A monstrous and ever expanding elephant sits in the green crusaders’ room. Amidst all the liberal internationalist angst about greenhouse gases and pollution generally, the greatest and most obvious cause of both is ignored by mainstream politicians: the already great and rapidly rising population of the world.
The world population is estimated to be over 7 billion now. Extrapolations to 2050 go as high as 9.5 billion. The vast majority living now come from the underdeveloped world and their proportion of the world population will increase in the coming decades because the populations of underdeveloped countries have much younger populations than those of the developed world.
One of every six people on earth is an adolescent. In the developing world, more than 40 percent of the population is under age 20. The decisions these young people make will shape our world and the prospects of future generations. Let us recognise their right to the health, information and services they need and deserve.
If the swelling world population was overwhelmingly due to increases in the still very white First World you may be sure that we would be daily berated for our selfish breeding. We would be told that any increase in our population was at the expense of the third world, that every extra mouth to feed, house, clothe and supply with energy was absolutely unconscionable. Western governments would be instigating programmes to reduce our populations and some of the bolder would be advocating rationing of children and any industrial process deemed to be producing the putative greenhouse gases,
But the overwhelming majority of people living today do not live in the First World and the projected future expansion of the world’s population is due almost entirely to third world increases, the first world having at best stabilised their populations and at worst actually set themselves on the path of demographic decline through a mixture of contraception and too readily available abortion. (Britain does not have a fertility crisis but an abortion crisis, with 200,000 abortions being carried out a year. If the aborted babies were born, Britain’s birth rate would be above replacement level. Such increases in the first world that occur will be due to immigration from the third world and the generally higher breeding rates of immigrants.)
Consequently, the subject goes unmentioned by politicians because it is beyond the pale for Western liberal internationalist elites and not in the interests of the developing world to raise it.
The only sane conclusion to draw from the way the world is developing is that nothing is going to prevent a massive increase in greenhouse gases as the developing world industrialises. That being so, the rational response of Western politicians would be to stop burdening their own countries with expensive green laws and concentrate instead on dealing with the effects of global warming if they materialise. That should not be impossible because any change will be gradual and our technological ability, already very substantial, will increase mightily in the next century or so.
Western elites must shift their mentality from that of liberal internationalism to concern for their own countries and people rather than the third world. Ultimately, it is for every nation to look after its own people and territory. Western politicians should stop kowtowing to their liberal guilt and start pointing out the facts of life to the developing world.
These facts are, that the pollution from the developing world is on schedule to utterly dwarf the pollution of the first world; that the developing world must take responsibility for their population growth; that the developing nations are responsible for the pollution they create and its effects on their own people; that the first world cannot be a milch cow for the rest of the world any longer and should not be expected to pay for any ill-effects of industrialisation created by the developing world.
Most importantly, Western elites need to stop peddling the line that the fact that the first world is industrialised is a justification for the rest of the world to industrialise to the same degree without regard to the consequences. That is akin to arguing that because ten people are on a life raft, the 100 in the water have the right to climb on as well regardless of whether it sinks the life raft.
The existing population disparity between the first world and the rest of the world places the question of development in a different moral context. Nor is this simply a case of industrialisation. The likely population expansion alone creates a great deal more pollution, whether it be greenhouse gases, deforestation, pressure on water resources or mass migration. That is the responsibility of the developing nations. If they cannot or will not restrict their population growth, they must take the consequences. The First World must look to its own interests and safety.