by Ben Cohen
A fascinating piece by environmentalist extraordinaire George Monbiot, who persuasively argues that the countries with the fastest growing population pale in comparison to rich Western countries when it comes to CO2 emissions:
A paper published yesterday in the journal Environment and Urbanization
shows that the places where population has been growing fastest are
those in which carbon dioxide has been growing most slowly, and vice
versa. Between 1980 and 2005, for instance, sub-Saharan Africa produced
18.5% of the world's population growth and just 2.4%of the growth in CO2.
North America turned out only 4% of the extra people, but 14% of the
extra emissions. Sixty-three percent of the world's population growth
happened in places with very low emissions.
Monbiot points out that a lot of rich people like to go on about population growth as being a major contributor to global warming and environmental destruction, when their own individual contribution dwarfs that of literally thousands in poorer countries:
Someone I know who hangs out with the very rich tells me that in the
banker belt of the lower Thames valley there are people who heat their
outdoor swimming pools to bath temperature, all round the year. They
like to lie in the pool on winter nights, looking up at the stars. The
fuel costs them £3,000 a month. One hundred thousand people living like
these bankers would knacker our life support systems faster than 10
billion people living like the African peasantry. But at least the
super wealthy have the good manners not to breed very much, so the rich
old men who bang on about human reproduction leave them alone.