The widely publicised report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stresses the need for changes never seen before, in all aspects of our society, to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial averages, Radio New Zealand grimly advised its audience.
One of the panel’s findings included the need to make deep reductions in methane and black carbon, both by 35% or more by 2050, compared to 2010 emissions.
Climatic Change Journal deputy editor Jim Salinger said species loss and extinction are projected to be significantly lower at 1.5°C of global warming compared to 2°C.
Coral reefs would decline by 70 to 90% with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas more than 99% would be lost with two degrees.
Dr Bronwyn Hayward said one of the significant differences will be the ability to reduce sea level rise by about 10cm by the end of the century, which would affect an estimated 10 million people who are living in coastal communities.
Moreover, about 420 million people might be affected by heat stress, with a rise of more than two degrees.
Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said the report was not great reading but the one glimmer of hope was the government’s Zero Carbon Bill
“I’m comfortable the work we are doing, will ensure that where the zero carbon bill lands and the course of action we subsequently take, will be consistent with what this particular report suggests what countries need to do.”
An issue highlighted by Point of Order not so long ago was not mentioned during all the discussion of what should be done.
We refer to procreation and population growth – something you might think would be discouraged if not disparaged by Greenies in the same way they excoriate the dairy industry.
To the contrary, the PM and her colleague, Women’s Minister Julie Anne Genter, have been admired for their contributions to it in recent months and motherhood has won them favourable publicity.
They enthuse about the carbon zero targets their government has set but pay little attention to the consequences of the family-nurturing policies which were introduced without much regard for whether they might encourage population growth.
The threats from overpopulation and environmental degradation nevertheless were identified a year ago by Nobel prize-winning scientists in a widely reported survey. Overpopulation is the biggest threat to mankind, Nobel laureates say was the headline in The Times of London:
Nuclear war, misinformation, drug-resistant diseases, artificial intelligence and Facebook were among the other phenomena regarded by 50 laureates as the most serious risks.
More than a third cited the strain placed on the planet by our growing numbers.
Warnings about overpopulation being the main threat to the planet have been sounded for decades.
At wired.com you can find THE BIGGEST THREAT TO THE EARTH? WE HAVE TOO MANY KIDS.
The article noted that Earth Day, for 45 years at that time, had brought people, ideas and enthusiasm together to confront the world’s environmental challenges and talk about sustainability, air quality, reducing our carbon footprint and so on. But
” … the fact that every single environmental solution is addressing the same, ugly problem: The world has to support a lot of hungry, thirsty, fertile people.
“No question, the human population is the core of every single environmental issue that we have,” says Corey Bradshaw, an ecologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia. There are seven billion of us and counting. And though people are developing technologies, regulations, and policies to make humanity less of a strain on the Earth, a number of environmentalists believe that these fixes will never catch up to the population as long as it continues to grow. The only way to save the world is to stop making more (and more, and more, and more) humans.
Back in 2006 The Independent reported:
Climate change and global pollution cannot be adequately tackled without addressing the neglected issue of the world’s booming population, according to two leading scientists.
Professor Chris Rapley, director of the British Antarctic Survey, and Professor John Guillebaud, vented their frustration yesterday at the fact that overpopulation had fallen off the agenda of the many organisations dedicated to saving the planet.
The scientists said dealing with the burgeoning human population of the planet was vital if real progress was to be made on the other enormous problems facing the world.
“It is the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about” Professor Guillebaud said. “Unless we reduce the human population humanely through family planning, nature will do it for us through violence, epidemics or starvation.”
Guillebaud said it became politically incorrect about 25 years ago to bring up family planning in discussing the environmental problems of the developing world.
The world population needed to be reduced by nearly two-thirds if climate change was to be prevented and everyone on the planet was to enjoy a lifestyle similar to that of Europeans, Guillebaud said.
Among a plethora of articles dealing with this, Point of Order noted:
- A ScienceDaily report almost 10 years ago Worst Environmental Problem? Overpopulation, Experts Say
- Human Overpopulation: Still an Issue of Concern? and
- Over-population: the most serious environmental problem for science .
But hey – maybe nature is doing what policy-makers prefer not to do.
The Daily Mirror reports fascinating news under the headline Human race faces extinction if male sperm count continues top fall worldwide.
Male fertility is falling every year in the Western world, the report said, and experts blame chemicals and modern lifestyles.
A study of 124,000 men visiting fertility clinics in Europe and the USA found sperm quality reducing by almost 2% per year.
While most men can still father a child, scientists say the human race faces extinction if the trend continues.
It follows a landmark study last year showing a 59% cut in Western sperm counts from 1973 to 2011.
Pesticides, hormone-disrupting chemicals, stress, smoking and obesity are seen as causes, along with too much alcohol, caffeine and processed meat.
The chemicals include some used to make plastics flexible and furniture flame-retardant – which can enter the food chain via plants or animals.
Experts also blame increases in testicular cancer, the number of boys born with one or both testicles missing, and changing testosterone levels.
The findings are reported to be causing alarm at an American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Denver, Colorado, this week.
Let’s look on the bright side.
If policy-makers ever do get around to questioning the relationship between family-fostering welfare programmes and environmental degradation, they may well find no politically unpopular depopulating regulations are needed. Our degraded sperms will have done the job for them.