Climate change and population control can make for a politically explosive mix, as media mogul Ted Turner demonstrated Sunday when he urged world leaders to institute a global one-child policy to save the Earth’s environment.
Mr. Turner spoke at a luncheon where economist Brian O’Neill from the U.S.’s National Center for Atmospheric Research unveiled his study on the impact of demographic trends on future greenhouse gas emission, a little-discussed subject given its political sensitivity.
Mr. O’Neill’s study concluded that a rapidly rising global population is contributing to an acceleration of emission growth, and that widespread availability of family planning could reduce the amount of emissions reductions required in 2050 by as much as 30 per cent.
Mr. O’Neill acknowledged that discussion of climate change and population is a political minefield. The Roman Catholic Church has condemned any such connection, while developing countries resist rich-world prescriptions that they should limit their populations.