Monday, December 10, 2007

The unspeakable arrogance of bearing children

Recently we saw the story of Toni Vernelli, the British woman who killed her unborn baby and had herself sterilized because of her desire to "save the planet" from the ecological destruction her offspring would surely cause.

I noted at the time that the logic of the CoGW -- that all necessary means should be taken to reduce humanity's carbon emissions -- leads inescapably to conclusions like this (though most adherents haven't thought it through completely).

Now I have come across news of an Australian researcher who likewise recognizes that the bearing of children runs counter to the AGW Moral Imperative (to coin a new term -- I hope you're taking notes). As reports in a December 10 article:
Having babies is bad for the planet, and parents of more than two children should be charged a birth levy and annual tax to offset the "greenhouse gases" their child will be responsible for over his or her lifetime.

At the same time, those who use and prescribe contraceptives and sterilization procedures should earn tax relief for such greenhouse friendly services" that help to keep the population size down.

[...] In 2004, former Prime Minister John Howard's government announced a drive to counter the declining birthrate, urging parents to aim for three children, and offering families a financial incentive that currently stands at around $3,670.

But to Barry Walters, clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia, that undermines the campaign to fight global warming.

"Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing, but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society," he wrote in an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia Monday.

"Far from showering financial booty on new mothers and thereby rewarding greenhouse-unfriendly behavior, a 'Baby Levy' in the form of a carbon tax should apply, in line with the 'polluter pays' principle," he argued.

Walters said Australian parents who have more than an agreed number of children -- he cited a population-limitation advocacy group as suggesting a ceiling of two -- should pay the cost of planting trees to offset the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) the additional children will produce. (Trees absorb CO2, which along with other greenhouse gases is often blamed for climate change.)
If you think this sounds suspiciously like part of China's population-control model, you're right. It's a comparison that Walters seems to embrace (minus the occasional coercive abortion, perhaps):
Walters implied that the controversial population-control policies in place in China and India should be emulated.

"As citizens of this world, I believe we deserve no more population concessions than those in India and China."