Contraception to Fix Global Warming?

In the last year or so new research has emerged that slices, dices and quantifies the environmental impact of every person on the planet, providing a whole new level of intimacy with the greenhouse gases that fuel our lives.

These new statistics have put an uncomfortable spotlight on Americans, since we consume so much more per capita than any other people on Earth. It has also inflamed the old population debate; as much of the research points the finger at the littlest Americans – newborn babies. They are, it turns out, monumental carbon bigfoots. Each new birth locks the planet into generations of gargantuan carbon emissions, according to Paul A. Murtaugha and Michael G. Schlaxb, a couple of college professors in Oregon.

Murtaugha and Schlaxb brought this point home, then right into the nursery, last February in a paper concluding every newborn American child adds as much as 12,730 tons of carbon dioxide to each parent’s carbon legacy. A baby in Bangladesh, in contrast, adds just 98 tons, while a Nigerian newborn, the professors found, passes on only a 157-ton legacy.

Put another way: One American child generates as much CO2 as 106 Haitian kids.

The London School of Economics
followed up in September, concluding that contraception is almost five times cheaper than conventional methods of combating climate change. That study was commissioned by the environmental think tank Optimum Population Trust.

Now the United Nations has come around to the same way of thinking. In a report issued today, the UN, for the first time, draws a clear line between the fate of the world’s poor and looming environmental problems that begin to manifest themselves in climate changes, water shortages and crop failures.

Who doesn’t love kids? And, who doesn’t want to give one’s own everything possible? Ironically, giving kids “everything” – in material sense – these days amounts to stealing from them the most important things: breathable air, clean water and a stable climate.

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About greendistrict

I'm Christine MacDonald, a journalist and the author of the book: "Green, Inc., An Environmental Insider Reveals How a Good Cause Has Gone B

Posted on November 19, 2009, in Carbon footprint, Climate Change, Environment, Global Warming, lifestyle and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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