They are at it again, the population pessimists, uttering dire prophecies about the “carbon cost” of children. Viewing a child much as you might a gas-guzzling vehicle, Oregon statistician Paul Murtagh warns that the parents are responsible for a child’s carbon emissions — half each. If that child has kids, one-quarter of their emissions are down to you, and so on. How it adds up depends on population trends and emission changes in the future.

All highly speculative, but it does not stop Murtagh from crunching the stats. But what exactly is his point? Does he want to make people feel guilty for having kids? Does he want governments to impose child quotas linked to a country’s level of carbon emissions? Or the UN to set limits linked to global carbon emissions? Or does he just want to give people a very strong motive for reducing their carbon footprint so they can produce a couple of kids with a clear conscience? ~ New Scientist, Mar 15

Murtagh is not alone in what looks like an anti-child campaign. Last month a top advisor to the British government said people should have no more than two children and the government must reduce population growth by funding better family planning — even if it means shifting money from curing illness to increasing contraception and abortion.


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet