I disagree with Hightower.

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a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Climate Change

When I first considered the question of climate change I went online to the website of the National Academy of Sciences to see the minority opinion on the subject.  I found that there was no minority opinion.

So, since I believe in science (see Belief in Science and Religion ) I tentatively believe in Global Warming.
However, when it comes to the world human population I find two things that are strange:

1.       None of the proposed solutions that I have heard from the mainstream warmers include a major effort to reduce future human population which would reduce future problems by a corresponding amount.

 2.      Writers on the subject almost invariably assume that the population is going to a substantially higher level and they do so without commentary.


  1. WRT – reduce future human population: Agreed that population reduction seems to be an obvious mitigating measure and the lack of advocates for population reduction is (does seem to be) a major omission. A suggestion for population control that does not seem Orwellian would be interesting?

  2. That sounds great in theory, but exactly how do we do that? Follow Malthus' advice?

    "All the children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to this level, must necessarily perish, unless room be made for them by the deaths of grown persons… To act consistently therefore, we should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague. In the country, we should build our villages near stagnant pools, and particularly encourage settlements in all marshy and unwholesome situations."


    1. It is interesting that the almost universal response to this suggestion is some variation of: "Who are you going to kill?" Of course you do not have to kill anyone to reduce a population.

      One could simply observe the economic principle that if you subsidize something you will get more of it. If, for example, you quit subsidizing children you would probably get fewer of them. Once upon a time children were an asset and people wanted lots of them. Now, in advanced societies, they are a liability and people don't want nearly as many. Population decline is already a problem in Europe and Russia in particular. It is not so in the US, primarily because of immigration.

      So, it is not just in theory. Stop the income tax deduction for children, promote gay marriage, discourage early marriages, promote abstinence, ... .

      PS Beware of projections based on what is happening right now. As soon as they get well off enough to contribute to global warming, the people in those developing nations are going to find that their children are getting very expensive.

    2. I would only say that:
      1. I don't believe you are suggesting the killing of people.
      2. Reverend Malthus did not encourage the killing of people either. He just wanted to get out of nature's way and let people die naturally to reach a "balance with nature".
      3. I would be genuinely surprised if making babies more expensive would decrease the birth rate since the decision to have and raise a child in the first place is an irrational one. Just as having a pet is irrational. Neither a baby nor a pet can provide any tangible benefits and they are both very costly over their lives. At least if you decide to have a baby it's a lot easier than getting a pet and to make matters worse it's a whole lot more fun.

    3. In the old days farm children were an asset and city children were not. As the US population moved off of the farm and into the city the family size declined.

      My two sets of farming grandparents had 8 (6 survived) and 9 children.
      My mother's generation (mostly nonfarming) had 2.87 children per family.
      The 17 cousins of my generation have had about 1.3 children per family.

      But enough anecdotes. Here is the general data decade and number of children in households.

      1850’s 2.7
      1860’s 2.5
      1870’s 2.4
      1880’s 2.2
      1890’s 2.05
      1900’s 1.9
      1910’s 1.7
      1920’s 1.6
      1930’s 1.5
      1940’s 1.2 Depression
      1950’s 1.1 WWII
      1960’s 1.3 Baby
      1970’s 1.2 boomers
      1980’s 0.8 Pill
      1990’s 0.7 Pill
      2000’s 0.7 Pill

      The picture of this data is better but I couldn't figure how to put it in here. You can find it on page 22 of .
      Changes in US household size 1850-2000 .
      in the skit..
      You can also see it clearly in fig 3 on page 7.