NAS study looked at global one child policy to save the environment

posted at 12:41 pm on October 28, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Global climate change. Sustainability. Erosion of the natural ecosystem. A strain on global natural resources. These are all vital concerns to those who would work as shepherds of the biosphere. And what is the biggest threat to all of these things? You can try to blame it on certain niche factors such as the use of fossil fuels, industrialization, deforestation and the like, but in the end it all comes down to one overarching problem. There are just too many darned people.

So what to do? Well, the National Academy of Sciences recently concluded a study which, in part, examined precisely this problem. Sadly, they have concluded that we won’t be able to trim the herd sufficiently during this century even if we mandate a one child policy similar to China’s all across the world.

Restricting population growth will not solve global issues of sustainability in the short term, new research says.

A worldwide one-child policy would mean the number of people in 2100 remained around current levels, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences…

There may be 12 billion humans on Earth by 2100, latest projections suggest.

Concerns about the impact of people on the planet’s resources have been growing, especially if the population continues to increase.

Looking at the abstract from the actual study, other scenarios were examined along with reducing female fertility. One of the other top contenders wouldn’t cut the mustard either. (Read this part carefully. Emphasis added.)

Assuming a continuation of current trends in mortality reduction, even a rapid transition to a worldwide one-child policy leads to a population similar to today’s by 2100. Even a catastrophic mass mortality event of 2 billion deaths over a hypothetical 5-y window in the mid-21st century would still yield around 8.5 billion people by 2100. In the absence of catastrophe or large fertility reductions (to fewer than two children per female worldwide), the greatest threats to ecosystems—as measured by regional projections within the 35 global Biodiversity Hotspots—indicate that Africa and South Asia will experience the greatest human pressures on future ecosystems. Humanity’s large demographic momentum means that there are no easy policy levers to change the size of the human population substantially over coming decades, short of extreme and rapid reductions in female fertility;

Wait… you mean that even a globally devastating slaughter of two billion people won’t save us? Damn the bad luck.

I’m fairly sure that we are all aware that there is some theoretical limit to how many people can be supported by the planet. Of course, that number has risen exponentially as mankind’s technological capabilities have advanced and we’ve learned to produce more food and materials from smaller areas. But a “cure” for a max population scenario is a rather dubious area of research at this point, without even going into the.. shall we say… tricky question of exactly how you were going to limit these births and how you would enforce the mandate. There should be enough frightening phrases in just that one paragraph above to give anyone pause. But as I’ve noted in a few previous excursions into the work of this organization, you should be reminded yet again… you are paying for almost all of the funding for the NAS.

Now we can all go binge watch a few dozen episodes of Life After People. Enjoy!


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Global Chinese method

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Turkeys

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Why do you think liberals like abortion so much?

Tater Salad on October 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Oh for heaven sake….

sorrowen on October 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Global climate change. Sustainability. Erosion of the natural ecosystem. A strain on global natural resources. These are all vital concerns to those who would work as shepherds of the biosphere. And what is the biggest threat to all of these things? You can try to blame it on certain niche factors such as the use of fossil fuels, industrialization, deforestation and the like, but in the end it all comes down to one overarching problem. There are just too many darned people.

So what to do?

Reexamine the premise.

Axe on October 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

No need for a 1 child policy – just be “incompetent” at dealing with a major lethal virus epidemic – over-population of Mother Gaia solved……

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Simple solution. If everyone that believes this stuff just killed themselves, you know, to save the planet, the problem would be solved.

Flange on October 28, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Remind all of this ahead of the election.

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Thomas Malthus examined the exact same “problem” back in the 18th century, and came to the exact same conclusion: You can’t really check human growth politically, and it will therefore be checked by Mother Nature in some way or another.

Back in his era the number of intellectuals who were anti-human could be counted on one hand; but now, anti-human philosophy is very close to becoming mainstream thought.

Malthus famously failed to take into account innovation in the food supply to support the growing number of people. In animal ecosystems, the animals generally can’t manipulate their environment to increase the food supply; but we can.

And here’s the key fact unknown to Malthus and hated by the anti-human green fascists:

The wealthier a population, the lower the birth rate.

This is true in every society.

So the BEST way to limit population growth is to foster economic growth!

Which means promote free markets and capitalist thought.

We can save the environment by extirpating Marxist philosophy.

Zombie on October 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Maybe all heterosexual(distinction needed)liberals can adopt the reduced fertility option. The world will eventually be a better place.

Tater Salad on October 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Why do you think liberals like abortion so much?

Tater Salad on October 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

You mean Ebola and abortion…

Alinsky on October 28, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Who is having all these kids? Not anyone on the Upper Westside.

vityas on October 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Don’t drink the koolaid!

vnvet on October 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM

A Global Zero Child policy would be even more effective …

ShainS on October 28, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Sigh….

We all know examples that the Left never heard of…
1. Paul Erlichs predictions of starvation in the 1970s
2. Jimmy Carter’s campaign saying we would be out of oil by the 1990s
3. The Simon-Erlich wager

Even when something is completely debunked in one generation, it comes back again in the next, it is like history was never taught and a complete revelation to find out things you think are so new and great have already been said before and been wrong.

timoric on October 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Just another example of the far left’s fascination with the need and justifications for mass murder…

Athos on October 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

A lot of European nations (also Brazil, Iran) are shrinking their populations voluntarily. When a large percentage of children stop dying from disease (as in Africa or parts of Asia) couples seem to voluntarily limit the size of their families. People are not robots. They react to new conditions.

RBMN on October 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Maybe all heterosexual(distinction needed)liberals can adopt the reduced fertility option. The world will eventually be a better place.

Tater Salad

There’s actually a name for this axiom (which ludes me at the moment) which constantly plays out in real life:

Pro-abortion voters tend to have moe abortions, and thus fewer children.

Anti-abortion voters thereby tend to have more children (on average).

It is well-known that parents convey their values to their children, and that overall, on average, people tend to vote like their parents voted, and as adults hold the same values their parents taught them.

So that, when these facts are all combined, the anti-abortion contingent in any population will tend to grow, and the pro-abortion contingent will shrink.

Furthermore, people who are anti=abortion also usually hold conservative political views, so the end result os all this is:

Liberals are aborting themselves to a slow extinction.

Zombie on October 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Self limiting when the takers exceed the producers.

JoeHanson on October 28, 2014 at 12:58 PM

Eugenics!

John the Libertarian on October 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Leftists, if you feel this strongly about overpopulation, please kill YOURSELVES. If you don’t, you are being selfish.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

there are no easy policy levers to change the size of the human population substantially over coming decades, short of extreme and rapid reductions in female fertility;

How about taking the cut off the top- you know- old people.

Happy Nomad on October 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

What is the NAS’ position on immigration, both legal and illegal?

I’ve said for years that if there were ever a viral pandemic to emerge that it would emerge from the bowels of our Liberal run government labs and not the jungles of Africa.

Charlemagne on October 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Eugenics!

John the Libertarian on October 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Eugenics was a big part of the early 20th Century progressive movement.

Indeed, the American progressives inspired a certain German Corporal’s plan to eliminate undesirables with it.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM

How about taking the cut off the top- you know- old people.

Happy Nomad on October 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Logan’s Run.

Define “old”. 31?

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Just another example of the far left’s fascination with the need and justifications for mass murder…

Athos on October 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Every leftist takeover of a nation in the 20th Century led to a mass murder. Every leftist DREAMS of mass murder.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Doesn’t reading stuff like this just make you want to knock someone up?

CurtZHP on October 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Logan’s Run.

Define “old”. 31?

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 1:03 PM

THERE IS NO SANCTUARY.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Hispanics and Muslims will rule the world soon enough.

The West can’t abort itself soon enough. Meanwhile Africa, Middle East and South and Latin America are having babies off the charts.

Demographics, it’s that simple.

Someone Progressive better get hold of those regions and QUICK.

PappyD61 on October 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

THERE IS NO SANCTUARY.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

You also really don’t want to win the lottery and get a trip to The Island…..

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Well, hopefully the Obama administration is as inept at population control as they are at launching websites and stopping people from hopping the White House fence.

bitsy on October 28, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Zombie on October 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Also, the higher the female literacy rate the lower the birth rate.

Plus, Georgia Guidestones. I’m jus sayin.

Akzed on October 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

Hispanics and Muslims will rule the world soon enough.
The West can’t abort itself soon enough. Meanwhile Africa, Middle East and South and Latin America are having babies off the charts.

PappyD61 on October 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

However – the muzzies are also lopping off heads and exploding people all over every place they rule….

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Dear Demoncrats… keep your laws off my body.

bitsy on October 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Get back to me on this when the muslims stop breeding like rabbits.

bofh on October 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM

It doesn’t follow that a smaller population (with fewer young people) is a richer population. Just the opposite. It’s not the 60-year-olds that drive the economy and drive innovation. And in the future, we’re likely to commute electronically most of the time and therefore not have a large environmental footprint. Even in manufacturing, you can direct and monitor robots remotely.

RBMN on October 28, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Zombie on October 28, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Also, the higher the female literacy rate the lower the birth rate.
Akzed on October 28, 2014 at 1:08 PM

The Idiocracy is a fact based documentary…..

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Leftists, if you feel this strongly about overpopulation, please kill YOURSELVES. If you don’t, you are being selfish.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Suicide booths at every leftist gathering!

JoeHanson on October 28, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Oh for heaven sake….

sorrowen on October 28, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Heaven has nothing to do with it, the devil is in the details.

Fallon on October 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

And of course, what would an over-population thread be without –
SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!!

dentarthurdent on October 28, 2014 at 1:13 PM

This all reminds me of Dickens to be honest. Everyone here has to remember Scrooge’s line “Good, they had better do it and decrease the surplus population.” The people above us always have the hubris to assume they know what is best for us. When the elites look at the peasants as nothing more than a resource, bad things happen.

txaggie on October 28, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Even a catastrophic mass mortality event of 2 billion deaths over a hypothetical 5-y window in the mid-21st century would still yield around 8.5 billion people by 2100.

The National Academy of Sciences has a rare opportunity now to save the planet from the scourge of overpopulation. Every time someone shows symptoms of Ebola in West Africa, put them on a plane to a densely-populated Third-World city, so that 50 to 70% of its inhabitants die within two months. Any city that refuses to accept these planes will be condemned as racist in the United Nations. Problem solved.

/Malthus off

Steve Z on October 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Of course the consensus between all the scientists was that they would all be given a waiver from the mass graves, but that would be balanced by having to deal with the daily anguish of deciding who lives and who dies from the remaining population.

Sitting at a desk and pointing to the left or right as the herds of people exit the cattle cars is hard on the joints, what don’t you non-scientific people understand about that?

Bishop on October 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Back in his era the number of intellectuals who were anti-human could be counted on one hand; but now, anti-human philosophy is very close to becoming mainstream thought.

Correction: that should be “anti-human-except-for-us-intellectuals-and-our-friends”.

ajb3 on October 28, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Islam will keep the population down.

At least among non-Muslims.

So, problem solved.

profitsbeard on October 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Islam will keep the population down.

At least among non-Muslims.

So, problem solved.

profitsbeard on October 28, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Actually islamic violence is more muslim on muslim than it is muslim on infidel in terms of raw numbers, though not to the extreme as the skew of black on black crime vs black on non black.

muslims just need people to kill, if no infidels are handy they will enthusiastically kill members of other muslim sects, even their own.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Of course the consensus between all the scientists was that they would all be given a waiver from the mass graves, but that would be balanced by having to deal with the daily anguish of deciding who lives and who dies from the remaining population.

Sitting at a desk and pointing to the left or right as the herds of people exit the cattle cars is hard on the joints, what don’t you non-scientific people understand about that?

Bishop on October 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM

Honestly that is one thing I have never understood about people who want the government to have more power. They always have believe that their views will always be the same as the people in power. If you would have asked anyone alive 50 years ago what they thought of gay marriage, they would think you are insane for even asking that question. I have no idea what will change in another 50 years, and I sure don’t want the government to have the power to tell me what my opinion should be.

txaggie on October 28, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Back in his era the number of intellectuals who were anti-human could be counted on one hand; but now, anti-human philosophy is very close to becoming mainstream thought.

Correction: that should be “anti-human-except-for-us-intellectuals-and-our-friends”.

ajb3 on October 28, 2014 at 1:21 PM

The pseudo-intellectuals are to intellectuals as millennial generation participation trophies are to an Olympic Gold Medal.

Pseudo intellectuals are denizens of a faculty lounge passing a joint around blowing smoke about how smart and learned they are.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

I’m not worried about Global Warming but I am worried about the environment. With our borders so porous and so many coming in, besides the issues of assimilation we are also going to run into growing cities and growing hordes on the government teet, there’s lessening efficiency. We’ve already heard many stories about illegals and drug-traffickers setting fires or littering or etc as they cross the border – I don’t see that as getting any better. And on top of that you have idiotic liberal and government policies that are making the environment worse – those heat-ray solar panels killing off thousands of birds, the terrible drought in California from shortsighted policies, policies that expose us to dangers such as mandating fluorescent lights. We’d be able to feed our own population and more if we didn’t have man-made created droughts and policies that made it increasingly difficult on our farms, energy policies that waste so much on “green” energy which has a worse bang for the buck energy vs effect on the environment.

May be rambling here but I’d like to say to the NAS – how has China’s one-child policy worked out? Their pollution is terrible, their internal strife becoming more and more likely to cause problems (too many men, increasing warlike posture possibly to help vent the excess population/feed it from conquest).
No if the NAS wants to look at a good model – increasing the prosperity and technology of an area seems to lower the need for large large families. I think the US would be more stable if it didn’t need so much wealth to sustain the entitlement society – and that would then lower the need for importing such a large foreign population (and with places like Mexico ceding off large amounts of their population without improving their prosperity they just free up the ability to increase their population even more).

Has anyone else read the Larry Niven book Fallen Angels? Scary how his predictions from 20+ years ago regarding insane environmental policies are coming true.

Ukiah on October 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Nuts! Zeke Emanuel could get this fixed in a couple of years.

butch on October 28, 2014 at 1:34 PM

and yet high birth rates and employment are needed to pay the social services so many feel is a right now.
when the global economy dies again (and it will) there will be a lot of hungry people because we’ve lost the institutional knowledge of how to provide our food.
its been years since I did farming for food but I could probably make it but it would be pretty rough, people in the cities though….they are screwed.

dmacleo on October 28, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Go see Drudge.

The blacks revolt, but not the way the leftist thugs wanted to.

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Go see Drudge.

The blacks revolt, but not the way the leftist thugs wanted to.

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Get back to me when their support for Obama drops below 95%.

Truth of the matter though is that if minority support for Democrats dropped below 80 they’d never win national elections. We need to APPEAL to blacks and latinos, but not by PANDERING. Pandering means be Democrat Lite. Appeal to them by emphasizing CONSERVATIVE SELF GOVERNING PRINCIPLES, freedom, liberty.

But the GOPe is too stupid to do that.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 1:47 PM

The Final Solution to our problem, eh?

Didn’t we already cover this in the Wannsee Conference?

connertown on October 28, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Wait… you mean that even a globally devastating slaughter of two billion people won’t save us?

“We’ve got to try! Our planet’s health is at stake!”

-average progressive

spinach.chin on October 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

If you really want to reduce the population, I recommend these steps, at minimum:

1. Open the borders to diseased illegals and terrorists
2. Arm terrorists and drug cartels
3. Do not by any means block flights from Ebola-stricken nations
4. Weaken the military so that we’re open to attack
5. Abortion on demand, no restrictions
6. All gay, all the time
7. Death panels

Did I miss anything?

The Rogue Tomato on October 28, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Turkeys

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM

OK, that one-word response had me laughing. Because my very first thought on seeing it was, “We’re going to bomb them all with live turkeys?”

Every time someone shows symptoms of Ebola in West Africa, put them on a plane to a densely-populated Third-World city Blue urban center.

/Malthus Machiavelli off

Steve Z on October 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM

FIFY

GWB on October 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Definitely not a cult.
/

Mimzey on October 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Sigh….

We all know examples that the Left never heard of…
1. Paul Ehrlich’s predictions of starvation in the 1970s
2. Jimmy Carter’s campaign saying we would be out of oil by the 1990s
3. The Simon-Ehrlich wager

Even when something is completely debunked in one generation, it comes back again in the next, it is like history was never taught and a complete revelation to find out things you think are so new and great have already been said before and been wrong.

timoric on October 28, 2014 at 12:56 PM

By a staggering coincidence, it says this right at the top of the abstract;

Edited by Paul R. Ehrlich, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved September 15, 2014 (received for review June 5, 2014)

Yes, “Dr. Population Bomb” is still in there pitching. And still demanding the extermination of anybody who isn’t exactly like him.

You first, Doc.

clear ether

eon

eon on October 28, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Maybe all heterosexual(distinction needed)liberals can adopt the reduced fertility option. The world will eventually be a better place.

Tater Salad

There’s actually a name for this axiom (which ludes me at the moment) which constantly plays out in real life:

Zombie on October 28, 2014 at 12:57 PM

I believe the axiom that’s luding you is the “Roe Effect,” frequently cited by the WSJ’s James Taranto.

Barnestormer on October 28, 2014 at 2:24 PM

The watermelons should be the first to volunteer.

Viator on October 28, 2014 at 2:39 PM

How much did they spend on this “study”? I could have saved them the effort. We have passed the lag phase in human population growth and have entered the log phase. No countermeasures can stop or slow a logarithmic growth in a meaningful way. There. Done.

stvnscott on October 28, 2014 at 2:41 PM

God said to increase and multiply but the faux messiah’s diabolical ilk insists that we turn the gifted means he gave us into pure recreation–any way and any how, is fine with the party that boos God and kills off His most helpless humans..

Don L on October 28, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Oh fer Christ’s sake, even the UN has figured out that the population will plateau in about 2050 and then possibly start to slowly decline. Where is the growth? The Middle East (with the exception of Israel) and Europe are demographic basket cases. Likewise Russia. China has it’s own problems stemming from a generation of stupid 1-child policy. This almost sounds like the esteemed members of the National Academy of Science have just been unfrozen from 1970, a la Austin Powers. Attention Academy, the Club of Rome wants its obsession back.

Surellin on October 28, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Great comments, as usual.

And speaking of the War on Women:

there are no easy policy levers to change the size of the human population substantially over coming decades, short of extreme and rapid reductions in female fertility;

Aborting predominantly female infants (especially in the one-child-rule countries) kind of has that effect.

So does killing and enslaving hundreds of “infidel” women, hanging women who defend themselves from rapists, and stoning women “caught” in adultery (how come there never seems to be any men in those hell-holes with the women? Somehow, I always thought adultery took two people, at a minimum).

You could also (per leftist commentators’ expressed preferences) kill off the politically-incorrect breeder-obsessed conservatives, starting with Michelle Malkin and all the Palins.

(I think this is the first Larry Niven reference I’ve seen here.)

Has anyone else read the Larry Niven book Fallen Angels? Scary how his predictions from 20+ years ago regarding insane environmental policies are coming true.

Ukiah on October 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM

(You might want to check out his Inferno as well.)

PS on the predictive power of conservative writers: I have been reading Robert Bork’s Slouching Toward Gomorrah which, though written in 1996 (prior to GW Bush and Obama both), totally nails the political mindset and leftist agenda that has brought us to the disasters of today.

AesopFan on October 28, 2014 at 2:49 PM

there are no easy policy levers to change the size of the human population substantially over coming decades, short of extreme and rapid reductions in female fertility;

Biggest cause of that is having children later. Female fertility basically halves every decade after age 20 until it’s zero by 45 or so.

ConstantineXI on October 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM

NAS study looked at global one child policy to save the environment

No biggie. The next nuclear war or two should thin the herd considerably.

Just call me an optimist.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Does the environment need saving?

Besides, if you go to a one-child policy, how are you going to pay for everyone’s social security and medicare? Those systems are based on an ever-growing population. Without that growth, there’s no way to sustain the spending on the retired folks.

Nethicus on October 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM

I still wait for these altruistic folks to volunteer to leave the planet in order to save it….at least they should head for the Sahara or something with an barren ecosystem they’d prefer–very little population per sq. mile there.

Don L on October 28, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Actually, txaggie, things work fine when the elites look at the populous as a resource.
The problems are generally when they look at the populous as a liability.

Count to 10 on October 28, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Global Chinese method

Schadenfreude on October 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM

China meanwhile is relaxing its policy and will probably do away with it completely within 5 years or so.

DarkCurrent on October 28, 2014 at 4:24 PM

This is right out of Obama Science Czar John Holdren’s mad science manifesto; Eco-Science.

Star Bird on October 28, 2014 at 6:42 PM

It looks like the 1973 “Soylent Green” turned out to be more a precursor to the ultimate goal of liberalism than the science fiction it was supposed to be.

Harvesting people to feed the world solves three problems for the liberals: the environment, the size of the population, and diminishing food sources.

Hmmm… who to harvest, who to harvest…? I’m pretty sure that liberals won’t be harvesting their own. For the liberal elites, the sacrifices are always for others.

BMF on October 29, 2014 at 7:22 AM