Broadcaster and Naturalist David Attenborough said in a speech to the Royal Society of Arts in London on 10 March, hosted by its president, the Duke of Edinburgh….....”...we can all see that every extra person is – or will be – an extra victim of climate change – though the poor will undoubtedly suffer more than the rich. Yet not a word of it appeared in the voluminous documents emerging from the Copenhagen and Cancun Climate Summits”.
Why this strange silence? I meet no one who privately disagrees that population growth is a problem. No one – except flat-earthers – can deny that the planet is finite.
'Climate change is undoubtedly going to get worse; the only question is how much and how fast, he said. I believe that we somehow have got to prevent the human population from increasing as fast as it is doing.
Big population preferred over tackling climate change
John Howard and Kevin Rudd were both advocates for large populations. Because a growing population equates to a growing economy, until you reach the tipping point of no return on environmental/climate change. No politician has the foresight to see this.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave priority for a "big Australia" over tackling climate change, the ‘greatest moral challenge of our time’.
Melbourne University reproduction expert Roger Short argues that Australia’s population growth – apparently increasing by one person every two minutes - is out of control, increasing the rate of global warming.
High density developments create hot cities
While Victorians are supposed to be reducing greenhouse gas emissions, at the same time our government is pushing for high rise developments and population growth.
High density housing advocates say planning policies must compel higher density in order to save energy and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. However studies using a diversity of methods demonstrate the converse. The Australian Conservation Foundation Consumption Altas calculation of per capita greenhouse gas emissions shows that those living in high-density areas are greater than for those living in low-density areas. Our cities are becoming hotter and less sustainable.
High-rise developments mean that residents are much more reliant on non-renewable energy and have higher per capita greenhouse gas emissions than those in lower single houses with gardens, solar energy, recycling, trees and shade, and water tanks.
A combination of climate change and urban growth will push temperatures higher in cities worldwide, say researchers. Dr Richard Betts, a climate scientist in the UK, and colleagues found not only do cities retain more heat than rural areas do but hot cities will grow even hotter as the climate warms and cities grow.
By mid-century, night-time temperatures in cities could rise by more than 5.6°C, they say.
As cities grow warmer, it will become even more important to invest in urban cooling strategies, the study suggests, such as white roofs, green spaces, calculated window placement and other architectural decisions that allow buildings to spit out fewer greenhouse gases and less heat. This means more investments and infrastructure needed for high density buildings to replace what Nature provides naturally – and free!.
Food security taken for granted
Climate change will affect the availability and cost of reliable food, water and energy supplies. It will threaten remaining natural ecosystems and biodiversity and increase storm intensity and the likelihood of both wildfire and heat-related deaths.
The Third Intergeneration Report’s “projection” (or social-engineering) is that Australia’s population is likely to reach 35.9 million by 2050.
The people of Australia should be consulted, and respected, not be manipulated by the economic interests of the business elite and the academics entrenched in the economics of constant growth when the priority should be the people of Australia. Population growth can’t be ignored in the context of anthropogenic climate change.
Australians greenhouse gas commitment
The Rudd Labor Government pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by 5 per cent relative to year 2000 levels but this cannot be achieved if Australia’s population grows as projected. Treasury modelling indicates that, with business-as-usual, emissions will reach 774 million tonnes by 2020, 40 per cent above the 2000 level. However, it is set against government encouraged population growth of 20% by then.
Braking the rise in Earth's population would be a major help in the fight against global warming, according to an unprecedented UN report published in 2009. It draws a link between demographic pressure and climate change. "Population growth is among the factors influencing total emissions in industrialised as well as developing countries," it says.
Our growing population and relatively emissions-intensive economy means that we will have higher adjustments costs than many other developed countries to reach ostensibly similar goals. Our government's posturing on climate change and ghg emissions is purely rhetoric while we in Australia continue to boost our population. How can we be taken seriously, internationally, with such hypocritical attitudes – that we can continue to grow our population and economy but other nations must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and “save” the planet.
Sir David Attenborough said, there is no major problem facing our planet that would not be easier to solve if there were fewer people and no problem that does not become harder (with more people).
A population growth of 20% by 2020, and at the same time a symbolic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, is inherently contradictory and people will be forced to pay an ineffective carbon tax.
While human populations expand, renewable energy sources must continue to outstrip increasing outputs of carbon emissions to achieve this target. The carbon tax will simply burden the people of Australia, and net greenhouse emissions reduction will be outside their control.
According to a global financial services study, a carbon tax will have to be set at $60 a tonne -- three times the expected $20 tax to be set next year -- to force electricity generators to switch from dirty brown coal in southeastern Australia to cleaner gas to reduce greenhouse emissions.
With privatisation of the power suppliers, the market forces needed for them to switch to renewable energy, rather than passing on the costs to consumers, would be considerable.
The carbon tax will be a financial burden on families, and businesses, and do little to actually address climate change while at the same time our population continues to boom!