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Population impact (split from Is global warming the most urgent environmental crisis ?)


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3 hours ago, swansont said:

Pretty sure. That’s something like evidence or data, right?

Crude evidence and data need comprehending. What you linked in no way shows what the situation would be without immigration. In countries with a high inflow, the "crude birth rate" is hugely raised by the incomers, partly because they are mostly young and fertile, and partly because they often come from societies that traditionally have big families. And that effect can persist over a few generations, before the family sizes align with the new country. 

And I include myself in that category, as both my parents were Irish, and I have six siblings, whereas most of my school friends were from families of one or two kids. 

5 hours ago, Peterkin said:

When people have no water, the threat of barbed wire and machine guns doesn't stop them: their only choice is to move or die

Right. But 7.7 billion people need three times as much water as 2.5 billion. And create three times as much climate change. Species that are now going extinct due to the level of human population would still be around, not lost for ever. Everyone bangs on about peoples' rights. What about the rights of other creatures to a life on this planet?

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55 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Crude evidence and data need comprehending. What you linked in no way shows what the situation would be without immigration

It’s literally the situation without immigration skewing the numbers. Immigration is a zero-sum game. You’re talking about the what happens after immigration. 

But you can’t claim country X is doing a great job because its population is going down, when all that’s happening is that people are leaving in droves. Those people will still impact the environment. It’s just happening somewhere else.

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7.7 billion people need three times as much water as 2.5 billion. And create three times as much climate change

My fellow Americans will be relieved to know they have no more of a climate change impact than anyone else in the world. We were being told different.

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

Crude evidence and data need comprehending. What you linked in no way shows what the situation would be without immigration. In countries with a high inflow, the "crude birth rate" is hugely raised by the incomers, partly because they are mostly young and fertile, and partly because they often come from societies that traditionally have big families. And that effect can persist over a few generations, before the family sizes align with the new country. 

Two generations. I looked this up last time the subject of population with regard to climate change was raised, and I won't keep repeating the same tiresome task every time someone raises it again. How many children do you and your siblings each have? (I and mine - 0.) That's one sample.

Another factor is standard of living, educational attainment, women's role in the economy, infant mortality, access to contraception..... scads of factors. 

Here is just about everything you need to know. https://ourworldindata.org/fertility-rate

1 hour ago, mistermack said:

Right. But 7.7 billion people need three times as much water as 2.5 billion. And create three times as much climate change. Species that are now going extinct due to the level of human population would still be around, not lost for ever.

Well, obviously! So, I guess you should have stopped population growth back then. Many tried, in many different ways and places. They failed. Humanity did not change the way it does business or the way it does life. Mass extinctions and megadeath are inevitable. 

 

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

Everyone bangs on about peoples' rights.

I don't think everyone is banging on the about the same rights.

2 hours ago, mistermack said:

What about the rights of other creatures to a life on this planet?

They lost that when H. sapiens climbed to the top of the food (and every other) chain.  

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5 hours ago, mistermack said:

But 7.7 billion people need three times as much water as 2.5 billion. And create three times as much climate change

No, it is closer to 1/3 making most of the global warming; it isn't a direct relationship. Rather it is a direct relationship between total fossil fuel use and climate change - and fossil fuel use can be avoided. 

From original thread, not copied over -

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I think using zero emissions energy decouples global warming from population. Not entirely but the biggest part of it.

Population matters but I think global warming is not an unavoidable consequence of high population - and it is unhelpful as well as wrong to presume it. Unhelpful because believing it true means believing there is no solution that doesn't involve significant population reduction and there aren't any nice ways that can happen quickly and even the ways to do it as a global priority by controlling birth rates still risk crossing over into crimes against humanity territory. Unhelpful because it supports the argument that the cure will be - must be - worse than the disease and committing - really committing - to fixing the problem must lead to global tyranny that regulates fertility.

But it is an avoidable consequence of high population and committing - really committing - to fixing the climate problem can accommodate the natural human urge and desire to have children and climate policy can butt out of people's family lives.

There will be issues arising from high populations and continued population growth but they don't have to be climate issues. A high population using clean energy can make less emissions and global warming than a low population using dirty energy and (as others have noted) education, access to medical services and contraceptives have proven effective at reducing birth rates - even within communities with religious prohibitions against them - so economic development that is based around clean energy looks like a win-win.

 

 

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15 hours ago, mistermack said:

Right. But 7.7 billion people need three times as much water as 2.5 billion. And create three times as much climate change. Species that are now going extinct due to the level of human population would still be around, not lost for ever. Everyone bangs on about peoples' rights. What about the rights of other creatures to a life on this planet?

That's the hand we've been dealt, we could try sending the useless people away.

 

 

 

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The absolute number of people matters because of basic survival requirements in terms of resources and land use. It matters, also, if there is disparity, because more of the have-nots will aspire to have status, by whatever means are available - and those means are usually bad news for the meek and animals and the trees. 

However, it's a very small percent of the people who make the political and economic decisions; draw the maps and set up the rules by which all of the others have to live, work and fight for their share. We don't have to get of all the excess people - that will take care of itself if we just lop off the parasitic top layer. 

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It doesn't have to be the case that only draconian action, like in India or China historically, can bring down the birth rate. I remember some time ago reading a very surprising article on the birth rate reduction in Brazil. I assumed without checking that Brazil had a very high rate, but I was surprised by how much it had dropped in a short time.

Amazingly, the reason given wasn't government policies, it was tv soap operas! Apparently the depiction of small families living comfortably had a very real effect on the birth rate. I personally think that a big drop in respect for the Catholic Church would have played a major part as well. You can't control your own family size without contraception, (in spite of what the priests might tell you), and a willingness to ignore the church message has to be a big factor. 

I believe that some of the soap operas had story lines that followed that kind of issue, and people latched on to it in big enough numbers to significantly affect the figures.

That's from memory, going back a bit, so I can't vouch for it without going back and checking.

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26 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It doesn't have to be the case that only draconian action, like in India or China historically, can bring down the birth rate. I remember some time ago reading a very surprising article on the birth rate reduction in Brazil. I assumed without checking that Brazil had a very high rate, but I was surprised by how much it had dropped in a short time.

Amazingly, the reason given wasn't government policies, it was tv soap operas! Apparently the depiction of small families living comfortably had a very real effect on the birth rate. I personally think that a big drop in respect for the Catholic Church would have played a major part as well. You can't control your own family size without contraception, (in spite of what the priests might tell you), and a willingness to ignore the church message has to be a big factor. 

I believe that some of the soap operas had story lines that followed that kind of issue, and people latched on to it in big enough numbers to significantly affect the figures.

That's from memory, going back a bit, so I can't vouch for it without going back and checking.

The birth rate is the rate of birth; it's not draconian it is just is...

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

It doesn't have to be the case that only draconian action, like in India or China historically, can bring down the birth rate.

In fact, that sort of top-down action has proven the lest effective in the long term, as people find ways, sometimes not very smart ones, around it. Imposed on ancient cultures, it can be disaster. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/too-many-men/

What government needs to do: level off extreme disparity and thus eliminate extreme poverty, curb the legal power of organized religion, liberate the women from economic and legal bondage, and provide access to perinatal care and birth control. When infant mortality declines, so does the birth rate

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By an unlikely coincidence, I just now caught the end of a news item about the "problem" of the falling birth rate in the UK. 

They ended with a real eye-opening statistic, that 30% of mothers giving birth today in the UK were born abroad !! If you added the mothers who are first generation children of immigrants, the figure would surely be over fifty percent. So we would most definitely be on the shrinking list without the incoming people. Even if nobody left the country either.  

The point is that it doesn't take draconian measures to reverse the expanding population trend. But the problem is that politicians actually WANT population growth. It translates into bigger budgets and "economic growth". But my point is that, if you have a house, with ten people living in it, and add one new resident, then you grow the house economy by ten percent, but it's fake growth because nobody is richer, and the original ten have less room, so they are poorer in terms of quality of life. 

The same now applies to the planet, but it's not just humans who are worse off, it's all the rest of the species on Earth.  

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12 minutes ago, mistermack said:

The point is that it doesn't take draconian measures to reverse the expanding population trend. But the problem is that politicians actually WANT population growth. It translates into bigger budgets and "economic growth". But my point is that, if you have a house, with ten people living in it, and add one new resident, then you grow the house economy by ten percent, but it's fake growth because nobody is richer, and the original ten have less room, so they are poorer in terms of quality of life. 

That is a poor analogy as it is well understood that the economy is not a zero sum game. In your example additional folks coming in could pool their resources and increase the size of the house (i.e. incoming population both consume and produce).

The relationship between pop size and economy can be complex, depending on the overall economy under investigation e.g. 

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The relationship between population growth and economic growth is controversial. This article draws on historical data to chart the links between population growth, growth in per capita output, and overall economic growth over the past 200 years. Low population growth in high-income countries is likely to create social and economic problems while high population growth in low-income countries may slow their development. International migration could help to adjust these imbalances but is opposed by many. Drawing on economic analyses of inequality, it appears that lower population growth and limited migration may contribute to increased national and global economic inequality.

But clearly the empirical evidence does not support a zero sum model.

 

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3 hours ago, mistermack said:

They ended with a real eye-opening statistic, that 30% of mothers giving birth today in the UK were born abroad !! If you added the mothers who are first generation children of immigrants, the figure would surely be over fifty percent.

And? How does this affect world population growth? We have already seen that by the second generation, the birth rate of immigrants, from less to more prosperous nations levels off to match the rest of the population. The immigrants themselves are having the very same babies they would have had somewhere else (true, more of those babies survive than they might have in the country of origin, but many, both adults and children, are lost in transition); their children have fewer babies than they would have had in their native land and their grandchildren have fewer still. Overall, it makes no difference to the current world population and reduces future increase. 

A rise in the standard of living invariably decreases population increase.

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11 hours ago, Peterkin said:

And? How does this affect world population growth?

You're missing the point. The point I am making is that many countries, including the UK, have naturally shrinking populations. In the UK case, it's artificially boosted, that's all I'm saying. But the natural trend, without the incoming people, is downwards. And that applies to a lot of countries. So there's nothing inevitable about population growth. People talk as if nothing can affect it, without taking inhuman measures. 

What I'm pointing out is that that is far from the case. The Brazil example is relevant, but so is the example of multiple countries, who have shrinking populations without taking any measures at all. In fact, in most of the countries that have falling populations, the people at the top view it as a problem, and take active measures to try to boost the birth rate. 

It just needs a change of attitude, that's all. We are daily flooded with various forms of indoctrination on the media. A little bit on the subject of family planning, in the right places, would work wonders, but it's not happening. 

There's huge media pressure on the CO2 emissions subject, but stone cold silence on the only solution that actually would make a difference in the longer term, without costing a fortune. Curbing population growth wouldn't just affect CO2 emissions, it would put a brake on extinctions, which is my own particular worry. 

I don't give a toss if New York or London floods, but I do care about species that took billions of years to evolve, going extinct because 7.7 billion humans isn't enough, we have to plough on into double figures.

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31 minutes ago, mistermack said:

You're missing the point. The point I am making is that many countries, including the UK, have naturally shrinking populations. In the UK case, it's artificially boosted, that's all I'm saying. But the natural trend, without the incoming people, is downwards. And that applies to a lot of countries. So there's nothing inevitable about population growth. People talk as if nothing can affect it, without taking inhuman measures. 

What I'm pointing out is that that is far from the case. The Brazil example is relevant, but so is the example of multiple countries, who have shrinking populations without taking any measures at all. In fact, in most of the countries that have falling populations, the people at the top view it as a problem, and take active measures to try to boost the birth rate. 

It just needs a change of attitude, that's all. We are daily flooded with various forms of indoctrination on the media. A little bit on the subject of family planning, in the right places, would work wonders, but it's not happening. 

There's huge media pressure on the CO2 emissions subject, but stone cold silence on the only solution that actually would make a difference in the longer term, without costing a fortune. Curbing population growth wouldn't just affect CO2 emissions, it would put a brake on extinctions, which is my own particular worry. 

I don't give a toss if New York or London floods, but I do care about species that took billions of years to evolve, going extinct because 7.7 billion humans isn't enough, we have to plough on into double figures.

No, you're missing the point; the natural way to reduce our population is to make everyone relatively wealthy. 

The planet will live on, despite what we do; we will live on because of what we do...

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

No, you're missing the point; the natural way to reduce our population is to make everyone relatively wealthy. 

Good luck with that. I prefer to deal with reality. It has more of a chance of happening. 

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As the economist EF Schumacher noted,  "Growth is the philosophy of a cancer cell. "   And there are others in that field looking at how some form of capitalism might harmonize with a society of dropping population.  It's been pointed out that such a society would have full employment and labor would be more valued since a smaller percent of the population would be of working age.   Wages would rise for those of lowest income,  especially, and I suspect employers would offer more attractive benefits and conditions.  

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5 hours ago, mistermack said:

You're missing the point. The point I am making is that many countries, including the UK, have naturally shrinking populations. In the UK case, it's artificially boosted, that's all I'm saying.

While missing points is my superpower, I didn't miss this one. The UK population is not separate from the world, with its own "natural" and "artificial" trends. It's part of the world and subject to the same influences as every other country. Immigrants are not artificial: they are a natural outcome of having had a big empire, and once in the UK, they become part of the UK population, contributing to its natural trends. 

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But the natural trend, without the incoming people, is downwards. And that applies to a lot of countries. So there's nothing inevitable about population growth.

The natural trend is downward in certain conditions and upward in other conditions.  Which is why it's not the same in all countries at any given time. Nothing, except death - no, not even taxes - is inevitable.

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People talk as if nothing can affect it, without taking inhuman measures. 

Which people talk this way?

 

5 hours ago, mistermack said:

It just needs a change of attitude, that's all.

Oh, well, if that's all....

2 hours ago, TheVat said:

As the economist EF Schumacher noted,  "Growth is the philosophy of a cancer cell. "   And there are others in that field looking at how some form of capitalism might harmonize with a society of dropping population.  It's been pointed out that such a society would have full employment and labor would be more valued since a smaller percent of the population would be of working age.   Wages would rise for those of lowest income,  especially, and I suspect employers would offer more attractive benefits and conditions.  

Full employment in an era of accelerating automation, given the relative turnover time of a generation of humans vs a generation of robots, is unlikely. And, afaic, unnecessary. If growth capitalism is the wrong way to go, its institutions and infrastructure are also the wrong way to build societies. China is learning that - or starting to. Africa may be learning it in little patches. 

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20 hours ago, mistermack said:

Good luck with that. I prefer to deal with reality. It has more of a chance of happening. 

The reality is, the population we have today is growing in poor countries and not in rich countries; the rich countries have enough to make the poor countries climb out of poverty. Relative wealth isn't about making us all billionaire's, it's about making sure everyone has what they need to live, the equation is simple (you do the maths).

If you have a better idea, I'd like to hear it.

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

If you have a better idea, I'd like to hear it.

Surely the chances of it happening affect the quality of the idea. Which puts your idea at a value close to zero. I put forward various ideas, all of which are better, for that very reason. There's no reason why family planning products and advice couldn't be made available in every country in the world that has a high birth rate. The cost would be tiny, compared to the pay-off. The price of aid could also be linked to measures taken against churches that preach against contraception. Churches could easily be leaned on in any case. Just the threat of changing their tax status would have an instant effect on their behaviour. 

If population growth was given just ten percent of the publicity that global warming gets, then attitudes could be changed very quickly. The world is obsessed by CO2, and is completely ignoring the real threat to the planet. It's like being led towards the guillotine, and worrying about rust on the blade.

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54 minutes ago, mistermack said:

There's no reason why family planning products and advice couldn't be made available in every country in the world that has a high birth rate.

There are several reasons, both political and religious. Who makes these demands on whom? On what basis? How is the edict enforced?

55 minutes ago, mistermack said:

The price of aid could also be linked to measures taken against churches that preach against contraception.

55 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Which puts your idea at a value close to zero

 

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21 hours ago, Peterkin said:

 

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People talk as if nothing can affect it, without taking inhuman measures. 

Which people talk this way?

You do. Over and over. As in your last post. Like I said, it needs a change in attitudes. Things can change. It is possible. In fact, the scientists who study population growth are predicting exactly that. Only they say it will happen by the end of the century. I'm saying it could be speeded up. You seem to think it's impossible, which actually contradicts the expert opinion.

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5 minutes ago, mistermack said:
21 hours ago, Peterkin said:
Quote

People talk as if nothing can affect it, without taking inhuman measures. 

Which people talk this way?

Expand  

You do. Over and over.

I have shown, with numerous citations, what does affect the birth rate. There is nothing 'inhuman' about raising the standard of living or giving women social and economic autonomy. You don't have to follow the links or read the reports, but denying their existence is .... unproductive.

 

8 minutes ago, mistermack said:

You seem to think it's impossible, which actually contradicts the expert opinion.

I think it's impossible for you to change other people's - particularly heads of state and religious bodies - attitudes and persuade them to implement the measures you propose.

 

10 minutes ago, mistermack said:

In fact, the scientists who study population growth are predicting exactly that.

Show us.

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On 10/16/2021 at 4:13 PM, Peterkin said:

I have shown, with numerous citations, what does affect the birth rate. There is nothing 'inhuman' about raising the standard of living or giving women social and economic autonomy..........    and  

I think it's impossible for you to change other people's - particularly heads of state and religious bodies - attitudes and persuade them to implement the measures you propose

So your suggestions get filed under "possible" and mine under "impossible".  I think your suggestions are more or less hand-waving. The countries that have high birth rates would be the hardest of all to raise the standard of living, owing to political instability, corruption and lack of education. And likewise with giving women political and economic autonomy. It's a laudable aspiration, but it's highly unlikely to happen any time soon. 

On the other hand, free family planning products and advice could be organised within months, if the will was there. And women who are tied to fewer children are more likely to enjoy the "social and economic autonomy" that you aspire to. 

 

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11 minutes ago, mistermack said:

On the other hand, free family planning products and advice could be organised within months, if the will was there.

IF. And that's the whole thing in a nutshell. IF the will, then economic prosperity. IF the will, then no more tribal wars or colonial oppression. IF the will, then liberation of minorities, empowerment of women, birth control, universal literacy, comprehensive vaccination and perinatal health-care.... IF

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