humour, outrage or even surprise at the finding. I cannot say whether there has been more than one “study” of this kind but I can only assume/hope that the source was the same. Suspiciously, the presenter Adrian (who’s surname I cannot recall and worked for the programme “working lunch” which deals with finance and the stock market on channel four) didn’t even raise an eyebrow at the story. Is there some sort of experiment afoot to see how silly an idea can be presented to gage the public response? Or are we simply being worn down so that we stop objecting? I think the latter. It wasn’t the story so much as the response that worried me.

    Sadly, I see the same tactic used by MSM in other moral and political issues that would otherwise go against the grain. It was effective in those cases and I am more than a little worried that the strategy is the same in the AGW debate. It’s quantity not quality argument that seems to rule the day. Such is the consensus argument and the consensus approach is to throw enough mud so that some of it will stick. What sticks for one will not stick for another. Each individual that gives up the moral imperative to question AGW theory does so for their own entirely different reasons at an emotional/subconscious level. Provide the public with enough reasons and you cover all bases so to speak. So stupid as this article is, it will find its natural level of effectiveness somewhere in a sympathetic ear. Like spam or advertising.

    Mr Briggs: (this is off topic, but there was nowhere to put it)
    Speaking of quality over quantity, how about a study into the gold medal table? By my estimation which includes bias although refuses to account for it, Great Britain is at the top. No fancy statistics were needed to come to this conclusion, just calculated the population sizes versus number of gold medals. I used the wishful thinking method. Quantifying uncertainty was determined unnecessary and over rated. I am, therefore confident that my finding is robust. I will have to wait until the events are over to finalise my numbers. They could use a little tweaking but they are essentially correct

  4. Joy

    My sarcasm detector is not working any more due to RSI so I wasn’t sure if you were really really serious in your last comment.

  5. Joy

    ahah Guillebaud!
    have done some sleuthing and have spotted your name further up!!
    clearly you are funded by big condom.

  6. Briggs

    Joy, do you have the table that you can email?

  7. Bob Hawkins

    You can offset 100% of your carbon footprint by killing just one person.

    I’m just sayin’.

  8. Briggs


    You’re on to something, I think. Maybe you and I can testify as expert witnesses at the murder trials run by exceptionally clever lawyers using “global warming mania” as a defense.

  9. costanza

    I suppose we could always refer to “A Modest Proposal” for alternate ideas.

  10. Bob

    Really, the government should have complete control of those pesky population units. How else can we get them to respond as planned?

    If this is an example of today’s serious academic research, then the decline and extinction of the species is inevitable.

  11. Bernie

    The “global warming mania” defence will apparently have more weight (carbon footprint that is) in Britain than in Ethopia. Of course, in the US it is such an issue it will lead to dismissal of all charges during pre-trial motions and the DA will instead charge a handy fossil fuel executive with being an accomplice before the act. (See J. Hansen)

  12. Demesure

    “humankind’s consumption of … fresh water … exceeds supply.”

    Supply of fresh water lacking ???
    Gosh, put some bureaucrats backed by such “scientists” in the Sahara and soon, they’ll import sand to meet supply.

  13. “I suppose I am stupid because I have not seen wide-spread global famine or thirst or lack of lumber or sushi or etc.”

    Perhaps you are not paying very much attention – Environmental degradation kills 62 million people each year.

    I want you to know I subscribe to your blog and find it a little bit amusing because it’s so ill informed and your making fun of obvious facts border humor.

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