Birth rate and climate crisis

Accurate data but a suspicious interpretation

Is population growth one of the time bombs that threaten the planet? No, says Marie Degrémont in La Recherche. “The states with the highest fertility are also those with the lowest per capita CO2 emission rate.”

But I have a hard time finding coherence in Mary’s projections. India and Nigeria will each gain 200 million people in 30 years. Marie begins by assuming that the way of life of Indians and Nigerians will not change to calculate an annual increase of 360 MtCO2 (million tons of CO2) and 136 MtCO2, which remain very modest compared to the emissions of rich countries.

Fewer births but rising hopes

Marie continues with another reassuring argument: the population growth of these countries will slow down as they develop. Fertility/standard of living relationship. Unfortunately this factor acts in the opposite direction of the previous one. The way of life will change, tending towards that of developed countries. In 2050, an additional population will have appeared in India and Nigeria larger than the current one in the USA. All these people will have a hundred years to try to access the consumption (and emissions) of rich countries. We can only wish them success.

Heat but also cool

These equatorial populations today have low energy consumption because they do not need to heat themselves. On the other hand, they will have the imperative need to cool down. Warming will make large areas unlivable without air-conditioned housing.

Marie Degrémont is right to point out that salvation will come above all from changes in habits and technological progress, but the birth rate must be kept in the planetary time bombs. Will the old ones be too numerous? This is true, but in better health and still at work rather than requiring life assistance, should we wish the majority of them.


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