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Posted on 6th September 2019
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Bernie Sanders, one of the contenders for the Democratic party nomination for presidential candidate, is getting ripped to shreds in the press, for his answer to an audience member's question during a CNN climate town hall event, as reported here, by the BBC.
The questioner said "Empowering women and educating everyone on the need to curb population growth seems a reasonable campaign to enact ... Would you be courageous enough to discuss this issue and make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe?"
Bernie Sanders replied: "Well, Martha, the answer is yes. The answer has everything to do with the fact that women in the United States of America, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies, and make reproductive decisions. The Mexico City Agreement which denies American aid to those organisations around the world that allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control to me is totally absurd. So I think, especially in poor countries around the world where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies, and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, is something I very, very strongly support.
Now he is being criticised for proposing the use of US taxpayer dollars to "kill brown babies". He did not even propose abortion as part of the solution; he said "birth control".
The problem is that Bernie is right. As I have pointed out before on this blog, the root cause of climate change and most other environmental problems that we are facing is that the planet's population is too big. Although birth rates are gradually falling around the world, population is still rising overall. Some nations have falling or static populations, but many countries have significant population growth (e.g. India and China). If we managed to fix global warming, the problem would come back again if population growth continued.
So clearly we cannot ignore the population issue; if we do, we are all doomed. US politicians going all "global thermonuclear war" about this issue is not helping.
It is time for a rational discussion of the options, the timescales, and the balance of wrongs and rights that are inevitably at play here.