Are Conservation Groups Subverting Action on Global Warming?

| 60 Comments

This may be slightly off task for PT, but the latest issue of The Nation magazine has a disturbing article suggesting that US environmental groups have been co-opted by the corporations whose activities they purport to oppose.

The article, by Johann Hari, shows how conservation organizations such as the National Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy have accepted millions of dollars from companies like Shell and British Petroleum in return for touting their supposedly “green” activities and soft-pedaling their not-so-green activities. Thus, the World Wildlife Fund defends IKEA against (accurate) charges that some of its furniture is made from trees harvested from endangered forests, and the Sierra Club endorses supposedly green products from Clorox without serious investigation.

Also, not mentioned by Hari, the Environmental Defense Fund has gotten into bed with Walmart, repeatedly praising them for marketing organic foods and where possible buying locally. You may read a puff piece, The Great Grocery Smackdown, by Corby Kummer, in The Atlantic here. I am inclined to agree with one or two commenters to the Kummer article: Walmart puts the squeeze on everyone and now is starting in on local farmers. The main effect of its foray into organic foods may be to put even more local businesses out of business. A smallish contributor to EDF for decades, I have been concerned for months about their entanglement with Walmart, and Hari’s article has all but convinced me to drop them in favor of some other similar organization – if I can find one.

Hari also takes carbon offsets to task. If you have enough money, then you can pay somebody not to cut down trees in South America and continue your usual profligate behavior at home, all the while priding yourself on doing something for global warming. Unfortunately, the person you have paid not to cut down trees can simply take the money and cut down some other trees somewhere else, and Greenpeace has evidently documented precisely such behavior. Carbon offsets at best have negligible value and at worst make us think we are doing something when we are not. Indeed, if the donors do not reduce their consumption of energy and the donees continue to cut down their trees, then in reality we have made absolutely no progress toward reducing global warming. (Hari says that the carbon offset has actually doubled emissions, but I think that is incorrect or poorly worded.)

Hari’s article should not be surprising in a country that can barely take a baby step toward universal health insurance because its Congress has likewise been co-opted by giant corporations. But, as Hari notes, if we are right about global warming, then a disaster is in the making, and incrementalism will not solve the problem. We may kill a few tens of thousands of our citizens by not moving fast enough on health insurance, but we can cause worldwide disaster by not moving fast enough on global warming. The climate we have today is the climate in which we and our institutions have evolved, and we change it at our peril.

Hari sees a ray of hope in the new leadership of the Sierra Club (which elects its own leaders) and in the founding of 350.org, an organization about which I intend to learn more. In the meantime, I am very much inclined to take Hari’s advice and “shun” organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Update, March 28, 2010, 4:10 p.m., MDT: Since I get The Nation on paper and rarely read the website, I overlooked an exchange here between Hari and some of his critics.

60 Comments

Nobody wants to deal with the real environmental problem. Overpopulation. As long as there are too many of us, there will be problems. If it isn’t global warming, it’ll be something else.

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Sort of. There is often going to be a lag time. I also happen to think that there are already too many people on this planet, and I think that fresh water issues are going to get us before global warming does.

Uh-oh, I just set somebody up for a really bad pun.

I stopped going to IKEA - thankfully it’s not in my town and in Pittsburgh (the home of the hated Steelers@#****) - after I stopped ignoring the fact that they mass produce baubles in China and simply move the stuff around the globe sending up exa/peta tonnes of carbon up into the air. I am much better off buying local honest to goodness Amish furniture. Likewise with Costco, who although pay and take care of their employees well, import heckuva lot of furniture from China. I don’t want to be a part of this NIMBY nonsense. Anywhere in the world is my backyard.

This is said about TNC : “They are not part of the environmental movement: they are polluter-funded leeches sucking on the flesh of environmentalism, leaving it weaker and depleted. “

I can say, first hand, that this is not true. The TNC was given no access in this article to articulate it’s possition, and the accusation comes solely from a difference of opinion on nation vs sub-national forest policy.

Full disclosure - my wife works for the TNC. I understand that it is a global organization, and I stand ready to take it to task for problems it may have, but this article does a poor job of laying out any case against it, and completely ignores all the good it does.

Yellow Journalism at it’s worst - please don’t promote it on Panda’s Thumb.

I have just read the March 10 exchange between Hari and his critics. You may read the exchange for yourself and decide who is right.

I suppose it is possible that Hari has exaggerated the financial influence of corporate money on the conservation organizations. But it seems to me to be more than a dispute over national versus subnational forest policy. The real bottom line is that we need to take decisive action against global warming now; incrementalism will not work. In addition, carbon offsets may be little more than pious frauds, which give only the appearance of activity. Whether or not EDF, TNC, and others support incrementalism because of corporate cash is to some extent beside the point: they should be substantially more activist.

Incidentally, when EDF first endorsed carbon trading, my first reaction was to give them the benefit of the doubt and conclude that there may have been more to carbon trading than I had thought. Now I am not so sure I was right, at least not if we can buy the right to use coal with empty promises about deforestation.

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

Dale Husband said:

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

No, that’s pretty much correct. There is a high correlation between birth rate and infant mortality rate. It’s not a straight-up y=x relationship, but the correlation is there. There is a woman who does research on pretty much anything that can reasonably be modeled as a network at UNM’s CS department. Many aspects of life itself fall into this category. One of the things you would hear her discuss if you ever attended one of her talks is how there is also a relationship between the number of offspring and the amount of energy required for a creature to sustain itself. More specifically, she is looking at the energy required for a creature to sustain itself, the amount of biomass that it produces as offspring, and with the exception of humans, the mean mass of the creature. It turns out that there are some very consistent relationships when looking at species as a whole. Especially for the energy-offspring relationship. That energy-offspring relationship holds for humans as well, even when you look at people in developed countries. Compare Western Europe to Bangladesh and you’ll see that everything is consistent. Western has a higher per-capita energy use, lower infant mortality rate and a lower birth rate.

Dale Husband said:

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

Oddly enough, and counterintuitive, but it’s actually right, for high child-survival. To obtain the high survival rates required, the society must have infrastructure that supports a high proportion of its members. The vast majority of people in the society must have access to clean water, low particulate count, public health, sanitation, vaccination programs, basic medical treatment and health education. Women must have control of their own fertility - to a first approximation, at least - which means, in addition, female education and liberation.

When the average expectation is that all your children will survive childhood, the birthrate stabilises and drops. It’s only when their survival is problematic that high birthrates obtain.

The causation is mutually derived, of course. There is no chicken, no egg. But the current birthrates in (second generation or more post-immigration) western countries support stable or actually contracting populations.

This is the solution to overpopulation, not draconian population-control measures. Or perhaps, not the only solution, but the other is Malthus’s.

Dave Luckett said:

Dale Husband said:

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

Oddly enough, and counterintuitive, but it’s actually right, for high child-survival. To obtain the high survival rates required, the society must have infrastructure that supports a high proportion of its members. The vast majority of people in the society must have access to clean water, low particulate count, public health, sanitation, vaccination programs, basic medical treatment and health education. Women must have control of their own fertility - to a first approximation, at least - which means, in addition, female education and liberation.

When the average expectation is that all your children will survive childhood, the birthrate stabilises and drops. It’s only when their survival is problematic that high birthrates obtain.

The causation is mutually derived, of course. There is no chicken, no egg. But the current birthrates in (second generation or more post-immigration) western countries support stable or actually contracting populations.

This is the solution to overpopulation, not draconian population-control measures. Or perhaps, not the only solution, but the other is Malthus’s.

It’s not even counter intuitive. You can have a positive birth rate and a negative population growth at the same time. 1 birth per woman is a negative population growth rate.

Or rather, you cannot have a negative birth rate, but you can have a negative population growth rate.

“Positive” as a descriptor of birth rates is usually taken to mean birth rates that exceed death rates in the demographic in question. Hence, the descriptor is relative. High birth rates may be negative in the presence of very high death rates, and quite low birth rates positive in the presence of very low death rates.

Dave Luckett said:

“Positive” as a descriptor of birth rates is usually taken to mean birth rates that exceed death rates in the demographic in question. Hence, the descriptor is relative. High birth rates may be negative in the presence of very high death rates, and quite low birth rates positive in the presence of very low death rates.

Yet, every time I’ve seen a birth rate it has been in the form of births per population group. That group could be per 100k, per woman, etc… Never have I seen an actual negative number for actual birth rates. If somebody tells me that there is a negative birth rate, I will scoff and scoff loudly, then make some really nasty comment about social sciences. Then I’ll scoff some more. Even if you look at the ratio of births:deaths, that number will not be negative.

“Yet, every time I’ve seen a birth rate it has been in the form of births per population group.”

Births per thousand people in the demographic being measured, to be a little more precise.

But you are correct, and I spoke loosely. Growth rates in a demographic are negative, if birth rates plus immigration do not equal or exceed death rates plus emigration. It is not correct to speak of the birth rate in that situation as negative, even if it is negative relative to the death rate. “Negative” should be retained for absolute negatives.

I stand corrected.

I think his article has a valid and a valuable message. He is correct that so-called “Carbon offsets”, “Cap and Trade”, or worst of all, “clean coal”, are nothing but elaborate, complex scams. Designed to fool a compliant media,an easily-led public and allow corrupt or ineffectual governments to carry on BAU. It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the worlds worst polluters are buying and paying for green-wash from mainstream enviromental groups. It costs them not even pennies on the dollar, hell, the big energy firms are so heavily subsidized, the green-wash they pay to convince people coal can be “clean”, or GW is “not real” probably came from all us taxpayers in the first place.

The big energy companies are the most powerful and well financed organizations in the world-probably in all history. The environmental “business” is anything but. Energy companies or there umbrella groups could finance every enviro-group on the planet several times over and still have money to spare. That what he describes is occurring should be both alarming but sadly, not at all surprising to anyone.

Jesse said:

Nobody wants to deal with the real environmental problem. Overpopulation. As long as there are too many of us, there will be problems. If it isn’t global warming, it’ll be something else.

In my experience, nothing, not even evolution, gets the Fundamentalist far-right into panic-defense mode than a mere mention that our population is to high. Never mind that the only recommendation is that we have fewer children. Which ironically would probably happen anyway if people did as they say, and not have children until they are in stable marriages and financially and emotionally responsible. But no, they immediately start thinking “abortion” and sometimes even “genocide.” If you don’t think that’s a common reaction, remember Dembski’s threat to report that guy to the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Dave Luckett said:

(snip) This is the solution to overpopulation, not draconian population-control measures. Or perhaps, not the only solution, but the other is Malthus’s.

Or Swift’s.

: 7 }

fnxtr said:

Dave Luckett said:

(snip) This is the solution to overpopulation, not draconian population-control measures. Or perhaps, not the only solution, but the other is Malthus’s.

Or Swift’s.

: 7 }

Said fnxtr modestly. or Said fnxtr swiftly.

dor

The big environmental/conservation organizations have a loooong history of taking corporate money and then having to avoid pissing off those donors, and figuring out ways to hide those facts from the dedicated members and lower-level functionaries in the organization. One excellent source for some of that history is Dyana Furmansky’s new biography of Rosalie Edge - “Rosalie Edge: Hawk of Mercy.” Hari is just revealing the latest chapter in that sordid history.

Jesse said:

Yet, every time I’ve seen a birth rate it has been in the form of births per population group. That group could be per 100k, per woman, etc… Never have I seen an actual negative number for actual birth rates. If somebody tells me that there is a negative birth rate, I will scoff and scoff loudly, then make some really nasty comment about social sciences. Then I’ll scoff some more. Even if you look at the ratio of births:deaths, that number will not be negative.

You haven’t looked very hard.

http://geography.about.com/od/popul[…]y/a/zero.htm

Many first world countries would be losing population in the absence of immigration.

midwifetoad said:

Jesse said:

Yet, every time I’ve seen a birth rate it has been in the form of births per population group. That group could be per 100k, per woman, etc… Never have I seen an actual negative number for actual birth rates. If somebody tells me that there is a negative birth rate, I will scoff and scoff loudly, then make some really nasty comment about social sciences. Then I’ll scoff some more. Even if you look at the ratio of births:deaths, that number will not be negative.

You haven’t looked very hard.

http://geography.about.com/od/popul[…]y/a/zero.htm

Many first world countries would be losing population in the absence of immigration.

What does that have to do with the fact that any measure of birth rate that is not unnecessarily convoluted cannot be less than zero? That article does not state that there is an actual number that is less than zero for birth rates. It is talking about population growth rates. The only mention of birth rates is talking about the first derivative of them. Which is a different thing than birth rates. Yes, I know that many developed countries would have decreasing populations without immigration. The US itself would have a population that is stable or even slightly decreasing without immigration. Much of the world’s population increase is in developing countries.

Dave Luckett said:

Dale Husband said:

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

Oddly enough, and counterintuitive, but it’s actually right, for high child-survival. To obtain the high survival rates required, the society must have infrastructure that supports a high proportion of its members. The vast majority of people in the society must have access to clean water, low particulate count, public health, sanitation, vaccination programs, basic medical treatment and health education. Women must have control of their own fertility - to a first approximation, at least - which means, in addition, female education and liberation.

When the average expectation is that all your children will survive childhood, the birthrate stabilises and drops. It’s only when their survival is problematic that high birthrates obtain.

The causation is mutually derived, of course. There is no chicken, no egg. But the current birthrates in (second generation or more post-immigration) western countries support stable or actually contracting populations.

This is the solution to overpopulation, not draconian population-control measures. Or perhaps, not the only solution, but the other is Malthus’s.

Agreed up until the point you write “this is the solution…”. Because if universal development a la West is the proposed alternative to the current malthean situation,to the status qvo that has more or less been around for ever ,then you have to somehow get around the historical fact that development a la West or high social-state-imperial-national-… development in general, has always been accomplished by exploiting the weaker groups of history (the losers) and of course the environment. The “merits” of the West didn’t give the West global “excellence” just by themselves.Instead some “merits” of the West (as with all historically superpower/dominating groups) along with a lot of luck and based also on many other factors gave it the power to dominate the world and then that domination caused the merits to really become truly extraordinary and the “excellence” to be manifested.

In plain words, in order for some,for few to have money and wealth, (so that ie they stop reproducing like rabbits) many others must lack money and wealth. If all people in the world were all of the sudden to become rich (or at least much more richer-wealthier) then automatically the meaning and value of money and of wealth would instantly become nullified.Therefore all people would become poor and hell would break loose once again.

As a realist-pragmatist I’m still waiting for a political-social-economical system to come around, based and according to which all (or at least most) humans will be wealthy. Based on this thought-argument I cannot unfortunately see a practical solution to the Great Ecumenical Problems (overpopulation,depletion of resources,climate change and so on); I can only see real change coming only after a great catastrophe happens (which more or less will have malthean characteristics and/or consequences). Only then would the underlying system be changed (if indeed this is possible-feasible),only then would a solution be found,and of course only till the next great crisis…

Again in plain words, you US-Americans (and more or less all of us in the rest of the West and the Developed World) unfortunately cannot be wealthy (or at least much relatively wealthier) without billions of others being poor. Imagine ie what would happen if the Middle-Easterners got in return for their oil money equivalent to what it’s really worth,or if the Chinese got for their products wages equivalent to what (us-)american wages are or …

I hope that despite all these realities ,despite this very strong argument (at least that’s how it seems to me) that radical change is just around the corner, that a solution is near without first having to experience great global misfortunes and havoc. I ‘m really hoping, I’m just not really believing that it’s possible. Call me a cynic…

It isn’t necessary for a population to be wealthy to achieve low childhood mortality. The level of sanitation and care required for infant and child survival is not costly.

Cuba manages it.

Dale Husband -

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

I’m kind of surprised you hadn’t heard this.

Incidentally, high childhood survival is the ONLY cause of sustainable, voluntary local population stability or decline that I am aware of.

It occurs across cultural boundaries. The effect is just as strong in Japan as in the west.

Even devastating catastrophes like the “black death” fail to create sustainable impact on the size of populations. China may or may not have succeeded in mandating population control through draconian measures, but even this rare example took place in what was also a milieu of rapidly improving childhood survival.

Hence, right wing arguments that we should encourage conditions that will create high childhood mortality in poor countries as a defense against “overpopulation” are logically incorrect, whatever one may think of them on an ethical dimension.

The relationship between human family sizes and affluence/number of surviving children is interesting, and may suggest an intuitive explanation. To a large degree, consciously or unconsciously, many people seem to use a strategy of investing heavily in one or a few individual children when those children are expected to survive, and of having plenty of children if the risk of death to each individual child is relatively high. Obviously, this raises interesting questions (how do people make this unconscious estimate, if indeed they do, and so on), but it seems to fit.

In most times and places, in conditions of high childhood mortality (which usually prevail), relatively richer people tend to have larger families. Poorer people also try to have larger families, but their fertility may be constrained by malnutrition, or their ability to feed additional children may be constrained, and they usually end up with smaller families. In the eighteenth century in “western” countries, richer people could have as many children as they wished (with the caveat that richer women often died in childbirth, just like poor women). They often hired poorer people to take care of the children. The position of “wet nurse” - a lactating woman hired to nurse the infant of someone who could not or did not want to do it - was common; they weren’t always mothers of dead infants (sometimes they just nursed their own child plus one other), but often they were.

As conditions improve for upper and middle class families, in situations where lower class families remain less confident, we see the dichotomy characteristic of the US and Latin America - the reverse of eighteenth century conditions; the rich and middle class have smaller families but the poor continue to have many children.

In societies like Japan, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, etc, the relationship between income and family size almost disappears, and everybody tends to have a small family.

Climate change denialists haven’t shown up yet, but I just wanted to leave a message for them.

On one hand, denialists, you have “won”. You have very likely obstructed and dissembled enough to assure that substantial negative impact will be felt. My current goal is basically to make sure that I can protect myself and those I care about as much as possible from such impact.

But at least I don’t let a narcissistic sense of entitlement and a decadent, degenerate, nihilist complete lack of regard for my fellow human beings drive me into outright brainwashing myself, or flatly lying, in order to defend absurd and wasteful living habits that I would be better off without.

harold said:

Climate change denialists haven’t shown up yet, but I just wanted to leave a message for them.

I’m wondering if some organization couldn’t sponsor a long term global warming contract on Intrade. I believe bets have been placed on individual years, but climate requires a multi-year or multi-decade approach.

I believe NASA has recently perfected a method of recording ground level temperatures and has several years of data. Something like this would bypass arguments over placement of sensors.

midwifetoad said:

I believe NASA has recently perfected a method of recording ground level temperatures and has several years of data. Something like this would bypass arguments over placement of sensors.

Placement of sensors was never really a statistically significant problem in the first place, (assuming you’re talking about “urban heat islands” and/or monitoring stations near hot jet exhaust) it was just an easy target for the mathematically non-inclined to aim their strawman-beating-sticks.

Notice how, despite surfacestations.org having been around for several years, nobody affiliated with the site had bothered to do a rigorous analysis of the impact all those allegedly misplaced sensors had on the data, and how that data source affected the outcome when all the other lines of evidence were factored in. When actual scientists did this they found that the bad sites actually introduced a cool bias into the data rather than the warming one the WattsUp crew would have people think.

I point this out because it’s just more evidence that people like McIntyre, Watts, Dembski, basically anybody with a halfway-credible sounding argument can blind people with mathematical bamboozlement when telling them something they want to believe. Even if NASA has come up with a great new method for reducing errors, denialists will poo-poo it as “yet another unexplained adjustment to the data” as part of the ongoing plot to perpetuate the Big Government/UN/Al Gore Carbon Tax and First-World Crippling Agenda or something.

midwifetoad said:

It isn’t necessary for a population to be wealthy to achieve low childhood mortality. The level of sanitation and care required for infant and child survival is not costly.

Cuba manages it.

I’ve just somehow managed to lose a long comment replying to this… [SFX Self inflicting pain onto self expressing great anger]

Oh well…

Anyway in short:

sorry that’s no real solution,Cuba is not an exemplar country,not of the first nor of the third world. And besides that you present a “solution” that has just transformed the problem of impossibility of global wealth to the problem of impossibility of having worldwide Cuba-like systems.

In order to solve (if possible and/or at least to some extend) the Great Problems like global warming and climate change, we must first understand the underlying constants and dynamics that are both global and universal (in being characteristic to each and every one of us,to each and every group of us). That means how things run in both long and short term,in both small and big scale. One somewhat small exception over a very small period can’t and doesn’t negate the rule. It’s like citing Switzerland as a proof and example that ending war once and for all is possible for the whole of humanity.…

One of the underlying dynamics of human population is that population growth levels off or declines when infant and child mortality declines. Senondly, it does not take a net increase in wealth or a significant redistribution of wealth to achieve this.

Nor does it take any particular political system to achieve it. Infant and child survival has been improved under all sorts of political regimes and under all levels of national prosperity.

midwifetoad said:

One of the underlying dynamics of human population is that population growth levels off or declines when infant and child mortality declines. Senondly, it does not take a net increase in wealth or a significant redistribution of wealth to achieve this.

Nor does it take any particular political system to achieve it. Infant and child survival has been improved under all sorts of political regimes and under all levels of national prosperity.

The infant mortality vs population growth is a correlation. Causation should not be inferred from that correlation unless you have eliminated other likely causes. Cuba also has insanely high literacy rates and literacy is highly correlated with low birth rates and low infant mortality. Is it because women in Cuba are educated and work and don’t have time to raise 9 kids? Is it because people don’t see the need to have 9 kids if the chances of any one of them not growing up is very small? Is it something else?

midwifetoad said:

One of the underlying dynamics of human population is that population growth levels off or declines when infant and child mortality declines. Senondly, it does not take a net increase in wealth or a significant redistribution of wealth to achieve this.

Nor does it take any particular political system to achieve it. Infant and child survival has been improved under all sorts of political regimes and under all levels of national prosperity.

Terms A.net B. significant.

What are you comparing??? GDP per capita of USA and that of let’s say my country’s, Greece??? Or GDP per Capita of USA and let’s say of Somalia? Human development index and/or Gini coefficient? Something else???

Wealth itself is a very loose,vague and subjective term. Economics itself is a very vague science if indeed a science… Using it like this makes things even worse. Anyway please cite your sources in order to be more clear and precise,in order for me to really see what you are talking about in detail.

Now,

historically of course wealth is not a privilege of Republics.But nowadays and for some centuries the ruling camp is the West and therefore let’s say the capitalist democratic systems. This is changing but not in a very straightforward manner. China, the rising superpower, might be very rich as a whole but most of its citizens are certainly not wealthy. The same with India. Note that both rank VERY high GDPpc-wise. India also ranks high with respect to fertility and high with respect to infant mortality (meaning greater-more mortality). China ranks relatively low at fertility (through a top-down draconian method) and high at infant mortality. On the other hand subsaharian countries rank low both GDP-wise (and by other standards) and real wealth-wise. They’re high at both infant-mortality and fertility-wise. For these countries GDP per capita reflects much more accurately (non) development.

Cuba might not be rich compared to many western countries nor very wealthy-rich but one might certainly argue that its not that poor (even GDP-wise) and that its system provides (or tries to) at least the basic needs to all of its citizens. It also has been immersed in western rules (capitalist or communist) for much of its modern existence;it has been a relatively long time since the country has suffered war;it had been once and for a long time heavily backed up by a former super power (USSR) and so on.

On the other hand for most of the underdeveloped or developing countries(like the emerging powers India and China) to reach the standard of living of the Cubans would be extremely difficult.Just think of their sheer geographical sizes and population numbers. Even Cuba’s level of growth and development is far greater than the one of most third world countries(and even many nominally developing and/or developed).It’s highly difficult for them to get even there.

What you don’t realise is that

a.Many basic prerequisites of a wealthy economy like infrastructure cannot materialize into existence out of thin air and in the blink of an eye.

b.ie in order to make most of the women of countries literate and to give them full habeas corpus on let’s say reproduction, enormous changes must take place in most countries. It’s not accomplished just by saying ok let’s teach them to read&write and hand out birth control pills when possible.

c.These changes to happen to these countries and societies means to truly radically change them.You cannot just turn a for ages war-torn second or third world country into a relatively medium wealthy advanced one by trying to “plant” thereto and from outside some institutions and normes. (This is even valid for ever country, even for developed ones when trying to bring radical change of any kind…)

d.These changes (along with infrastructure etc) if really get accomplished worlwide ,will radically change the whole global system.

In plain words I’ll have to repeat the question regarding a specific exemplar region: what will happen to the US (also the whole of western and even the global) economy,power and wealth if the Arabs,the Persians,and all the middle easterners,trying to elevate their living standards,trying to really become as peoples and nations wealthy, throw out all the westerners (mainly US-Americans and British) and raise oil-prices sky-high?? Why hasn’t this to this day happened???????????????????????????????????????????????

What has been happening to Cuba (a somewhat sui generis but nevertheless one might argue also a mediumly developed western country,) for some decades trying to get real independence???

What’s going on with Chavez????

I’m not arguing pro-Left here.I’m not a “Lefty” (I’m not being apologetic,even if I were a lefty that would be irrelevant). I’m just talking about some obvious geopolitical realities…

Errata: China India,high at GDP. China relatively medium to low at GDP per capita, India low at GDP per capita.

Thanatos said:

Errata: China India,high at GDP. China relatively medium to low at GDP per capita, India low at GDP per capita.

For measures like that, I think that normalized (i.e. per capita, per 1k, per 100k, etc…) numbers are more telling, and less in the category of errata. Per capita GDP values tell more about the average standard of living than overall GDP, for example. China and India are also rapidly changing, which means that some changes are going to come before others, so to see them as outliers in one way or another is something that I don’t see as surprising.

Cuba’s gdp is not known because the government does not cooperate with international agancies in regard to accounting.

The average monthly wage is about $20, although one could argue that this is heavily sullpemented by government benefits.

Since 1957, Cuba has neither gained nor lost much in its ranking with other Latin countries in literacy and infant mortality.

I’m not trying to compare political systems. I’m merely pointing out that sanitation and basic child health care do not require national or personal wealth. Sanitation, nutrition and immunizations are not terribly expensive, and are correlated with reduced birth rates wherever they exist, under all kinds of political systems.

[offtopic]

Jesse said:

Thanatos said:

Errata: China India,high at GDP. China relatively medium to low at GDP per capita, India low at GDP per capita.

For measures like that, I think that normalized (i.e. per capita, per 1k, per 100k, etc…) numbers are more telling, and less in the category of errata. Per capita GDP values tell more about the average standard of living than overall GDP, for example. China and India are also rapidly changing, which means that some changes are going to come before others, so to see them as outliers in one way or another is something that I don’t see as surprising.

Errata means errors (in print)and (loosely) corrections.:) I had being writing ,editing,rewriting ,adding,deleting things and somehow the final edition (before pressing submit)writes erroneously that China and India rank high at GDP per capita when they rank high at GDP.

The point that I am trying to make is that GDP , GDP per capita and most economic indeces (even though with respect to development most of the times GDPpc is better), are ,especially when used one or very few at a time, highly inadequate and misleading in representing reality… Better (in fact highly necessary) to use as many of them as possible simultaneously and in parallel.At the end even better to rely more on more hard-solid facts.

Ie somewhat irrelevant but highly characteristic of creative index economics: In my country -Greece- for the last decade we had been having low cpi-inflation (although most basic goods like food had doubled-tripled or more in price),big gdp (nominal & per capita) growth (fabricated and/or through massive public and private loaning),medium to low unemployment(ie in part by shifting from full to part time jobs),companies-factories fleeing to cheaper countries,constantly minimal to none R&D and therefore no real industry (basically this has being going on for for ever,we never have had a real and/or big industry-technology-high-tech sector),decreasing tourist arrivals (major “industry” for us) and so on… Despite all these things the politicians and the economists were saying based on indeces that things were going more or less great. Some of the indeces they didn’t care about enough was that of the deficit and most importantly of debt. Well the spreads were low (cause we were living in a bubble so both the country and the people kept on getting loans and more loans and more loans) and it seemed that we could handle the growing deficit and the debt cause getting loans was easy.… Now google “greek crisis” ,that is if you haven’t heard of what happened and what’s still happening… [/offtopic]

midwifetoad said:

Cuba’s gdp is not known because the government does not cooperate with international agancies in regard to accounting.

The average monthly wage is about $20, although one could argue that this is heavily sullpemented by government benefits.

Since 1957, Cuba has neither gained nor lost much in its ranking with other Latin countries in literacy and infant mortality.

I’m not trying to compare political systems. I’m merely pointing out that sanitation and basic child health care do not require national or personal wealth. Sanitation, nutrition and immunizations are not terribly expensive, and are correlated with reduced birth rates wherever they exist, under all kinds of political systems.

And what I’m keep replying to you is to explain us ,if it seems not that terrible expensive (or difficult) to you,how to achieve it in a non draconian manner(although draconian ways are also no panacea) for the few billion people of Africa,Middle East,Central&South America,Indian Subcontinent,Southeast Asia … without smashing down the global geopolitical&economical system and starting from scratch(although even by doing that, it again seems quite improbable)… On top of that note(it’s clear but I must emphasize) that I’m also refering to long term things…

Thanatos said:

[offtopic]

Jesse said:

Thanatos said:

Errata: China India,high at GDP. China relatively medium to low at GDP per capita, India low at GDP per capita.

For measures like that, I think that normalized (i.e. per capita, per 1k, per 100k, etc…) numbers are more telling, and less in the category of errata. Per capita GDP values tell more about the average standard of living than overall GDP, for example. China and India are also rapidly changing, which means that some changes are going to come before others, so to see them as outliers in one way or another is something that I don’t see as surprising.

Errata means errors (in print)and (loosely) corrections.:) I had being writing ,editing,rewriting ,adding,deleting things and somehow the final edition (before pressing submit)writes erroneously that China and India rank high at GDP per capita when they rank high at GDP.

The point that I am trying to make is that GDP , GDP per capita and most economic indeces (even though with respect to development most of the times GDPpc is better), are ,especially when used one or very few at a time, highly inadequate and misleading in representing reality… Better (in fact highly necessary) to use as many of them as possible simultaneously and in parallel.At the end even better to rely more on more hard-solid facts.

Ie somewhat irrelevant but highly characteristic of creative index economics: In my country -Greece- for the last decade we had been having low cpi-inflation (although most basic goods like food had doubled-tripled or more in price),big gdp (nominal & per capita) growth (fabricated and/or through massive public and private loaning),medium to low unemployment(ie in part by shifting from full to part time jobs),companies-factories fleeing to cheaper countries,constantly minimal to none R&D and therefore no real industry (basically this has being going on for for ever,we never have had a real and/or big industry-technology-high-tech sector),decreasing tourist arrivals (major “industry” for us) and so on… Despite all these things the politicians and the economists were saying based on indeces that things were going more or less great. Some of the indeces they didn’t care about enough was that of the deficit and most importantly of debt. Well the spreads were low (cause we were living in a bubble so both the country and the people kept on getting loans and more loans and more loans) and it seemed that we could handle the growing deficit and the debt cause getting loans was easy.… Now google “greek crisis” ,that is if you haven’t heard of what happened and what’s still happening… [/offtopic]

Ah, I didn’t realize that you were in Greece. Similar situation to what the US got hit with, just a couple of years later. Debt-driven crap-fest brought on by a service industry that was booming because the real wealth generating industries were gone, so people tried shoveling money around to make more money. (Flipping houses, mortgage backed securities and questionable loans, commodities markets, stock exchanges, etc…)

Looking back, it’s pretty clear that many of the indicators pointed towards a collapse. The biggest one? Well, lets just say that buying far more goods from other countries than we were selling (even when you include services + goods) is bad unsustainable mojo. You know what the US is still doing? Sending more money overseas than it’s taking in. It’s a lesson in how valuable it is to look past the end of the fiscal year that we simply aren’t learning.

The problem with fiat currencies is that people think that generating more money always equates to generating more wealth. Well, sometimes it does and sometimes it leads to bubbles that pop and make things worse in the long run. I’m not advocating going back to a gold standard, but if you asked me what I’d go to, it would be some vague standard where the value of a country’s currency was tied directly to the money coming into the country, the money going out of the country, the sum value of the goods produced in the country, and the total amount of money in circulation. That value of the goods produced part is the tricky part, because the dollar is worth what it will buy and a good is only worth the number of dollars people will pay for it. I just think that a currency system used should force people to live within their means.

The two biggest (fake) conservation voices for corporations and against conserving anything are The Breakthrough Institute and Audubon Magazine’s Keith Kloor.

A few questions on this topic:

1) Does anyone have good references in which the correlations between various factors (education, infant mortality, opportunities for woman-controlled birth control, non-family retirement funding, etc.) and birth rate have been measured? Would PubMed be a good place to search?

2) Does anyone know of a good hypothesis that would explain why people in a low-infant-survival setting have slightly higher population growth rates than in a high-infant-survival setting? i.e. why do we overshoot or undershoot consistently?

3) Why do you think that overpopulation is a “forbidden” topic for conservation groups (at least for US-based groups that I’m familiar with)? Since the christian community in the US is a non-factor in conservation, it’s hard the believe conservation groups are pandering to them or pulling their punches for fear of offending. Is it just an innate, non-rational compulsion humans have?

Thanks!

kakapo said:

1) Does anyone have good references in which the correlations between various factors (education, infant mortality, opportunities for woman-controlled birth control, non-family retirement funding, etc.) and birth rate have been measured? Would PubMed be a good place to search?

Thanks!

http://www.jstor.org/pss/2173609

Jesse said:

Dale Husband said:

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

No, that’s pretty much correct.

The problem is that the far right, and groups like the Catholic church, have leapt on this correlation as an excuse to insist that there is no overpopulation problem - anywhere. They’ve distorted the facts to mean that you don’t need birth control in the third world, and the west doesn’t have to worry about population density and Malthus. Anyone who raises the problem is branded as a crazy Dr. Death, or promoting forced sterilization. We’re familiar with this kind of propagandizing here.

Any birth rate difference between developed and developing countries doesn’t make the problem of overpopulation any less a threat. The obvious is the truth. There are too many of us to easily guarantee that future generations have a safe and comfortable existance for every person. Hundreds of millions undernourished and starving is not an acceptable reality.

Thanatos -

It seems that you are annoyed by either the idea that someone said something “good” about Cuba, or by the idea that there is a strong negative correlation between childhood mortality and local population growth rate.

As far as Cuba, it is true that Cuba is a communist dictatorship. I happen to oppose both communism and dictatorships, and to prefer democracy and a well-regulated market economy (albeit with generous social insurance programs and mechanisms of “redistribution” in place). However, it does not follow that every single aspect of life in Cuba must be unequivocally condemned. In fact, they do provide a very interesting model of a nation with ostensibly low per capita GDP, but with, according to most observers, relatively good minimum standard of living (*for those who are not political prisoners, of course*). There is no logical reason not to observe and learn from what goes on in other countries; indeed, refusal to do so is the defining characteristic of the superficially rigid yet deeply insecure ideologue.

As far as the correlation, it is a strong one.

As far as correlation and causation, it is a common logic error to imply that, since correlation does not always mean causation, correlation is largely meaningless. However, causation always causes correlation, broadly defined (not necessarily linear correlation). Furthermore, even in examples where correlation is caused by the actions of an unseen third variable on the two variables being studied, the existence of the correlation may be a clue in identifying what that third variable is.

In this case, I have already hypothesized causation above. If we acknowledge that parents may tend to want to have some surviving children, if we acknowledge that they may perceive some economic conflict between caring for many children versus devoting ideal amounts of resources to each individual child, and if we acknowledge that they may have some ability to gauge the fraction of children who seem to be surviving in the neighborhood, then it is highly plausible that they have as many children as possible when childhood mortality is high (thus creating net population growth despite high childhood mortality), and an “ideal” number of children when childhood mortality is low.

I can’t prove that, but it certainly is an intuitive and testable hypothesis.

Perhaps you think that I am suggesting that you “should” support conditions that would lower childhood mortality worldwide.

I am suggesting nothing of the sort. It is entirely a subjective decision on your part whether low childhood mortality, population control, either, both, or neither is a “good” thing.

I am willing to suggest that those who support population control, but who oppose attempts to improve childhood mortality, are in a logical bind.

Mike said:

The problem is that the far right, and groups like the Catholic church, have leapt on this correlation as an excuse to insist that there is no overpopulation problem - anywhere. They’ve distorted the facts to mean that you don’t need birth control in the third world, and the west doesn’t have to worry about population density and Malthus. Anyone who raises the problem is branded as a crazy Dr. Death, or promoting forced sterilization. We’re familiar with this kind of propagandizing here.

Any birth rate difference between developed and developing countries doesn’t make the problem of overpopulation any less a threat. The obvious is the truth. There are too many of us to easily guarantee that future generations have a safe and comfortable existance for every person. Hundreds of millions undernourished and starving is not an acceptable reality.

Actually, it is the developing countries that scare me the most. The US is currently the worst offender for CO2 emissions, or at least was last time I looked. The way things are going now, that will not be the case in the near future. China and India are going to smash our emission records, and they aren’t going to have as many regulations on other pollutants. Population reduction is a must, or nature will implement her own draconian measures on us. It is clear that fresh water is going to be a major issue for China, India and other undeveloped countries, and that will lead to food shortages. The last thing that I read on that was estimating that by 2025, some 1.8 billion people would be living in parts of the world where there simply is not enough water to support all of them. Water tables are dropping fast in many food producing areas. Global warming could change weather patterns to make things even worse in the next few decades. The rest of the world will eventually be faced with the choice of helping them out and putting itself on the fast track to being in the same situation later on down the road, or not helping them.

For the record, yes, I think that there are too many people in the US, but I also think that we have longer until big problems associated with overpopulation hit us.

For the record, I think population growth is a big problem; I would like to see the population decline over the next century; I would prefer the decline to be voluntary.

I think it is impossible to bring the world up to American levels of personal wealth; I think it would be disastrous to attempt a forced redistribution of wealth; I think reasonable standards of healthcare are possible without massive income redistribution.

I think religion is problem in regard to population growth. I think people tend to forget the religious prohibitions against birth control when they reach a certain level of material well being, and particularly when most children survive.

harold said:

Thanatos -

It seems that you are annoyed by either the idea that someone said something “good” about Cuba, or by the idea that there is a strong negative correlation between childhood mortality and local population growth rate.

No I’m not on neither. Perhaps you’ve mistaken me for someone else commenting??? ;) Please read again (more carefully)…

I’d argue that the US problem was not driven by debt as much as by a tax policy that made capital gains so ridiculously overvalued that it produced a series of bubbles dating back to the dot.com bubble. That chasing of value lead to the real estate bubble.

Thanatos -

Glad to hear you weren’t annoyed after all. I assume you agree with the rest of my comment, as you chose to reply only to that bit.

JGB said:

I’d argue that the US problem was not driven by debt as much as by a tax policy that made capital gains so ridiculously overvalued that it produced a series of bubbles dating back to the dot.com bubble. That chasing of value lead to the real estate bubble.

Well, there was certainly not any one policy that caused the problem. It was a myriad of things that I believe is rooted in the US not exporting enough valuables and importing too many. In other words, too many people in industries that provide services and not enough that provide goods. Even providing goods by proxy would be beneficial - i.e. we do some R&D, get a patent and somebody else uses that patent to manufacture goods. The expectation of a high standard of living in the face of this lead to moving money around trying to create more money. A few companies saw the writing on the wall before the rest of us and made some serious money off of our misfortune.

Our entire economy was on a bubble, and in many ways, I feel that it still is. This would not have been possible without the debt. Even in the commodities market, which was subject to (and still is, just not to the same degree) unfounded speculation, debt was an issue. Those markets run on margins that change regularly, but it is not uncommon to see 5% and 7% margins. That is a case of debt being used to leverage the market. To make things worse, some of the regulations designed to stop that kind of leveraging have loopholes in the form of bank swaps. These allow large institutional investors used to the dynamics of the stock market to get in and start messing with the prices of goods that you and I pay for. The big one that everybody noticed was oil, but this happened pretty much across the board. The intent wasn’t to drive the price of goods up, it was to make money. Intent didn’t really matter, because it did drive the price of goods up.

Next, you move over to the housing market where people were getting into homes that they couldn’t afford and other people were getting into homes that were overpriced. Run a google search on inflation adjusted housing prices to see just how haywire that whole market went. I’m sure that you’ve already heard about how the whole thing worked on the assumption that housing prices would continue to go up. Now you had people who really couldn’t afford the homes that they were in faced with the prospect of higher prices for other things like energy and food. The obvious result was a crash that propagated throughout the economy. The higher price of goods just made it happen sooner than it would have otherwise.

The best chance that I see for the US’s economic future is to improve upon our medical research industry and to work really hard at developing non fossil fuel sources of energy that are clean and affordable, then sell that to the rest of the world. Other high tech development is a must too. That comes back full circle to global warming, evolution and science education in general.

(I’d also raise the margins in the commodities market to 50% and close the bank swap loophole. I’d rather just get rid of the whole market all together, but that’s not going to happen.)

midwifetoad said:

For the record, I think population growth is a big problem; I would like to see the population decline over the next century; I would prefer the decline to be voluntary.

I think it is impossible to bring the world up to American levels of personal wealth; I think it would be disastrous to attempt a forced redistribution of wealth; I think reasonable standards of healthcare are possible without massive income redistribution.

Maybe a reasonable standard of (health) care is all that humans need. Maybe excessive wealth is only for them, who aspire after it?

I agree with you that infant mortality can be lowered without expensive investments. Also, it seems that population growth correlates positively with infant mortality.

Overpopulation has been acknowledged as a problem in sharing the limited resources (evenly or otherwise). Rich countries may occasionally complain about the large populations in other countries, but otherwise they do not seem to do anything to change the situation. Maybe the national leaders are not convinced about your hypothesis.

I think religion is problem in regard to population growth. I think people tend to forget the religious prohibitions against birth control when they reach a certain level of material well being, and particularly when most children survive.

I presume that you were thinking of the special kind of religions that are most prevalent in parts of the U.S.

harold said:

Thanatos -

Glad to hear you weren’t annoyed after all. I assume you agree with the rest of my comment, as you chose to reply only to that bit.

harold said:

Thanatos -

Glad to hear you weren’t annoyed after all. I assume you agree with the rest of my comment, as you chose to reply only to that bit.

:)

If you still haven’t understood what was my point let me try to put it in one phrase: It’s one thing to SAY “let’s improve living conditions,educate women,minimize infant-childhood mortality etc” (so that we get population control and therefore fight climate change and so on…); it’s a totally different thing to DO it in a mass scale and over long periods of time (by non dracontian, non malthusian ways).

P.S.totally offtopic: Last time used “malthean”,didn’t like it(no e in the stem),was going for “malthian” until I googled it,hmmm ,it’s “malthusian”; never gonna understand the strange antigrecoroman antigrammatical ways of english… So I just accepted it,wrote “malthusian” and then corrected “draconian” to the more proper (from original greek) “dracontian” as a revenge against this crazy lingua franca of the our times… :p

While I’m not an expert on demography, your observation seems correct, bsaed on articles and anecdotal information I have seen in the past:

Jesse said:

Dale Husband said:

midwifetoad said:

Population growth pretty much stops when children have a high survival rate.

Are you joking? That’s not really funny. By that logic, if all children die, our population should skyrocket!

No, that’s pretty much correct. There is a high correlation between birth rate and infant mortality rate. It’s not a straight-up y=x relationship, but the correlation is there. There is a woman who does research on pretty much anything that can reasonably be modeled as a network at UNM’s CS department. Many aspects of life itself fall into this category. One of the things you would hear her discuss if you ever attended one of her talks is how there is also a relationship between the number of offspring and the amount of energy required for a creature to sustain itself. More specifically, she is looking at the energy required for a creature to sustain itself, the amount of biomass that it produces as offspring, and with the exception of humans, the mean mass of the creature. It turns out that there are some very consistent relationships when looking at species as a whole. Especially for the energy-offspring relationship. That energy-offspring relationship holds for humans as well, even when you look at people in developed countries. Compare Western Europe to Bangladesh and you’ll see that everything is consistent. Western has a higher per-capita energy use, lower infant mortality rate and a lower birth rate.

@ Matt Young -

I don’t think your post is out of line here at PT, as a means of relating the importance of science literacy to relevant sociopolitical and economic issues. However, I would like to see somewhere additional information which would cause one to suspect that some of the major environmental organizations have been subverted by corporate sponsors. Am not sure whether it is wise to be sympathetic to one potentially yellow journalistic article in a periodical, The Nation, that may seem to be anti-business in its orientation all too often.

Even as an atheist, I am not convinced of GW or MMCC.

But the real reason for posting here is that this is not an atheistic or religious issue.

I think there has been a lot of trickery on both sides and it has become a ‘religion’ in itself. Both sides are going in with something to prove. Till there is a real objective review, I just take a position on it other than wait and see.

kg6mso -

Even as an atheist, I am not convinced of GW or MMCC.

I assume by “MMCC” you mean “man made climate change”.

I’m not sure what you mean by “convinced”. I am not convinced that we have a perfect grasp of the details of the human impact on long term climate trends.

I am convinced, however, that there is sufficient evidence for a negative impact that doing nothing is risky.

The biggest deception of all is the idea that the default is to continue doing what we are now doing, and only take action, however easy and beneficial said action may be, to reduce net CO2 emissions, if there is 100% proof of coming harm.

The logical default is actually to take reasonable actions to reduce potential serious harm now. Any sane person will admit that there is a probability of human impact on the climate, so the action with the best expected value is to reduce the risk with moderate actions now, rather than run the risk of facing dire consequences in the future. Driving a hybrid car and finding out that you “could have” driven a gas guzzler is not a big deal. Dealing with rapid and negative climate change because you would not consider any behavior modification whatsoever could be a very big deal.

The denialist position is not only logically akin to refusing to buy fire insurance in Southern California because the house isn’t on fire right this second, but in fact, akin to taking this position as the room fills slowly with smoke.

But the real reason for posting here is that this is not an atheistic or religious issue.

Weird reason, as this site is not an atheism/religion site.

I think there has been a lot of trickery on both sides and it has become a ‘religion’ in itself.

No, there has not. There has been trickery only on one side.

Scientific publications are not dumps of unedited data. That would be an absurd and grossly inefficient way for scientists to present their findings to other scientists. Rather, scientists present their findings in an organized and summarized way.

The “trickery” was someone telling you that this process was trickery.

Both sides are going in with something to prove. Till there is a real objective review, I just take a position on it other than wait and see.

Wrong. The objective review is that the case for human acceleration of climate change is extremely strong. In the first place, this would be the expected outcome of increasing the atmospheric concentration of so-called “greenhouse gases” to begin with. Denialists are arguing for an unexpected result. In the second place, many of the predictions made by climatologists, based on models which show human impact, have already been realized.

A massive number of denialists are directly employed by companies in the fossil fuel business. (Ironically, most of those companies have already staked out a position in the carbon-neutral energy arena. It would seem the executives are not as brainwashed as their far-lesser-paid propaganda mouthpieces.) The counter-claim that scientists benefit financially from climate change models is not only absurd, it is transparently the opposite of reality. Scientists are more likely to gain by making powerful industries happy.

But as I said, you denialists - and yes, my friend, you are a denialist, or were when you wrote your message - have “won”. I assume that there will be no meaningful action to address the risk. I assume that I will very likely see some negative changes in climate during my lifetime (arguably I already have). My hope now is to accumulate personal resources, and to protect myself and the people I care about from said consequences. There may well be substantial preventable human suffering as a result of climate change. What a shame.

There are two kinds of climate deniers: those who deny the physics of CO2, and those who deny the damage to credibility caused by the CRU.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environme[…]y-phil-jones

Thanatos -

It’s one thing to SAY “let’s improve living conditions,educate women,minimize infant-childhood mortality etc” (so that we get population control and therefore fight climate change and so on…);

I did not say “let’s do that”; I merely pointed out that evidence suggests that doing so would result in population growth control. (Which would indirectly tend to act against human contribution to climate change.)

it’s a totally different thing to DO it in a mass scale and over long periods of time (by non dracontian, non malthusian ways).

Yes, it is, although Japan, South Korea, Taiwan* (*putting aside arguments about Taiwan’s sovereignty) and many other smaller countries have managed to do so over the past few decades.

[offtopic]

harold said:

Thanatos -

It’s one thing to SAY “let’s improve living conditions,educate women,minimize infant-childhood mortality etc” (so that we get population control and therefore fight climate change and so on…);

I did not say “let’s do that”; I merely pointed out that evidence suggests that doing so would result in population growth control. (Which would indirectly tend to act against human contribution to climate change.)

I was just explaining in a nutshell my view(because you wrote I hadn’t replied to the rest of your comment).I didn’t say you did.Others though may have indeed done.Go through the comments…

it’s a totally different thing to DO it in a mass scale and over long periods of time (by non dracontian, non malthusian ways).

Yes, it is, although Japan, South Korea, Taiwan* (*putting aside arguments about Taiwan’s sovereignty) and many other smaller countries have managed to do so over the past few decades.

Again go through the comments to get what the minor offtopic quarrel is about. My argument is that it’s practically impossible and/or highly improbable to raise in a non malthusian non dracontian way living conditions et cetera (so that we control population so that we fight climate change et cetera) for the billions of people of the third world/developing countries. I wasn’t referring to the people of economic/industrial giants like Japan,S.Korea,Taiwan,countries for which (unlike ie china’s) their enormous wealth has more or less (I think this is an understatement regarding these countries,don’t you agree? :) ) spread out/through to their population…

[/offtopic]

midwifetoad -

However, there is no evidence of “trickery” by the CRU, in the sense of claiming scientific conclusions that are counter to actual data.

Your own link makes that clear. Poor public relations and even poor legal judgment, yes, but there is no evidence that the CRU or anyone else has lied directly about climate science.

Let me emphasize one more time that on climate change and on population, I am arguing mainly for the sake of expressing accurate opinions.

Paradoxically, at a time when many human populations have achieved record high life expectancy and record high probability of individual offspring survival to reproductive age, in my subjective opinion, unenlightened, decadent, short term selfishness is also at a record high.

Due to an infantile sense of unjustified entitlement and hate-fueled tribalistic bigotry, a massive proportion of the population of the world’s largest superpower are determined to block scientifically justified progress, and to live by a cult which they call “Christianity”, but which ultimately bears no resemblance to even the harshest traditional forms of Christianity, as it uniquely eliminates all concern for other human beings (so much for “the golden rule”), and serves mainly to grant is initiates an excuse for conscience-free living, because while it endlessly preaches hate and even violence against gays, independent women, physicians, scientists, etc, it grants its initiates the right to commit any sacrilege they desire, with the assurance that they need only claim to “repent” when they are caught.

It does claim to have a reverent regard for human embryos and fetuses, but this is merely code for supporting forced completion of all pregnancies to delivery, and blocking all forms of birth control, whatever human suffering this may cause to mothers and children. There is no actual evidence of advocacy of policies that would improve the well-being of pregnant women or young children from the religious right that I am aware of.

What we see as “good” or “bad” is a subjective decision. Actions speak louder than words. I personally think it would be “good” to improve childhood mortality worldwide, humanely control population growth, and take moderate, sensible action to limit human contribution to climate change. Perhaps you do, too. However, unfortunately, many of our fellow human beings are of the opinion that these things would be “bad”, and that “good” is to support whatever policy most appeals to their immediate greed, craven cowardice, and bigotry. They have the advantage, as all they have to do is prevent progress.

Incidentally, NO INSULT TO THE MANY HUMANE AND RATIONAL CHRISTIANS OF THE WORLD IS INTENDED BY MY COMMENT ABOVE.

I am complaining about the behavior of a subset.

Poor public relations and even poor legal judgment, yes, but there is no evidence that the CRU or anyone else has lied directly about climate science.

Bot a good plan when you are asking for a major shift in the world’s way of doing business. This isn’t exactly equivalent to arguing about superstring theory or cold fusion.

If the climate researchers genuinely want to save the world, they are going to have to make absolutely everything public, including the details of their methodology.

Science that has vast implications for public policy needs to be conducted with the greatest possible openness.

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