This post is a spontaneous contribution by François Momboisse, one of the most astute commentators of my French blog. François has years of experience in mass consumption marketing (P&G, Benckiser…) before becoming President of the French Federation for E-Commerce and Mail Order Sales (Feyad). His contribution reminds us, on the eve of Copenhagen, that global warming and population control are closely linked, try as we may to forget this… In all current debates on global warming, the extinction of fossil fuel supply or negative growth of as a means of non pollution are often brought up. However, one idea is always avoided: population control. Why is this?
Before going back to Malthus in the 19th century, this concept had its moment in the sun in the 1970’s (the senior readers will remember the Club of Rome and the Meadows Report). This was the era when controlling births was associated with the rise of birth control and women’s active role in family planning. Talking about population control, at this point in history, was not seen as taboo, but was 100% politically correct.
40 years later, we are nearly 7 billion on this earth, 1 billion of whom are suffering from malnutrition. In 2050, the population is projected to grow to 9 billion—as though this figure is completely out of our control. At the same time, the countries suffering the most from malnutrition like Haiti, Mali and Niger happen to have the highest birth rates per woman. Common sense, backed up by scientific studies, would suggest that controlling births could be beneficial.
And yet, the subject is taboo, in my opinion, for 2 reasons:
-The problem is present only in developing countries, as developed countries (except for France?!) already have very low birth rates. Thus, the United Nations and other developed countries would be have to “recommend” a solution uniquely to developing countries. Something that is not politically correct.
-Religions are against birth control. What has changed in 40 years is that, at the place of the Pope and the Catholic Church, who have always been regularly mocked for their anti-birth control stance, has arisen an Islam that no one dares to criticize.
So until recently, the subject stayed taboo until the The Lancet Commission courageously and factually, re-ignited the debate, demonstrating that population control was essential in fighting climate change. If no one talks about this in Copenhagen, then it really will be a killer idea!