Notes From Babel

Forget the “Death Panels”–Offing Your Descendants Is Your Own Responsibility

leave a comment »

According to this WSJ piece, the president’s science adviser, John Holdren, is on record for urging lower birthrates among Americans:

In a 1973 article, [Holdren] argued that “210 million [Americans] now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be too many.” He concluded that we should encourage women to have fewer children.

These views were recently supported in a study out of Oregon State University called “Reproduction and the carbon legacies of individuals,” in which Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax suggest:

if you truly care about the environment, it’s not enough to trade your SUV for a Prius, use the right lightbulbs, or limit your lawn to organic fertilizers. To the contrary, you need to start thinking about something way more important: i.e., having one less child.The “basic premise,” the study reports, is that “a person is responsible for emissions of his descendents.”

When Mr. Murtaugh runs the numbers, he finds some alarming results. Take an American woman who checks all the green boxes: She recycles, installs energy efficient windows, cuts back how much she drives, and so on. Yet simply by having two children, Prof. Murtaugh reports, she will add nearly 40 times the amount of carbon dioxide emissions she had saved with those lifestyle changes. No wonder the Los Angeles Times Web site reports on this study under the title “Tie Your Tubes and Save the Planet?”

During and since his confirmation hearing, Holdren has apparently denied any intention to propagate this brand of radical, jettison-the-humans thinking. Even so, the juxtaposition with reports of health care rationing doesn’t inspire much comfort.


Written by Tim Kowal

August 14, 2009 at 5:21 am

Posted in Environmentalism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s