Mr. Turner – a long-time advocate of population control – said the environmental stress on the Earth requires radical solutions, suggesting countries should follow China’s lead in instituting a one-child policy to reduce global population over time. He added that fertility rights could be sold so that poor people could profit from their decision not to reproduce.
“If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,” Mr. Turner said.
Former Irish president Mary Robinson warned that radical prescriptions for population control would backfire, ensuring that the subject will remain off the agenda of international climate talks.
“If we do it the wrong way, we can divide the world,” Ms. Robinson said. “A lot of people in the climate world could communicate this very badly.”
China boasts that its controversial one-child policy has helped limit emissions growth in that rapidly industrializing country. At the Copenhagen climate summit last year, national planning official Zhao Baige said Chinese population policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births since 1979, with a population that now stands at 1.3 billion. The lower birth rate converts to a reduction of 1.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, Ms. Zhao said.
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