Global warming and over-procreators: “What about Coercion?” asks eco-professor.

Dr Philip Cafaro, who teaches on environmental philosophy and ethics at Colorado State University, has recently written a paper arguing that not just halting but actually reducing the number of people alive may well be necessary to stop global warming:

Ending human population growth is almost certainly a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for preventing catastrophic global climate change. Indeed, significantly reducing current human numbers may be necessary in order to do so.

Dr Cafaro goes on to argue that the threat of global warming means that any policy other than one which “significantly supports reducing the size of the current human population” simply cannot “pass ethical muster”. Therefore:

We should support policies that limit human numbers, not just in the poor countries that are conventionally understood to be overpopulated, but in rich ones, where each additional person generates
much larger amounts of greenhouse gases

Dr Cafaro, perhaps a little paradoxically, portrays this as actually protecting people’s rights. Such is the threat posed by global warming, apparently, that not only having children must be curtailed, but also buying stuff and consuming as well:

In order to protect the human rights to life, health and subsistence
in the crowded world we have created, we must limit excessive consumption and excessive procreation. Both steps are necessary, since one without the other cannot solve the problem of growing emissions and rising temperatures

So, it seems that according to Dr Cafaro, as well as “significantly reducing current human numbers” global warming also means that we can no longer be free to buy the car, TV, or computer we want. We have to limit such “excessive consumption” as well as our children. And not just people in the West, but also those irresponsible breeders in non-Western nations. As Dr Cafaro explains for our benefit:

Another way to put this point is that people who are overprocreating, wherever they live, are threatening the human rights of future people. In Bangladesh and Niger, overprocreators are creating people who are likely to suffer from extreme weather events, droughts, and lack of food in the decades to come

Damn those selfish overprocreators! If only we could somehow reduce their numbers, ey? Dr Cafaro is so concerned about them he has written  anti-immigration papers like “The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States” which is available on the website of the Center for Immigration Studies. Well, we wouldn’t want “the human rights of future people” (i.e. people who don’t actually exist) to be threatened do we? Much better to significantly constrain our rights to buy what we want, eat what we want and have the number of children we want now than to possibly infringe on the sacred rights of the future people which Dr Cafaro and other environmental ethics professors are concerned about.

 

16 responses to “Global warming and over-procreators: “What about Coercion?” asks eco-professor.

  1. Pingback: Start By Killing Yourself | Real Science

  2. Excellent post & welcome back!

    • Thanks Alex and and everyone else for the kind comments. My posting will be very irregular still as I am very busy with other work these days, but when i see something worth drawing to your attention I will certainly do so.

  3. Ditto from Down Under.

  4. More totalitarian wingnuts here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_virtue_ethics

    Great to see you back, HTL!

  5. Clearly this asshole doesn’t know the population has been declining. Those “damn procreators” in poor countries are not overpopulated, but underpopulated. It’s people like this who are killing our future, not saving it.

  6. @HTL, there has been a discussion recently at Climate Resistance about the “preserving the planet for future generations” meme, which you might find of interest:
    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2012/02/bring-back-war-bring-back-violence-more-killing.html

  7. It makes perfect sense really. Assume that in order to save humanity from the effect of CO2 induced climate catastrophe it is necessary to reduce CO2 emissions to the preindustrial level (1750 say). We also have to reduce population to the the 1750 level in order to maintain a 1750 lifestyle for the remaining population. If population isn’t reduced the we could only allow each individual to have 1/10th of the 1750 lifestyle without producing more CO2 than our goal of preindustrial CO2 production by humans allows.

    Many people have noted this some time ago. Preventing climate catastrophe under the projections isn’t simply a matter of turning out a few lights or using windmills. We cannot feasibly do things like switching to 100% solar/wind power because the amount of CO2 released in producing solar panels & wind turbines (assuming 2% annual replacement) is greater than the preindustrial level. To reduce CO2 emissions to preindustrial levels requires scrapping most of civilization.

  8. If Dr. Cafaro wants to reduce the population, he could try leading by example.

    “Overprocreation” is a serious problem, but the best solution probably runs counter to Dr. Cafaro’s preferences. It is pretty well establihsed that economic development reduces “overprocreation”.

    The idea that there is an unconditional, unrestricted, natural “right” to procreate is also very questionable.

  9. This guy sounds a lot like Dr. Mengele to me, the angle of death. Those nasty vermin like humans are ruining the pristine earth and must be eliminated so the superior humans like me can have it all to ourselves. Problem is all the IPCC models are all wronged. It has not warmed for over 15 years now. Read the German book The Cold Sun and know the truth.

  10. As Julian Simon and Buckminster Fuller explained many times over population “control” has already began-its called technology. Prosperity brings with it the psychological calm to get by with fewer children.

  11. Yes, I was wondering where you’d got to as well. Good to see you again.

  12. Climatologists love to talk about energy being trapped by carbon dioxide and thus not exiting at the top of the atmosphere (TOA.)

    It is nowhere near as simple as that. All the radiation gets to space sooner or later. Carbon dioxide just scatters it on its way so you don’t see radiation in those bandwidths at TOA. The energy still gets out, and you have no proof that it doesn’t, because you don’t have the necessary simultaneous measurements made all over the world.

    In the hemisphere that is cooling at night there is far more getting out, whereas in the hemisphere in the sunlight there is far more coming in. This is obvious.

    When I placed a wide necked vacuum flask filled with water in the sun yesterday (with the lid off) the temperature of the water rose from 19.5 deg.C at 5:08am to 29.1 deg.C at 1:53pm while the air around it rose from 19.0 to 31.9 deg.C.

    What did the backradiation do at night? Well from 9:15pm till 12:05am the water cooled from 24.2 deg.C to 23.4 deg.C while the air cooled from 24.2 deg.C to 22.7 deg.C.

    According to those energy diagrams the backradiation, even at night, is about half the solar radiation during the day. Well, maybe it is, but it does not have anything like half the effect on the temperature as you can confirm in your own backyard.

    This is because, when radiation from a cooler atmosphere strikes a warmer surface it undergoes “resonant scattering” (sometimes called pseudo-scattering) and this means its energy is not converted to thermal energy. This is the reason that heat does not transfer from cold to hot. If it did the universe would go crazy.

    When opposing radiation is scattered, its own energy replaces energy which the warmer body would have radiated from its own thermal energy supply.

    You can imagine it as if you are just about to pay for fuel at a gas station when a friend travelling with you offers you cash for the right amount. It’s quicker and easier for you to just pay with the cash, rather than going through the longer process of using a credit card to pay from your own account. So it is with radiation. The warmer body cools more slowly as a result because a ready source of energy from incident radiation is quicker to just “reflect” back into the atmosphere, rather than have to convert its own thermal energy to radiated energy.

    The ramifications are this:

    Not all radiation from the atmosphere is the same. That from cooler regions has less effect. Also, that with fewer frequencies under its Planck curve has less effect again.

    Each carbon dioxide molecule thus has far less effect than each water vapour molecule because the latter can radiate with more frequencies which “oppose” the frequencies being emitted by the surface, especially the oceans.

    Furthermore, it is only the radiative cooling process of the surface which is slowed down. There are other processes like evaporative cooling and diffusion followed by convection which cannot be affected by backradiation, and which will tend to compensate for any slowing of the radiation.

    This is why, at night, the water in the flask cools nearly as fast as the air around it. The net effect on the rate of cooling is totally negligible.

    The backradiation does not affect temperatures anywhere near as much as solar radiation, even though its “W/m^2” is probably about half as much.

    And there are other reasons also why it all balances out and climate follows natural cycles without any anthropogenic effect. This is explained in detail in my peer-reviewed publication now being further reviewed by dozens of scientists.

    http://principia-scientific.org/publications/psi_radiated_energy.pdf

  13. Great to see you posting again!

    This is eugenics all over again, re-packaged by control freaks on the far left and sold as “saving the planet”. It is not surprising that the next logical step is “post-birth abortion”:

    http://www.mandm.org.nz/2012/02/10262.html

  14. The Second Law can be illustrated with a hose used as a siphon to empty a swimming pool, for example. It works if the other end of the hose goes down a slope and is significantly below the bottom of the pool.

    The water flows and entropy increase because we have a single process. The SLoT requires a single process, as is obvious in everyday life.

    If you cut the hose at the highest point you now have two processes, and the water no longer goes upwards from the pool.

    Any heat flow from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface is a single completed process. The energy is not constrained to return by radiation or to do anything in particular. It could be conducted elsewhere in the surface for example.

    Because it is a single process from atmosphere to surface, there is no justification for saying that any subsequent process can create a net effect and thus excuse the violation of the Second Law. It would be like water flowing uphill to the town’s water tank on the basis that it would subsequently flow further downhill through pipes into houses. But there is no constraint enforcing this, as there was with the siphon before the hose was cut. After all, the tank might leak.

    Hence, thermal energy cannot transfer spontaneously from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface. Fullstop.

    See my publication Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

    http://www.webcommentary.com/docs/jo120314.pdf

  15. freedomactionnow

    It says here that the land area of the earth is 148.94 million sq km, and that the population is 6,928,198,253. Call it 6.9 billion. Round both off to 7 billion people, 150 million km^2.

    That’s 46 people/km^2. A lot of that is of course not all that habitable, and places like Tokyo run about 2600 ppl/km^2. But there’s still a lot of land area that just needs a bit of terraforming. And if that were done, we could grow more crops, more food, and keep the population growing until we finally figure out how to go somewhere else.

    Max: “To reduce CO2 emissions to preindustrial levels requires scrapping most of civilization.”

    To do that reduction would mean returning to a preindustrial life-style, where life was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.

    That is not acceptable.

    Neither is “scrapping most of civilization”.

    henry: “This guy sounds a lot like Dr. Mengele to me,”

    Or Dr Strangelove in the movie.

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