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. 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. Turner – a long-time advocate of population control – said the environmental stress on the Earth requires radical solutions, suggesting countries should follow China’s lead in instituting a one-child policy to reduce global population over time. He added that fertility rights could be sold so that poor people could profit from their decision not to reproduce.
“If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,” Mr. Turner said.
“If we do it the wrong way, we can divide the world,” Ms. Robinson said. “A lot of people in the climate world could communicate this very badly.”
But critics contend it has not only interfered with reproductive choice, but contributed to high levels of female infanticide and abortions.
For his part, Mr. O’Neill said he was not advocating any particular policy, although he noted that global surveys suggest there is a vast, unmet demand for family planning, and just making contraception universally available on a voluntary basis would drive down the birth rate.