Over Population isn’t Real Threat to Environment. Rich White People Are.

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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.