NPR: Should We Be Having Kids In Light Of Global Warming?

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

National Public Radio (NPR) featured an academic philosopher Thursday who says morality requires Americans to stop having kids, because they will only cause more global warming.

“Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them,” NPR Travis Rieder, a philosopher at Johns Hopkins University, told NPR. “The situation is bleak, it’s just dark … Population engineering, maybe it’s an extreme move. But it gives us a chance.”

Rieder said America produces a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) per person, and the world’s poorest nations will be most affected by global warming. He suggests rich nations should stop having children to remedy this. Reducing the current birth rate to 0.5 kids per woman could be the “thing that saves us,” he said.

He does, however, acknowledge that slowing population growth would only achieve 20 to 25 percent of the cuts necessary to meet President Barack Obama’s global warming goals.

“Richer nations [should] do away with tax breaks for having children and actually penalize new parents,” reports NPR, summarizing Rieder’s arguent. “The penalty should be progressive, based on income, and could increase with each additional child.”

Rieder even dashed his own wife’s dream for a large family by only having one child.

There are entire environmental groups dedicated to the view that humans should stop having kids due to global warming and environmental issues. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, for example, claims that “voluntary human extinction is the humanitarian alternative to human disasters” and believes that humanity should commit species suicide rather than continue damaging the environment.

NPR interviews the founders of a similar group, Conceivable Future, which believes that “the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis” and advocates for abortion, smaller families and ending conventional energy.

Mainstream green groups, such as The Sierra Club, also hold a more limited version of the view that the freedom to have kids should be restricted to save the planet.

“Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license … All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing” David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club, stated in an interview.

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who advised both Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, claims that the maximum number of people Earth can support is a mere 1 billion people. As of 2016, there are more than 7.3 billion humans on Earth, making the question of which 6.3 billion people are supposed to die a fairly important one.

Dire predictions of greens have consistently failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The quality of life of the average person has also immeasurably improved.

Members of the general public has become more skeptical of environmentalists who claim that ecological issues will doom humanity. A 2014 Gallup poll found that 42 percent of Americans say the seriousness of global warming is “generally exaggerated” by the media, compared to 33 percent who say it’s “generally underestimated.”

The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats is declining as the threats fail to materialize. Polling indicates that most Americans agree with the goals of the environmental movement, but don’t see environmental issues as urgent problems.’

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