back to article Doctors: Third babies are the same as patio heaters

A pair of doctors have said that British parents should have fewer children, because kids cause carbon emissions and climate change. The two medics suggest that choosing to have a third child is the same as buying a patio heater or driving a gas-guzzling car, and that GPs should advise their patients against it. Writing in the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doctors on Population Control.

    Or we could just ban Doctors as a form of population control.

    Extending the carbon producing life of people beyond their productive years is presumably just as bad as having a patio heater, gas guzzling car or third child.

    It would have the nice side effect of cleansing the gene pool, something which is long overdue.

  2. Pete Silver badge

    The policy no-one dares push

    This used to be a tenet of the Ecology Party way back, when. However the policy got quietly brushed under the carpet as they metamorphosed into the Greens. The obvious reason being that, while a logical extension of "use less, save the environment", it's incredibl;y unpopular - most of the party's supporters being parents (and all having been children) 'n' all. Principles are one thing, getting a shot at power is something else.

    Recent events (petrol/gas/leccy price rises) have shown us that, when people as a whole are put in the position of deciding whether to consume less energy, or pay more for it, they want to carry on as they always have - the Centrica chappy's unpopular comment about having to wear another sweater being a classic example. No doubt when the greenies are given the choice of not having more kids or saving the planet they'll make a similar lifestyle choice.

    I wonder what it'll take to make us all start living up to the principles we espouse? Actions speak louder than words.

  3. Ross Chandler
    Thumb Down


    The UK has a low fertility rate of only 1.66 children born per woman. Those having more children should be encouraged and rewarded. The size of the population in western countries is not the problem. They're going to go into a long term decline unless the births collapse is reversed. Non environmentally damaging energy sources like nuclear need to be increased rather than promoting a population decline. More young people are also needed to help pay pensions of the aging population.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dr Jamie is in the house...

    Here's a suggestion for these "doctors" - concentrate on doing what you're supposed to - delivering a decent service for your patients!

    I've had lots of bother with the NHS, from failing to treat a dying man with dignity to thinking a critical illness was a panic attack, failing to provide any kind of quality of life after that critical illness, stupid narrow minded GPs refusing to take my word for the symptoms I was dealing with, one telling me to eat more bananas to stave off the cramps I was having, another prescribing medicines from afar and refusing to see an ill relative.

    Don't get me wrong, the NHS can be good, indeed excellent in some areas. But it fscks up far too often.

    When "doctors" start making this kind of moral judgements it is time to question a) if they deserve the salary they are gettings and b) are they really providing a good service to patients.

    Medics treat those who need medical services. As the Hippocratic Oath says, "Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice". The GMC puts it this way: "Patients must be able to trust doctors with their lives and health. To justify that trust you must show respect for human life".

    Dr Jamie's prescription: Get off your soapboxes and treat your patients, remembering the Hippocratic Oath and the GMC's Good Medical Practice. I've had cause to get on my soapbox about poor medics in the past. If that soapbox comes out again, you'll be the ones getting a slating.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    imagine the BNP's response

    Something along the lines of "The British Race is dying" and tbh I'd probably agree :(

  6. Edward Pearson

    Been waiting for this...

    So THIS is how they're going to ease in the one-child-one-family initiatve. Great.

  7. Corrine


    Doesn't Britain have the same issues with too few children to sustain the population long term as the rest of the first world?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been saying this for years

    We're still having the baby boom sixty years after the war ended. Stop it, people.

  9. Michael

    The Real Green Agenda?

    So this is what it comes to - measuring human life in terms of being a "Carbon Burden". Sounds a bit too much like "the final solution" for my liking. The creepily named "Optimum Population Trust" should do us all a favour and take a running jump, thus solving their own problem and giving us some peace from their incessant unpleasant whinging.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear

    Perhaps someone should tell the government to stop paying chavs to pop them out in the vain hope that they'll prop up the pensions system then? I mean if one 16 year old chav can pop out Chantelle, Lyam, Shaniqua (cos it sands egsotic dunnit) and little Beckham during their lifetime and get paid for the priviledge then what are the chances that the mini chavs will do the same? Mostly they're going to grow up on benefits and suck the system dry too, so where's the payback?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yeah but while we're at it....

    ..let's face it some people's kids are better than others, why not make the parents apply to have kids, if they have sufficient green credentials then they can reproduce.

    Of course why not then make it harder for obnoxious people to pass the test, and ugly people, and smokers, and... ...just think of the society we could create, full of beautiful 'green' people!

    Sound familiar yet?

  12. Martin Gregorie

    Somebody has to say this

    "Maybe the docs should leave the eco advice to climate scientists or someone like that."

    Politicians and the general public, i.e. us, don't seem to be listening to the climate scientists. More and different voices are needed to get the message across and should be welcomed.

    One way of limiting the ecological damage we export would be to reduce the UK population to the point where it can be sustainably fed by UK farms. As the resources consumed by each of us are considerably higher than before the Industrial Revolution, it follows that the modern sustainable UK population is necessarily LOWER than the pre-industrial one. This point applies equally to all nations.

    Remember, too, that the ecological damage due to a child is not just the family's increased environmental footprint while its growing up. Its true footprint includes all the resources it will use during its lifetime.

  13. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Offsetting a species guilt for its proliferation

    Carbon offsets are the modern equivalent to indulgences.

    Paris, she's not feeling guilty.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Is of course to shag like crazy and then export all newborn immediately to Ethiopian nannies.

    Paris... well I did mention shag.


  15. Gerard van Wilgen

    Voluntary birth control cannot save the planet

    For the simple reason that those who want to have many children, will eventually outbreed the ones that are content with two or less.

  16. The Prevaricator

    I'd go for the patio heater any day...

    They aren't nearly so disgusting as babies. Also, I might one day come up with a clever way to make it run in an ecological manner. I reckon I'd only need a windfarm the size of South Lanarkshire to do it...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Sign up today!

    Yes folks the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is waiting for your call!

    Now at last you can do more for the planet than knit-your-own yoghurt, organic windmills and home-grown bicycles.

    The IT angle's obvious, a honking great biometrics database will be needed for citizens of the future to be able to prove they've got a License to Exist ,rather than being an unlicensed, third fourth or fifth child. At last a use for the cyberloos, roaming packs of death-dealing robot drone aircraft, Roombas and Asimos.... tool 'em up an let 'em rip!

  18. Craig Foster


    "she herself is off on sabbatical to Madagascar and Australia - no doubt having offset the carbon from her flights."

    I get quite a bit of mileage off a greenie friend who loves "the Amazing Race"... Each week I give her the approximate carbon amounts according to

    Yeah, my day job is a BOFH ^_^

  19. Seán

    Unwanted children

    I suppose if your name is Pip you know what it is to be an unwanted, spare child. Bound to affect your disposition.

    What is wrong with the medicos, why are they such psycho types? Do they recoil so far from seeing so much human suffering that they just end up dealing with meatsacks. Once they become that desensitised they start applying good accounting practice to populations of Human Beings and tend towards Shipman behaviour.

    The solution must be to have everyone who sees a doctor call back a month later. Then they can thank the nice doctor and assure them that the medical problem cleared up nicely, shake their hand and just say thank you. All this perceived pain, misery and ingratitude is clearly bad for the docs disposition.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't help but agree

    What happens when we have 80million people in this country? 100million in this country? 120million? Meanwhile there are sodloads of single mums, young mums, etc. etc.

    There's so many times you see stories in the nationals about bad parenting and you think: 'Kids shouldn't have kids'. While it's a slippery slope towards a 'two kids law', I wish culturally people would choose not to have children until they were, say, 25+ in a stable relationship.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahead of the game

    My wife and I are ahead of the game and stopped at Zero.

    No kids = more IT kit and Gadgets I can buy. I'll plant more trees and run more folding@home instances to offset the carbon for those.

  22. Anonny Mouse Cow Herd

    Not sure that I follow/agree with the logic...

    A country's (or a particular lifestyle's) carbon footprint is calculated by multiplying its per-capita carbon footprint by the number in that particular population. That much they have understood.

    But what they are saying is that because the Developing World has a smaller per capita carbon footprint, it is far less important that the Developing World makes the effort to control population growth. This logic only works if you assume that:-

    1) The Developing World has no right to improve its lot and to aspire to a Western lifestyle, and therefore there should be a halt in all attempts to improve the plight of the desperately poor. Any improvement in their conditions (barring some as yet unknown leap forward in technology) will dramatically increase their per capita carbon footprint. Can't have that. Sorry, mate. You're poor. Better get used to it.

    2) A complete halt to all migration from the Developing World to high carbon footprint countries. And, by implication, a halt in migration from countries with net population growth to those without. We've had to cut down on our babies, why haven't you?

    Funnily enough, I didn't notice that being called for. Probably because they wouldn't have looked nearly as trendy.

    Global warming may be a problem, but if a way was found tomorrow to suck the excess carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, the planet would still be in trouble. As engineers we can all try to improve things on the per-capita front, but the most important message just doesn't seem to register.


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Keep Out Of Global Issues

    Doctors need to concentrate on the their own job and look after the health of people on their books before becoming experts in global warming. If they kept upto date on issues and techniques in their own profession and stop making cockups, then maybe they can comment on other subjects.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    I would love to see the doctor or politician that dares to try and tell certain communities in Britain that they can't have more than 2 kids, no doubt it will be much along the lines of the doctors that came out and said cousins shouldn't be reproducing and will go down like a proverbial sack of shit - lets not forget, kids = benefits....

  25. Anonymous Coward

    So, WE should reduce our population...

    ...while 'developing' countries continue, between slaughtering each other in tribal/religious conflicts, to expand theirs?

    You know, starting back in the '60s a huge error of judgment was committed by aid agencies, both government and independent.

    Developing countries were given aid to cut infant mortality rates (agriculture, medicine, etc). In fact the FIRST priority should have been to stabilise population by providing birth control education and assistance.

    It wasn't done, instead we how have cultures breeding like rabbits in conditions which can't possibly sustain it.

    Now we, the ones who got it wrong back then, are being told WE need to, not just control, but reduce our population...

    Oh well, too late now. Just have to wait for whatever mother nature has in store for us. Mutated bird flu? Or something nastier? Having missed the chance to control world population, sooner or later, something's got to break.

  26. h4rm0ny
    Paris Hilton

    Population Control - You Is Doin It Wrong!

    A cap of two children per two adults isn't population maintenance, it's population decline because inevitably not all of those children will go on to have children of their own.

    And we're looking in the wrong place for population control. The native population of the UK (and most of the developed Western countries) is actually in decline already because people (a) have things to do other than having children and (b) there is a culture of wanting the best for ones children - university, good schools, food, toys, etc., so people feel that quality would suffer if they indulged too much in quantity. (Both of these factors made possible by ready access to birth control, of course).

    No - telling parents to limit their children is (even if the parents listen) not going to have the big impacts. Population growth is in local cases, propped up by immigration and, on the global scale, coming from poorer and less educated countries with poor wealth distribution. If you want to reduce global population increase, then you should be looking to bring about the same factors that have reduced average number of children per adult in Western Europe in the rest of the world - i.e. education, career opportunities, wealth and sexual equality.

    But the most obvious flaw in these muppets' advice is that they're reducing the wrong segment of the population. If you want population control to make sense, you shouldn't be reducing the number of the young, but of the old. And the problem there is not one of people being old, but of being incapable of supporting themselves. We have extended life-expectancy but quality of life has not extended as much. Hopefully that's catching up though.

    Paris, because she understands the proper use of birth control.

  27. Glenn
    Paris Hilton

    HumVee == strecthmarks

    I'll get my coat, Paris cuz she's a hot-air source

  28. Strange Movement

    Boycott the doctors !

    Please people, don't listen to these idiot doctors. It's one of your basic human rights to procreate. After all, shouldn't it always be considered such an awfully clever and skilled achievement to introduce another life onto this planet. I personally feel a deep need for you all to have as many offspring as possible, as each child you have is another possibly taxable income to help support me and the other marginally worried "baby boomers" at pensionable age. By the time my life is over, any expected ecological disaster should be well beyond retreating from and I really won't give a flying f**k about your kids miserable futures.

    Please don't listen to the scaremongers and protect MY future !

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The major cause of global warming is people

    I was wondering when somebody was going to open their mouths about population control. Here it is 2008 and there is still places on this planet where people need to be reminded that they are human beings and not rabbits.

  30. The Prevaricator

    I'm not one to pick up on grammar...

    ... but the tag-line should read "35m fewer Brits".

    Too late, you can't moan. I'm already miles away in my emergency escape black-tinted hovercraft, which apparently emits about as much carbon dioxide as a third child, at least according to my GP.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...I don't think the message will get to the right people:

  32. Adam Foxton

    160x the CO2 output of a child in Ethiopia?

    Well, why don't they try living with the CO2 output of a child in Ethiopia?

    Also does this include the longer lifetime of a child over here?

    And comparing it to a patio heater or gas-guzzler is just plain retarded. A gas guzzler won't be able to offset its emmissions wheereas a human could. Not only that, but cars are useful- kids aren't until you're old and need looking after or need help setting the VCR.

  33. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Up

    Idiotic but correct...

    It's an idiotic way of putting it, but they're basically correct.

    Again with the carbon monomania, which is unfortunate, but apparently the only way to get any kind of conservation-related story into the mainstream media these days. The fundamental point is that populations are too high to be supported at the quality of life to which they've become accustomed, with our current technological ability. We cannot at present sustainably produce (or get rid of, once we're done playing with it) enough food, power, or - frankly - plastics to support a growing population with expectations of all the same 'stuff' as its parents.

    The "it's all fine, scientists will save us all!" brigade have it ass-backwards: *first* come up with the breakthrough technologies in power generation, agriculture, pollution control and waste disposal, and *then* tell everyone it's okay to bonk their hearts out. But on the off-chance that cheap fusion or cheap super-efficient solar are not actually right around the next issue of New Scientist, it's a bit irresponsible to tell everyone that everything's just hunky-dory as it is.

    Sure these guys are out of their area of expertise, but then, so are a lot of other people who expect their opinions on this topic to be heard. I just wish they'd quit banging on about carbon.

  34. Philip Grass

    Third Babies - the solution

    So the simple solution would be to fly all UK mums to Ethiopia for their births !

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Breeding for God

    Fat chance of some members of the population cutting back on producing children.

    I'll get my coat; time to emigrate.

  36. greg

    It's about time someone dare to talk about it!

    It's a pity it takes Doctors to ring the bell on that subject, I agree.

    Nevertheless, they raise an extremely important point, that no politic would dare to approach even if it is their job to talk about forseeable problems...

    The western society's way of living is not sustainable for the population it concerns. Either we lower the population, either we lower our use of common goods.

    And if we don't lower population, who knows, the rest of the world could abruptly force us to lower our use of common goods : what do we do if the things we manage to steal from the countries where the 2 billions of people live with less than 2$ a day stop being buyable at all, for whatever reason ? Start WW3 ?

  37. Pete "oranges" B.


    From the article:

    "isn’t contraception the medical profession’s prime contribution for all countries?"


    Because things like antibiotics, immunization, life saving surgeries, radiology, etc. are just fun extras?

    I'm sorry, this man must be deranged!

  38. John Murgatroyd

    Less children ?

    17 million optimum population ?

    Who is going to do the work ?

    Less children = more old[er] people.

    Sooner, hopefully rather than later, "they" will start thinking.

    I will not hold my breath.

    Unless the agenda is 17 million young people with the old[er] people being brain-washed into euthanasia. In which case holding my breath will not be an issue.

  39. David Tebbutt

    baby unboom

    We're already heading for trouble finding enough tax payers to support increasing numbers of OAPs.

    Perhaps the good doctors are peering through the wrong end of their telescope.

  40. David Pollard

    Accountants already meddle

    "How would the doctors like it if ... accountants took to offering minor surgical operations?"

    By all accounts many problems in the NHS come down to the management structure. The installation of supermarket managers and the limitations of their somewhat poorly conceived financial models, targets and league tables, waste of front-line talent in report generation, and frequently poor allocation of resources all seem to have had a negative impact on patient care.

    The NHS database software too, as El Reg has reported, would apparently have been better had the implementation involved more prior consultation with the doctors and others who have to use it.

    Accountants and other non-medical professions already have a great deal of influence in the way that medical services are provided and delivered; and their influence is by no means always useful. Agreed, GPs nowadays don't have the status of demi-gods, but politicians, and a proportion of patients, do expect them to comment on lifestyle choices so we shouldn't be surprised when they do.

    Lewis reported at length on David Mackay's work not so long ago, in which he puts sensible numbers on environmental constraints of the real world:

    On the basis of the data it's difficult to deny that various anthropogenic factors present limitations to our finite world. Perhaps we should all take a look at the numbers, as Mackay has suggested, and see what sort of lifestyles are sustainable in the longer term.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Life on Earth

    I'm glad to be a patio heater...and besides, life on earth is hurting the environment. The stones are more comfortable without animals or plants...

  42. Stefan
    Thumb Up

    Wear a condom!

    How many greenies does it take to change a lightbulb and save the world?

    The answer is far far fewer greenies than we have now. Most greenies are obsessed with token gestures that will make no difference whatsoever. Meanwhile they accuse everyone else of being "deniers".

    If they believed that global warming was anywhere near as dangerous as they claim, they would stop having kids today. It is the simplest, most radically effective, and quickest way to see a real reduction in consumption.

    But instead they want us to change lightbulb and fly a little less. Would you listen to a greenie who has 3 kids? How about 2? Find me a middle aged greenie who has no kids and then we can start to listen.

    And no, I'm not funded by Durex.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Life on Earth

    I'm glad to be a patio heater...and besides, life on earth is hurting the environment. The stones are more comfortable without animals or plants...

  44. Dazed and Confused

    At last someone has been prepared to say it out loud.

    Good to see that at last someone has been prepared to say it out loud. If was want to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% we are going to need to control our population. Some people are talking about reducing by 80%. Well unless we discover a way to harness fusion PDQ the only way this is going to happen is by massive depopulation. The question will become more along the lines of can we achieve these goal on a 2 babies per mother basis or do we need to have a period of enforced 1 baby per mother. 2 would allow the population to shrink but only slowly, 1 would be a crash diet.

    Of course allowing the population to shrink will have massive knock on effects on the rest of society. Retirement? forget it, at least forget planning a long happy one. There won't be enough people left to a) pay for it and b) to look after all the elderly who reach a point where they are not able to look after themselves.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    3rd Child

    I have a patio heater and a gas guzzler. No children for me so....

  46. anarchic-teapot

    Too late

    "How would the doctors like it if... accountants took to offering minor surgical operations?"

    I believe there is at least one documented case of this, Please refer to 'A Merchant of Venice", by a certain Mr. W. Shakespeare.

  47. Chris G

    Doctors have a right

    To comment on anything as do the rest of us but attempting to dictate such things as the ideal global population is not a right. Particularly when they don't appear to have a clue about what they are talking.

    27 million is almost 60% bigger than 17 million, where do the numbers based on world resources come from? Are they that uncertain?

    Additionally If first world countries such as Britain were to reduce their populations so drastically there would be far less resources in the world. Where do these idiots think a lot of the resources are going to come from without the input of a working (sized ) population in the first world? Much of the technology, research and manufacture of equipment to realise those resources comes from the first world and the planet is going to continue to rely on the first world for those things for quite some time to come.

    I think it is important for the world's population to reduce ideally to about 2 billion but it is, without an extinction event or world war not going to happen quickly. Also, just getting resources from wealthier parts of the world to say Ethiopia to enable them to have an equivalent lifestyle as everyone else in the world is probably not economically feaseable, so what are we going to do move every one around so they can be managed easily? Like most idealists they don't seem to be looking at a big enough picture. I have just mentioned one or two things that came into my head in the space of five minutes and can see that they are on the right lines but must try harder before opening their mouths. Maybe like a lot of the greenies they would like all to revert to an agrarian lifestyle from two hundred years ago. That would reduce the population a bit.

  48. Anonymous Coward


    Have these two bothered to study them? They suggest that without immigration and the children of immigrants (1st/2nd gen are statistically more likely to have children) the UK population would be in decline, in common with that of other wealthy developed countries.

    Money seems to be an effective contraceptive!

    You could say that someone in the UK has 160 times the carbon emissions of an Ethiopian, then again they probably have a much higher economic output than the typical subsistence farmer - do you choose to put a value on that, or just say that everyone gets an equal slice?.

    There is the possibility that eugenics could be dragged into this too; the ones who breed most are typically at the poorer end of the spectrum, so there would be the option that the benefits system would allow certain segments of society to be 'encouraged' not to breed and it could be argued this would be good for society - in other more productive sections of the population lack of income seems to do the job even though you could argue that they should be encouraged to reproduce.

    But I wouldn't want to live in a society that thought along those lines.

    To be honest some of these people need to realise that 'equal shares' as a concept is never going to fly, it's fundamentally incompatible with the way any organism behaves. Some will always get more, and some will get less.

    I suspect if they thought they could get away with it they'd be in full-on fascist mode and advocate culling populations which exceed local sustainability levels - after all if some parts of they world lost a billion or two, the survivors would be so much better off wouldn't they? And just think of the emissions savings...

    If they were really serious about reducing global population they'd lead by example - preferably via euthanasia.

    Personally I think that giving these kinds of people the oxygen of publicity is wrong. They don't understand the problem, they don't have a solution, and all they do is encourage the real freaks that their ideas might have some value.

  49. David Willis
    Paris Hilton

    Babies and Patio Heaters

    Fair comment,

    However even fairer would be how much Co2 do Dr's and Politico's produce in the UK. Both groups are higher than average income, ie larger houses & larger cars (when did you last see your GP on the bus?). Perhaps this could be measured, reducing the number of GPs and Politico's could possibly improve the UK's Co2 output.

    Alternatively (taking a holistic view). Maybe we could make use of the hot air produced by both groups in abundance

    (GPs and plitico = hot air production unit).

    Using the convection currents created by rising hot air to drive some sort of small wind based electricity generator.

    EIther mount these generators on each producing unit, or place generators in areas where production units gather (lecture theaters, operating theaters, the house of commons).

    I'm almost certain that the amount of hot air created by the house of commons could make the building a net electricity exporter. Anybody want to fund the research ?

    Paris.. well she creates lots of hot air (mostly from journalists and sex starved teenagers)

  50. Grumpy Old Man

    Reality check

    Were I to observe that a new-born baby weighs the same as a small bag of potatos, that does not mean that I think that a baby IS a small bag of potatos, does it ? So why on earth should comparing the CO2 emissions of a baby with those of a patio heater imply that a baby is the same thing as a patio heater ?

    It seems to me that what OPT are saying that if there were fewer people on the planet, there would be less stress on the ecosystem and that finite resources would last longer.

    It makes sense to me, it's about time the political parties took this on board rather than repeating the illogical mantra that economic growth (which means even more rapid resource depletion and environmental degradation) is the answer to everything.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    squeezing out a patio heater would certainly hurt more.

  52. Francis Fish

    I think they can shut up

    Yes ... only non-smoking CRB checked individuals who meet the guidelines in the new Best Parent Whitepaper should be allowed to reproduce, after their DNA has been checked for criminal tendencies.

    Didn't the Nazis and others of that ilk have similar views?

    I think the state has already gone too far ... now the do-gooders are trying to cut our bollocks off as well (metaphorically speaking, of course). I wonder if this unwanted prying advice will be the same for different racial groups? Or is that just me being cynical again?

  53. Fake Fiftyone


    As a doctor she is clearly unfit to give advice on global warming/energy use by societies/etc and as such should not counsel her patients on it. As a private person she is very much allowed (and should be encouraged) to voice her opinion as these things - but it definitely SHOULD NOT take place in her practice and definitely NOT while wearing her doctors badge (or whatever GPs are given to represent authority).

    Truisms, obviously ...

  54. Quirkafleeg

    "35m less Brits"

    Ahem. 35m *fewer* Brits.

    Otherwise, yes, reduce the population. By ⅔ will do nicely, and if we can get a 50% (or more) reduction in resource usage at the same time, so much the better.

  55. Rick

    Pot meet Kettle

    So let me get this straight that would make me a patio heater? I'm the third kid in my family. Second, seriously is it any better for someone in a developing nation to have 5 or more kids as they are less of a carbon foot print then 3 kids in a developed nation, what are they on cause I want some of that. Also begs the question how many brothers and sisters do they have.

    John Guillebaud - Wife and 3 kids

    Pip Hayes - Husband and 2 kids

    >/ just doing my part to add to the carbon foot print.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Strike them off!

    The GMC "Good Medical Practice (2006)" guidlines tell doctors to "Recognise and work within the limits of your competence". Given that they are touting carbon offsetting they are clearly working outside the limits of their competence.

    Doctors are actually part of the root cause of the alleged population problem - they are the ones that are causing more people to live longer and hence have a bigger carbon footprint. Instead of promoting "stop at two" perhaps they should give up their cushy little jobs - that way the UK population would soon be back down to the levels they want to see through diseases, lack of IVF etc.

    Paris 'cos I think she had more clue than they do!

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Final Solution

    "Labour" camps for chavs!!!

    We could pretend that due to reform of the benefits system, they need to work for their benefits, and make them do "comunity service" in big camps.

    oh wait...

    then when our lizard overlords arrive we have a nice managable productive populace to take control of, rather than the freeloading selfish lot that currently populate the country.

    Where "community service" becomes a euphamism for the gas chamber...

    well... itd solve the prison population problem...

    yours ironicaly,


  58. Matthew Cochrane

    Shock: Doctors have been watching old stand-up routines

    Didn't Bill Hicks say something similar some time ago?

    I can't remember the exact quote but it was something like: "Can you calm down on your rutting just for a couple of seconds until we can figure out this food/ air deal?"

  59. Tanuki
    Thumb Up

    Foetal Repurposing.

    Why am I now thinking of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" ??

    With suitable social-engineering, barbecued baby and chicken-fried foetus could be the must-have menu items for the coming decade.

  60. Kevin Patrick Crowley

    Marching morons

    Cyril Michael Kornbluth was right about those two idiots.

    They should be invited to participate in a voluntary population reduction. But of course there lives are TOO IMPORTANT to lose.


  61. Adrian

    Battle of the pseudo-scientists

    So in the blue corner we have the doctors, who would like to see a population that's sustainable, and in the red corner we have the economists, who believe continuous growth is the only way to pay a pension. Let battle commence.

    I don't have much faith in either - both their 'science' is based on statistics measured without proper experimental controls, because no-one will give either group the freedom to try (OK, the Nazis did try some medical experiments .. and the economists have been experimenting with the US and UK economies .. I hope the latter will be considered as distasteful as the former was).

    On this occasion my sympathies are with the doctors (who appear a bit less short-sighted than the economists) but I'm afraid I wouldn't put any money on them..

  62. Anonymous Coward

    The Elephant

    Population is the elephant in the room behind just about all the major problems facing the human race. Nobody wants to mention it, even though most who understand will quietly say off the record that we are going to end up with less population in future, one way or the other.

    We in Britain need to do something towards reducing our population (self sufficient we ain't) but its in what used to be called the third world and what now gets politically correctly labelled "the developing world" that the biggest changes have to happen. We simply cannot deal with development in the standard of living AND large families, and frankly its the large families that are going to have to go first.

    At the root of it, the problem is religion. Being horrible throwbacks to past ages, they love to grow by telling their adherents to 'go forth and multiply'. Well now they have to tell the adherents a different story, 'keep it in your pants'.

    Forget carbon credits or other such green junk - what we need is a taking of the major religions by the neck and a forcing them to toe a sustainable line. Catholics, muslims, hindus, etc. all have to be forced to change - at gun point if necessary. It's at least cheap to achieve, and will do more to affect global warming than all the recycled plastic bags.

  63. Wade Burchette

    Ah yes, population control

    Do you need more evidence that the out of control eco-nazis care more about a tree than a person? These people either talk about, both overtly and covertly, population controls. Some even going so far as to wanting to kill millions, themselves excluded of course. These eco-nazis hate people in general. Their thinking is so twisted that they can actually sleep at night pushing this sick agenda. They have no qualms about burning people at the stake, so to speak, if they disagree with their religion and ideology. And yet, these are the people that governments listen to telling us we are destroying this earth.

    No matter what you think, reducing the population is not the answer. Telling people to have less children is not the answer. Climate change is a myth promulgated by the eco-nazis and those who want money or power or both. While we are polluting the earth in very bad ways, reducing the number of children in this earth will not solve that problem.

  64. Thomas Steven

    This is some of the dumbest environmental bull ever

    If these whiners really believe in human caused CO2 engendered environmental catastrophe, perhaps their argument is bogus, and if they really want to put their money where their mouths are, they should be encouraging maximum population growth to make the oil run out faster, which would pretty much end the production of CO2 that they seem to have a problem with. Which probably gives a whole bunch of other problems. Mainly that without widespread use of nuclear and coal the vast majority of the population left will be reduced to slavery or serfdom.

  65. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    Is there anyone else here...

    who wonders who the idiots are who are staying on these doctor's lists?

    What are they likely to do when someone has a critical illness and only has a 50:50 chance of survival? Do their damnest to save their patient because that's what a good doctor does, or wave them bye-bye because that's what a good ecologist does with a carbon-based life form which is surplus to requirements?

    I know I would be off to a doctor with a less politically-driven agenda like a shot...

  66. Steve

    It'll happen whether we like it or not.

    Voluntary control, or millions dying in famines. There is a limit to the number of people planet Earth can support, and if we're not there now, we'll get there soon. Maybe we need to get Geldof & co. promoting condoms instead of BandAid.

  67. goggyturk

    The End is Nigh

    > Asked if, say, fusion power would be OK, McDougall was highly sceptical. > "They've been talking about that for 20 years," she said..

    People have been speaking about the end of the human race for at least 1000 years and it hasn't happened yet. My money's on fusion working long before the grim reaper comes to pay the human gene pool a visit.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds reasonable to me

    Listen I've got two kids myself, and that's more than enough for any sane person! God gave us TWO arms for a reason :-D

    Can't see what the fuss is myself.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I would agree the UK population is probably too big... but before starting with compulsory abortions, lets start with mandatory deportations, and chemical castration of ASBO members!

    As for people saying we'd probably be outbred by the other countries - who give's a crap?! Finland and Denmark only have around 5m people each.. and imagine the bliss of rush hour!.

  70. Simpson

    kill em all?

    Oil? too ugly/dirty.

    Hydro-electric dams and reservoirs? too many trees drown/too many animals displaced.

    Nuclear power? those towers look too scary.

    Cover 10% of the world in windmills? Great idea!

    We will never replace the currently consumed energy output of oil, with wind. The humanity / civilization haters will never let it happen.

    They will get everyone to agree to the IDEA of replacing oil with wind, etc., and agree to curbs on production, consumption and exploration. But they will never allow the replacement sources for all of that energy to be built. They will keep moving the goal posts farther away.

    Oil drilling has been opposed for being ugly. Who wants to see oil rigs in the middle of some pristine view, even in places where there are no people there to see that view? Plus you have the damage of building pipelines and service roads.

    But how many windmills does it take to replace the energy output of one oil well? 10? 100? 1000? Windmills will require huge areas of land, they too will need service roads (and electrical substations), they too will blemish the landscape. This will be ok?

    It is never going to happen, and it is not the goal. The goal is simply to make energy expensive, through legislation, regulation, artificial shortages, and guilt. It is your disgustingly high standard of living that they hate. That is the target.

  71. Publius Aelius Hadrianus

    Condoms and non-doms

    Why should forgo my flight to New Zealand and have to buy those irritating low-energy lightbulbs when my next-door neighbour goes and drops four sprogs who will wipe out all of my attempts at being 'green'? And of course their sprogs will soon have more sprogs thus ramping up their carbon emissions exponentially.

    I'd much rather live in a world with half the number of people, so we'd all be twice as rich. Houses would be half the price, food cheap as chips and we could burn petrol gleefully without feeling guilty.

    And for all those who are worried about having people to care for them in their dotage, there's an obvious solution - LET PEOPLE MIGRATE FROM AFRICA.

    Easy. Problem solved.

  72. Vendicar Decarian

    The Domestication of man Continues

    "The UK has a low fertility rate of only 1.66 children born per woman. Those having more children should be encouraged and rewarded. " - Chandler

    Yup, that's madness.

    I know madness when I see it.

    Consuming at U.S. rates of consumption, global population will have to be reduced to 1/5 to 1/10 it's current size, if mankind intends to survive for very long.

    The Domestication of Man continues.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nasty trend. Don't go there!

    OK, so everyone we don't like from now on is just a waste of carbon. Can't wait for the government to weave that into their policies. Sounds more than a bit sinister to me. After all, are the poor more of a waste of carbon than the rich??

    Oh, and I'm right with you Capt'n Jamie when it comes to the Hippocratic Oath. Doctors should give their honest opinion on the health issues affecting their patients and not be swayed by green propaganda - and that includes advice on the health benefits of patio heaters.

    I'd expect my solicitor to represent my legal interests whatever his views on the greater good. I damn well expect my doctor to behave likewise.

  74. Robert Grant

    Playing the (wo)man, not the ball

    Doesn't matter if they're doctors, you don't judge an argument based on who's saying it, but on the argument itself. Keep the ad hominem to the anti-new-aircraft articles please (ad machinem?); surely there are enough of those for you to be going on with!

  75. RW

    Global epidemic

    Overpopulation is moot topic anyway. All you have to do is find a reliable graph of (estimated) world population over the last millennium to see how it's spiked since about 1850. Any animal species, including Homo sapiens, that undergoes such a sudden and dramatic increase in numbers is eventually hammered back into the ground by an epidemic.

    'Tain't going to be pretty when it happens. Hope I'm gone before then as it will genuinely mean the end of civilization as we know it.

  76. Adam Foxton

    @"While We're At It" AC


    Apologies for my awful accent.

    You just wait- the greens'll be declaring large noses and high skin pigmentation "unneccesary wastes of energy" soon...

    It's the one with the "Reductio ad Hitlerum" on the back

  77. Anthony Cristoph
    Jobs Horns


    The Globalists have co-opted the environmentalism movement. This has always been about reducing the world's population.

    By convincing the "Useless Eaters" that we are just that only serves to help advance their plan for incrementalist beureaucratic world domination and population reduction.

    One day, people will realise the conspiracy theorists were correct on this one. But by then it will be too late and therefore inconsequential, as the world begins to crumble at the hands of an authoritarian global fascist dictatorship, whose plans have been carefully flourishing since at least the 1931 US recession and quite possibly before.

  78. Perpetual Cyclist

    I was a third child..

    ..but since the second one died I suppose that lets me off...

    I have not produced any children although I am father to two. The problem with children is that there are far too many of them in the world, and since we have hit the global limits to growth, a very large number of them are going to starve to death in the coming decades as the world population has only reached 6.5B on the back of fossil fuel powered agriculture. Fossil fuels are running short, and the green revolution is going into reverse as poor third world farmers are priced out of the market. Of course, this is not helped by our selfish profligate consumption in the first world. Two hundred years from now the global population will be below two billion. The only question is, how will we get there?

    Even intelligent, rational people who realise what is coming continue to have children. It just shows how 'rational' we are, as a species.

  79. b

    good idea, let's start with immigrants!

    english people are only having about 1.4 kids per couple anyway?

    if it wasn't for people crawling here from dusty, backwater states and seemingly having never heard of birth control or having been dictated to by some silly religion and breedin like bleedin' rabbits our population WOULD be smaller!!



    stuff and nonsense:

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    Streets filled with leftovers from black market surgical operations.

    (Degrading anatomical parts release more greenhouse gases than previously thought)

    The rise in black market operations has risen dramatically due to the collapse of the NHS. This is due to the rapid influx of vasectomies, sterilisations and terminations which has caused great strain on the resources of the health service.

    In turn, this caused all of the surgical staff to go on strike disputing work hours and pay rates. Sadly, it was all too much to bear and as costs spiralled out of control hospitals were forced to shut down.

    As a knock-on effect, poverty is more widespread than ever before as back-alley surgeons are charging extortionate amounts for relatively simple procedures, Pestilence* is on the rise as hygiene standards are rarely adhered to and you can't get a sachet of soluble paracetamol for love nor money.

    See also: The "Two-Bricks" method of male sterilisation has featured heavily on many self-help television channels.

    [* - It is true that he retired decades ago muttering something about penicillin but he has since found that his niche market has returned.]

  81. E_Nigma
    Thumb Down

    I wonder how thick glasses these people use...

    ... because they are awfully shortsighted. There's a reason why we need a certain slightly positive population growth rate - otherwise we turn into a nation of old people with relatively few workers who have to produce for all.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's been done before

    I think that last time they started with the jews and the gypsies. perhaps the good doctors, this time are expanding their scope to take in the poor and the unemployed.

  83. davebarnes

    Plague? Could be good...

    Let's bring back the Black Death.

    Only, we'll call it the Green Death as it would be so good for the country to have fewer people.

  84. Trix
    Paris Hilton


    ...those who are whining about the "fact" that the declining birthrate in the Western world won't allow your pensions to be paid in the future, that is. Of course, all the BNP sympathisers don't think of the obvious answer - immigration. Import somewhat-skilled types from wherever, and you have them paying their taxes while they work, and their kids become little Poms and they pay taxes too. Win-win.

    /Paris, because she hasn't bred yet, thank god.

  85. Pete


    Round them all up and make bio(baby)deisel out of them

    2 birds, one stone.

  86. AgeingBabyBoomer

    Is it just me?

    but the real problem here is patio heaters.

    The whole concept defies logic - a fossil fuel powered device for heating up the outdoors.

    I mean here we are hand wringing about the cost of energy, global warming and making our homes energy efficient, thne we trot outside on a warm summer's evening and fire up the bloody patio heater. A decade ago, we just put on a jumper.

    If doctors want to campaign for something, it should be for a ban on the sale and use of patio heaters, on the grounds that the environmental impact is as much as having another child.



  87. lvm

    Tell me something I don't know...

    ALL of modern problems - terrorism, depletion of natural resources, high gas prices and congestion charges have one pretty obvious cause: overpopulation. 9 out of 10 people shouldnt' actually be here, one must be blind or belong to intellectual majority not to be able to see it. Of course our democratically elected rulers need more sheep to fleece, not a nicer world to live in so they will never support a courageous policy aimed at actually reducing world population to more reasonable values and rather force us to share what little we have and live the common misery.

  88. Bruce Sinton

    It's Simple

    Population reduction is simple, just get a little microbe that caused that reduction a few centuries ago.

    It was the one that infected people with the Black Death.

    Unpleasant but very effective.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many folk

    The place is overpopulated and only sustained by oil production.

    Unless someone comes up with free unlimited electricity, something needs to be done or else the whole civilisation thing will collapse when food runs short.

    How to help.

    1. Stop paying child benefit.

    2. Stop giving council housing priority to 'single mums'.

    3. Stop paying dole to immigrants.

    4. Stop NHS treatment, dole and council housing for criminals.

    5. Make religious groups pay for the children they encourage their followers to have.

  90. Andy Worth

    Missing the point.....

    Quite a few people completely miss the point to this article, using it simply to have a go at doctors and/or the NHS.

    One of the AC's actually struck the nail on the head. While it still pays extra benefits (more money, bigger council house etc.) for people to have children, there will be a certain workshy proportion of the population who will happily drop 4 or 5 sprogs. In turn, children quite often turn out like their parents, so will increase the numbers of those people with the same attitude over time.

    Now while I don't wish to see us moving into some kind of Orwellian society, where you need a license to have a child (Fortress is one film based on this), although there are even some benefits to this. However, perhaps the Government needs to look into ways of stopping families from producing limitless numbers of kids with no means of supporting them other than benefits? That would also have the added benefit of reducing the strain on the tax-payer.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Oh Dear

    Yeah, it's the same here in Canada. Third or fourth generation welfare recipients poppin out the babies, the more they have the more money they get. This is a wide spread practice here amongst that segment of the population and far too many never finish high school let alone go on to higher education.

    The welfare system needs to be redesigned so that a person can draw on it for lets say 10 years maximum with no additional payment for a larger family.

    For those already in that system the clock could start at zero and the government should be responsible providing educational opportunities to those in the system (already does to some extent). Those incapable of attaining any type of education could then receive a disability pension. Those who just don't bother, oh well.

    Some will say this is unfair and will cause trouble. I say that trouble is well in the making and on the way. Besides it's the human condition really. Isn't it?

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logan's Run

    What we need is population control like in Logan's Run

    Also, we can do the same for Prison Population Control.... The Running Man.

  93. James Anderson

    A modest proposal.

    Why dont we just stop working thus saving carbon footprint from all those journeys to work, and we can also shut down all those carbon dioxide producing data centres.

    We can then return to each growing our own food in the back garden (without the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides).

    The results of course will be malnutritien and disease, but of course we wont get treated for this as the doctors are desparately trying to grow enough food to live on in the back garden of thier surgeries.

    Problem solved -- reduced population, and the surviors will have same carbon footprint per person as etheopia.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wel well....

    So all you brilliant reg readers seem to be in agreement that the planet can support unlimited population growth ? Or is this one of these 'it's all THEIR fault' threads...?

    Peter R.

  95. Kevin Kitts

    You all missed the point...

    perhaps if they cut down on the admission of immigrants, the local population wouldn't have to cut down on babies. After all, the citizens who were there first should have first dibs at producing children. The immigrants pay less taxes and buy less goods over time due to not being in country all their lives, so they get more out of the system than they put back. If this isn't an argument for home-grown rather than outsourcing, I don't know what is.

    Unless, that is, the British government really wants to have no citizens at all and remove all rights from the workers...sounds like they want to make a colony out of Britain, except that there's no parent country.

    Put up the walls and let the wombs produce, I say.

  96. Zmodem


    most of the middleclass are a waste of sgace anyway, and live theyre whole lives on depression notes from a few months after paying theyre first bill

  97. Philip Bune

    Utter tosh

    Sounds like the good doctor's have been playing with the medicine lockers while they were trying to find something to do.

  98. P. J. Isserlis

    Infinitely growing population - of course it's necessary

    Is it not obvvious that UK in particular and Western Europe in general is overpopulated? Just look at the rising cost housing, the spread of concrete, the growth in traffic. Even in the last ten years in Uk it is clearly getting worse ever faster.

    What is this false logic of needing ever more people to sustain ever more people? Yes, there may be a a pensioner-boom as population drops, just like the baby-booms of recent decades. I would hope that all our wonderful, technical advances may help to manage this (care, health etc. not euthanasia) until nature works its course and we return to a more sustainable population density that benefits everyone and the environment, both natural and our own. Seems to me blatantly obvious that 60 million and growing in UK is insane. Most of that growth is in the last fifty years.

    I should have thought that, whatever one thinks of medics promulgating opinions, the basic idea of 20-30 millions as a proportionate population for the British Isles is reasonable, much more so than the idea that one must have more taxpayers and import or breed more young workers for the old peoples' homes, who in turn grow older, need more tax payers and young carers, more housing, more transport, more food .....

    I note that, in the various surveys of highest quality of life etc., it is generally the less densely populated lands and smaller overall populations that seem to come top; politically too, they often seem to suffer less from over-intrusive, unresponsive governments, though in the case of this forum, we computer idiots should be grateful for all the extra work computerising the control mechanisms of the failing democratic systems.

  99. Anonymous Coward

    Quality is as important as quantity!

    I have a degree, so does my wife. We both work and pay taxes etc. Our two kids are bright, intelligent, articulate and potential world-savers (at 4½ and 2½). There's a third on the way - I see it as an attempt to offset the decline in average intelligence that seems to be going on in New Labour's Britain.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Less children & Pensions.

    The grammatical slip suggests another solution, we breed in a midget gene thus each child will consume fewer resources.

    It's unfortunate that many of you haven't noticed, but the state pension is dwindling, if you're in your thirties or younger you are paying for your own old age as well as the previous generations pensions. The problem was that the following generation was always expected to pick up the tab, but really, you need to get your own bill while you can.

    If you've not got your own pension, it's going to be grim or short.

  101. Chris Bradshaw


    On average, children of environmentally concerned parents will be more 'green' than their peers. if environmentally aware people have fewer children, while non-green (black? :-) ) types still have the usual number, the environmental awareness of society will be lower than it otherwise would be, thus causing a bigger problem in the long run.

    What we need to do is limit the number of children of the environmentally unconscious, perhaps targeted mailings (free condoms or coupons for vasectomies? castration??? :-) ) against Hummer and SUV owners...

  102. Anonymous Coward

    Someone has to say it...

    Somebody has to say what people do not want to hear. Why not doctors? We have been living in a fool’s paradise where cheap energy has allowed a population not possible perhaps 100 years ago. Now as we are starting to see the cheap energy diminish, the ability to feed these people is in question.

    If your policy is to have more children in order to support an aging population, then you need to consider how useful this workforce will be if they are unable to support themselves. Perhaps as cheap energy does decrease, the average lifespan will also decrease, thus negating the need for support of the aged?

  103. Mark

    Huh. I'd thought this was what El Reg wanted!

    After all, we keep breathing out CO2, so cutting back on the mouth-breathers should help.

  104. Mark

    Re: Less children ?

    Well, the average age on death has gone up by 10-15 years since "retirement at 65", so why not work another 10 years? That'd give you more workers.

    And in any case, corporations outsource all the jobs (except their own) so fewer kids means not fewer workers but fewer people on the dole.

  105. Mark

    Re: So, WE should reduce our population...

    Well, how would you feel if an Ethiopian doctor told *us* in the UK "don't have three kids"? Given how much stick they are getting ("they shouldn't talk on global issues" is a good one: plenty do that here with no education at all!) as doctors in the UK saying what should be done *in* the UK, there'd be a good risk of invasion!

  106. Gerry

    Latterday Malthusians

    The doctors are only expressing what Malthus,, had to say about over-population. And look at the trouble he got into with his theories.

    As for the ageing population issue, there's an argument that goes like this:

    1. People are living longer after retirement;

    2. Therefore, we need a larger workforce to generate taxes for pensions;

    3. The native workforce is dwindling so we must increase immigration to help us meet the commitment to a decent pension for all.

    There's a flaw in that logic, unfortunately. When this larger workforce eventually hits retirement we will need even more taxes to pay their pensions. So we will need to increase the size of the next generation of workers yet again, ad infinitum. I think we know where that scenario is leading. I believe people should be encouraged to work longer. There is a problem with that proposition of course because of the endemic ageism in society. You need look no further than IT for instances of such an attitude.

    Going back to the population-size issue, I suppose the difficulty a lot of people have is conceiving of natural limits, not just to population but also to many other areas of human activity, such consumption. Petrol is a good example. This is a limited resource; most people concede this fact but proceed to consume it in the kind of way that suggests they actually believe it is limitless.

    Personally, I don't see ever emerging the kind of global consensus we need to tackle over-population and over-consumption. It's a dog-eat-dog world. Our politicians will continue to sell us a dream of a better tomorrow because that is what we wish to hear. If they say otherwise then we dump them out of office.

    For those who still believe over-population is not a problem for us I recommend watching events in West Africa. Distance-wise, it is very much on our European doorstep. There is as yet a tiny trickle of people heading for Europe in their effort to escape poverty. The damage to their environment can only accelerate this mass emigration.

  107. Robert Brockway


    I don't know where you heard that Britain is still having a baby boom but it isn't true.

    Almost all developed nations are in natural population decline and have been for decades (only immigration is keeping the ship afloat). A few developed nations are just holding their own in natural population. The world's burgeoning population is all in the developing world.

    The problem is that the natural birth rate is so low in the developed world that without immigration the ratio of tax payers to old age care recipients will eventually reach a point that the governments could not longer sustain their social welfare systems. This is why the developed countries are allowing so many skilled immigrants in - it isn't because they feel like giving a piece of the pie to the less fortunate.

    This problem was predicted decades before it emerged (the downward trend in natural birth rates was pretty obvious) so I'm surprised more people don't know about it.

    As an aside the rate of population growth planet-wide has been slowing since the 1970s due to resource exhaustion but this too seems to be a little known fact. The world's population will not continue to grow adinfinitum. The final figures keep getting revised but last time I checked the world population was predicted to peak at about 9.5 billion sometime in the 2nd half of the 21st century.

  108. Mad Mike


    Perhaps these idiot doctors should think of the logical conclusion to their idea. Your worth would be judged on the amount you do ( etc.) against your carbon cost. Therefore, if you're gainfully employed doing a lot of good quality work, you're worth more than a pensioner for instance. Therefore, all unemployed people are the same as pensioners. Cost a lot of carbon for no gain.........................

    Next logical step....................

    Seems like the Nazis are still around.

  109. Anonymous Coward

    Real problem

    Real problem is that we will soon need 3 planet earths to sustain our population and the present rate of resource useage. Need to sort out this global mess for problems way beyond just CO2. UN needs to agree a long term plan to let the population "naturally" decline to 2 billion max. UK at 1.66 seems pretty good to me, but places like India where perhaps it is 5 is a far bigger issue for everyone. Time to take your jacket and step off this mad world.

  110. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Cretins

    Hello Mr Godwin! Always a pleasure.

  111. Mark

    Whats wrong with you people?

    Firstly - have to say that carbon emissions is not the biggest reason for proposing population reduction. I think the two docs are band wagon jumping here. Best reason for having less children is to improve our lives - the place is getting crowded and would be more pleasant if it wasn't. Resources are getting scarcer and we are all (well most of us anyway) having to work harder and longer to maintain what is classed as a decent standard of living in our capitalist society. Certainly we need to stop rating our standard of living in terms of wealth and start looking at quality of life instead.

    Secondly - to all the people saying population reduction is a bad idea - which planet do you live on? If you can't see that this congested, noisy, overcrowded, overworked, polluted, chaotic, unjust world ain't that pleasant to live in then you are clearly insane. I'm assuming that as you are against population reduction you are in favour of population increase. Which is a clearly a route to some very major conflicts over resources and/or mass starvation. Population will reduce anyway in the end just having less kids is a lot more pleasant route than war and famine.

    Thirdly - the argument that children are needed to pay for old people is for the most part nonsense. If all the money that parents spent on children was saved for retirement instead then people could probably retire sooner and wealthier.

    Just my £0.02. And loved the Bill Hicks quote - he always did cut through the balls in a truly unique way.

  112. fixit_f
    Thumb Up

    Common sense - well said that man

    This would mean there are less bloody kids about - that's a tangible benefit worth having, the carbon saving is a mere bonus. Charlie Brooker said it best,3604,1581501,00.html

    As a species we're essentially a parasite, so less of us would mean less strain on the planet's resources. As the residents of the most carbon using per capita countries it's logical that we should be the ones that act first, children in developing countries are often seen as an asset that can be put to work so we'll struggle to convince them to put bits of plastic on their peckers any time soon.

    While economists may talk about the problems of a dependent ageing population that's increasing in size, spawning more sprogs to pay for them is a daft idea and a self-perpetuating cycle. One generation is going to have to eventually take the hit and keep it's own size small while paying a significant chunk of tax for their elders to clear off with some dignity and comfort, and I guess it might as well be us - we've been stitched up by our parents generation plenty already (with things like house prices) so we're pretty used to it now.

  113. Alexis Vallance


    On the list of things that should be a factor when having a third child, the extra carbon emissions is so unimportant that it's not worth a second thought.


  114. Anonymous Coward

    Its easy to fix

    If the effects of global warming are as bad as predicted, there's a good chance _it_ will reduce the population on its own.

    If it isn't, well, all to the good, isn't it!

    All the policies which seem to be proposed appear to be either cosmetic or worse than the problem! If you want to keep consuming energy at the current rate, going nuclear does appear to be the best of a collection of bad solutions. At least the problems only appear if things go wrong, rather than in the normal course of events. If you do have to reduce the population by half, that could easily be arranged too...

    Arrr, that would _Dr_ Blackbeard to ye! There be a disaster on the horizon and I be the first to make a doubloon out of it!

  115. chris
    Dead Vulture

    Optimum Population Trust in "talking mince" shock.

    The only folk who take the OPT seriously are the journalists and op-ed writers who are the target of their press releases.

    Its significant that they bring out the anti-immigration fuckwits, too. By focussing on numbers of people rather anything meaningful like western consumption levels, they enable people to point the figure at those nasty swarthy-looking types and say "see - too many of *them* more like!"

    At which point those with a vested interest in the ever-increasing tat-production economy and its associated ecological collapse can breathe a sigh of relief as they not only get let off the hook but start investing in flammable crosses, golliwog dolls and pitchforks.

    Always the same response to OPT types: you first, then. I'm off to bring up a brood of class-conscious eco-anarchist kids.

  116. Big_Boomer
    Paris Hilton


    Pensions won't be an issue as the govt are already requiring people to work longer. I won't get a state pension until I'm 67.

    As for the population problem, that's been the obvious solution to ecological/environmental damage but we have hard-wired programming to go forth and multiply so it takes some effort to over-ride it.

    Economically we live in a system that either grows, which requires more people, or collapses, which kills people. Sooner or later, if we keep growing in numbers, there will be a catastrophic crash, which we may or may not survive as a species.

    What to replace our economy with nobody knows but we need to start looking before it's too late for us, and for the planet.

    Paris because she provides relief for those of us who fight the reproductive urge. <LOL>

  117. Frank Bough
    Thumb Up

    It Looks Like the Climate 'Consesus' Just Jumped the Shark

    Now the Eugenisists are on board, next stop is total scientific leprosy.

    I was only planning on having the 2 kids, but now I have a strange feeling we'll go for a third.

  118. Sam Tana

    Pensions and that

    People suggesting that an ever increasing birth-rate and population is a good model for a stable and sensible economy are stark, staring mad. Over population is the root of just about every major problem on the planet not caused by religion of one flavour or another.

  119. Mark Donnison
    Thumb Down


    "Much of the technology, research and manufacture of equipment to realise those resources comes from the first world and the planet is going to continue to rely on the first world for those things for quite some time to come."

    Just because the Doctors are spouting piffle that is no reason to follow suit. Much of the above comes from the developing world, the UK long since ceased to be a player in most fields of research, development and Manufacture.

    The fifth biggest Manufacturer in the UK is a Supermarket chain (Not Tescos), we really are a nation of Shopkeepers now and the rest of us are either making the equipment the Supermarkets need to sell their wares or growing/making the wares that the supermarkets sell.

    The developing world is trying to make their contribution to Industry/research/Manufacture, we (the first world) are living of our past contributions. Lets not get too carried away with our current contributions to the betterment of mankind..................

  120. Mark

    Whats wrong with you people - part 2


    And a few policy suggestions to discourage people from breeding - mostly a little controversial:

    - No more free IVF on the NHS. I don't see why I should have to pay tax so people can have kids unnaturally, so that I then have to pay more tax so they can be educated, immunized, locked up, etc

    - Contraceptive implants made available free to all when they hit puberty. I seriously feel sorry for these kids that get locked into a cycle of benefit dependency from the age of 12/3. Lets give them a chance for gods sake.

    - All our international aid money to be directed into family planning projects. Seriously. Current policy just allows populations to increase beyond the environments ability to sustain them. Lets change the focus to development of long term sustainable populations rather than keeping people alive (and usually in immense poverty and suffering despite the aid) in an environment that cannot provide them with enough to live on. Some parts of our planet just aren't designed to be populated.

    Seriously we need to start thinking about it or some of the nightmare scenarios in sci-fi will come true. My favourite was a Robert Heinlein one where the world government declared everyone over the age of 70 legally dead.

  121. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: It Looks Like the Climate 'Consesus' Just Jumped the Shark

    Let me get this straight, Frank - you're now planning to have another child (well, when I say 'have another child' obviously I mean 'impregnate partner', credit where it's due and all that) purely to spite a couple of scientists you've never met?

    That is the most awesome justification for procreating I've ever heard.

  122. Simon Langley

    Physician heal thyself...

    ...and keep your noses out of issues that are of absolutely no concern to you.

    Doctors should focus on the standard of their medical care. There are many excellent aspects of health care in this country but there are also many areas in which doctors' performance could improve and I respectfully suggest that they stick to their knitting and leave environmental issues to someone better qualified to opine on the subject.

  123. Anonymous Coward

    Ethiopian children ecofriendly? ... and counting games

    Did anyone notice the bit saying that a birth in Britain causes more carbon emissions than one in Ethiopia? Is that maybe because a birth in Ethiopia is more likely to lead to the death of the mother, and the child will probably die young of perfectly treatable diseases or starvation? They can't emit any carbon because they are miserable! Is that what we want for the world?

    By the way, both my husband and I have exes, who have new partners that they're not having kids with. Alltogether, those six adults have only four children between them, three of which happen to live with my husband and me. So if you ecowarriors see me with my three kids, remember that in fact, to fulfill the quota of two children per two grownups, we can still have two more!

  124. Stephen Cole

    Elderly First?!

    Surely it would make more sense to euthanize everyone over the age of 70 first?

    We give them 5 years of retirement (ample opportunity to knit a hat & move to eastbourne) then it's off to the soylent green plant with them.

    Now i'm not as harsh to suggest that we should process & eat the elderly but perhaps they could be recycled into compost/fertiliser so we are only indirectly consuming them.

    I think this is a fair & balanced approach myself... anyone else have a better idea?

  125. Anonymous from Mars

    Logical step.

    See you on the next planet!

  126. oliver Stieber
    Thumb Up

    at last some common sense.

    If there was only one person in the world then there wouldn't be any climate and resource issues.

    There must be some point between one and the current population that has the right balance. And if we don't find that balance soon were all going to be in a lot more shit than the terrorist could ever cause.

  127. Paul R
    Paris Hilton

    Simple truths

    With regards to human consumption of natural resources (irrespective of your beliefs on the causes of global climate change), then yes this is absolutely the right thing to do. Allowing the world population to continue to grow unchecked will be disastrous.

    Our ability to maintain an ageing population in this country is a different matter.

    Paris, as she knows something about supply and demand, along with unforeseen consequences.

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I love all the casual talk about "population reduction"...

    ...from all the neo-Malthusians in the house. So who's going to be the one to decide who lives, who dies and who commits genetic suicide then? You lot? I think I've seen one comment in this whole thread (Mark) that made any practical suggestions (e.g. why the Hell do we support IVF etc?), but in order to achieve real population reductions in a timeframe that would have any meaningful impact you're talking about some pretty nasty stuff, and at a global level, because whilst its correct that wealthier populations produce fewer children, they also use far more resources per head, so economics won't come to the rescue, especially as the two largest countries in the world are the ones increasing their per capita resource use the fastest.

    So personally, I think we need to shut the hell up about population reduction before someone takes us at our word and starts picking and choosing who's going to die. Apart from anything else, we're human beings for fuck sake, NOT parasites; evolution gave us a brain to get out of desperate situations, not just so that we could sacrifice the rest of the tribe; we should be thinking of ways to survive with style. Right, get to it.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It is rather simple and painless to implement a population control strategy. Simply pay child benefit to the first child only and you could even go as far as to only pay it to mothers who conceived over the age of 18.

    It would certainly make parents of teenagers think long and hard about what their daughters are doing if they knew the state wouldn't support any drunken accidents.

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    eugenics - you've gotta love it... But every few generations someone pops up presenting it as an answer to all our woes.

  131. Mark

    Re: Elderly First?!

    Why wait till 70?

    Retire EVERYONE over 60 immediately. Five years living and then off them.

    You should allow them to cash in their annuity as a lump sum and have inheritance tax on anything left over.

    Heck, you might not be able to last long enough at 60, so make it 55.

  132. James Bassett

    An Alternative

    People keep harping on about "we can't have more kids because who will look after the old people".

    So, perhaps the Policy should be, for each child over the 2-per-couple allowance, we sacrifice a grandparent?

  133. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...there was only one person in the world then there wouldn't be any climate and resource issues."

    Well, there would be something of an HR issue.

  134. andy

    Theres nowt wrong with patio heaters

    Patio heaters use a minimal amount of fuel and should not be painted in a bad light.

    "We're already heading for trouble finding enough tax payers to support increasing numbers of OAPs."

    There are and never will be trouble finding enough taxpayers to supprt the OAPs -- it's all rubbish. There are more than enough immigrants coming to the country each year to fund the elderly and then some.

    The gov. should stop participating in illegall wars if they want to save a few billion quid

  135. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely this will be killing the future income of atleast a third of the population? Not too mention making benefits cheating harder, thus depriving them of much needed flat screens and beer money. They may even be driven to find a job. The right to bear children and then get the state to pay for them, ot atleast give the parent the money to spend on bear.

  136. Mark Donnison

    I get your point and raise you one......

    "However, perhaps the Government needs to look into ways of stopping families from producing limitless numbers of kids with no means of supporting them other than benefits? That would also have the added benefit of reducing the strain on the tax-payer."

    I have four words for you:

    Education, Education, Education, Reform.

    Make kids go to school, don't let them leave till they know enough to be productive, scrap the welfare state and rebuild it so that it cant be used to sponge off. Easy?

    The above requires work and effort, the people who we will rely on for that work and effort are Polititions and Civil Servants........... Who are a bunch of lazy, inefective and freeloading bastards.

    In short they wont do it, cos its hard....

    What will they do instead?

    They will tell me how many times I may play hide the salami with the Mrs. Why, because its easy and they like telling me what to do.

    Meanwhile, while I am busy selling beans and not procreating/speeding/smoking/getting fat/producing CO2 etc, they will be busy with their expenses forms soaking up more of the countries resources than all of chavdom x 2, so you will excuse me if I don't sound too enthusiastic about the Government 'doing something' to tackle the problem......

  137. Mark

    Re: Benefits

    "It is rather simple and painless to implement a population control strategy. Simply pay child benefit to the first child only and you could even go as far as to only pay it to mothers who conceived over the age of 18.

    It would certainly make parents of teenagers think long and hard about what their daughters are doing if they knew the state wouldn't support any drunken accidents."

    Agree completely - in fact maybe that benefit for the first child could get bumped in value every few years as long as no further kids have appeared.

    In addition I think we need some kind of legislation around parental responsibility where parents are punished for the crimes of 12-17 year olds. We'd soon see the little brats behaviour improve if the parents were going to get punished for their crimes.


    The only downside to using financial levers to control population is it is biased towards the wealthy and I really don't like the way it discriminates against the poor. We need to discourage the poor (and everyone) from having kids til they are old enough and educated enough to handle it - not discriminate against them alone.

    Maybe have a tax escalator to improve the fairness - so people on 40% tax rate get bumped another 10% for every child.

  138. James Pickett


    "Retire EVERYONE over 60 immediately"

    I think you'd find that most productive work in the UK would cease. Much of our economy (well, what's left of it) depends on people in or around that age group. That may not be a good thing, but while so many of our yoof show little interest or aptitude for real work, then we need to hang on to those who have.

    BTW, cutting out all carbon emissions from the UK would leave 98% of them in place, so if they really are important, other solutions may be necessary.

  139. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Add crack cocaine to the pill

    Give it out freely and the only women who will have babies will be those who will have the will power to get themselves of it (and who are far more likely to make decent mothers)

  140. Peter

    Immovable objects and irresistible forces

    Why do I suspect a canal barge of green nappies is headed for a converted windmill as we gaze on.

  141. Anonymous Coward

    if... but...

    So many different and wonderful ways to really offend people... curse the Moderators (but only very gently, a plague of hats would be nicely suitable).

  142. Colin Jackson
    Paris Hilton


    Do you have to be an 'out of control eco-nazi' to think that the 4th most densely populated country in the world could perhaps be...y'know...a bit less densely populated. They DID talk about a sustained 0.25% pa decline - hardly a catastropic reduction. At that rate it would take a century to get down to 46 million, and nearer 2 centuries to get down to their target population size.

    Paris, cos this is a shagging thread.

  143. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    GCSE geography

    Said that the optimum population for the UK was 33 Million back in 1992 when I did it.

    But the government will do some kind of voluntary thing which means nothing will happen and yadda yadda... just like ofcom, the advertising people etc etc.

  144. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But not for pollution...

    They should instead employ population control for people who obviously cannot pay to take care of their child. Thus causing us huge tax bills.

    ten child ten father mothers should be shot...

  145. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: if... but...

    Curse the Moderators? But if we didn't let people speak their minds, we'd be censoring. We can't win!

    I'd quite like one of those 80s sun-visors, please, I dunno if that qualifies as a hat.

  146. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At the risk of being labeled racist...

    ...are there not 'certain ethnic groups' who have 3+ children.

  147. steogede

    They've got a cheek

    First they lower infant mortality, then they increase life expectancy, finally they invent fertility treatment - and now they're blaming *us* and telling *us* not to procreate.

  148. jimmy
    Thumb Down

    population control

    People use resources, therefore people are responsible for resources running out (and possible climate change). Therefore more people = more problems with lack of resources.

    Doctors deal with population control every day of the week. So WTF are you lot going on about Drs not being qualified to talk about this? F3ckin idiots!

    I would say a lot better qualified than a bunch of IT bods.

    If anyone has ever studied populations and modelled their behaviour you will know that they are limited by lack of resources, disease and lack of space (oh and in the human race, War too).

    So go ahead if you want, multiply have as many children as you can it'll only shorten the human races life expectancy even further and who knows i may even be alive to witness the downfall and laugh and say i told you so................

  149. Helmut Watson

    Where's my carbon credits?

    I have no kids at all therefore I should be receiving carbon credits to sell to those that want more surely?

    Woof !


  150. conan


    If you live longer, you should work longer; I'm in my late twenties and expect to work to 75. I have no interest in supporting an aging population who want to have their cake and eat it by living longer but not working longer - the taxes I'm paying for their pensions are what will cause me to delay my retirement. State pensions should be based on a ratio of years worked to current life expectancy.

  151. Andrew Thomas

    Well done, the doctors

    Well done, the doctors. The only people with the guts to say it: there's just too many people in the world.

  152. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The motives of Enviroonmentalism

    I've always struggled with the basic motives of the Environmentalist Religion. Who are we preserving the future planet for ? Children. What is the single most carbon-costly activity you can avoid ? Children.

    I'm glad someone is asking the difficult question.

    PH, environmentally sustainably barren, she also recycles so I hear.

  153. Mark

    @James Pickett

    Well, as a response to someone who wanted 70 year olds euthanised, why not 60? You're either no good, in (soon to be obsoleted) manufacturing or management (where you've been taken out of the productive process anyway) by the time you're 60.

    I'd seriously like to see any studies showing 60yr old workers are more productive. A figure pulled from the colostomy bag.

    NOTE: I'm middle aged, so 55 is pretty close for me.

    PS: if we reduced our CO2 production to half, our per-capita is the same as Sweden's. We can also point to anyone else (like, say, China or the US) and tell them to change.

    I though we were supposed to be a world power and a leader of the free world (tm). Well, how about LEADING!

  154. Anonymous Coward


    All you people are bad and need to die off quickly, and the ones left need to be tax untill your living the nobel lives of the peasant.

    Long Live Mother Gaia.

    ./* Mines the one with the pre-barcode so I have my place in the extermination camp.

  155. Simpson

    More war

    We will need a world treaty conscripting every person to 5 years of military service, at the age of 70. Then we can fight an enless war over midway island.

    Maybe we could televise it, add a few more islands and a yearly trophy. National teams could be awarded points bases on how many carbon footprints they eliminate from the other teams.

    It will be bigger than the world cup.

  156. Anonymous Coward

    Shall I call my unborn child Hummer?

    Whilst awaiting the birth of my son (joining his brother Alan, and sisters Josselyn and Daisy), my wife and I will contemplate naming him Hummer Patio Heater, so his carbon footprint will be announced to the world.

  157. Mark
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Shall I call my unborn child Hummer?

    Shall I pop round now and neuter you or wait and kill the child while he's helpless in the hospital?

  158. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a sec ...

    ... all this talk of needing a younger workforce to carry on our social care/pension fund. Since WHEN have we had a decent amount of either?

  159. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Artificial Intelligence is the Solution

    I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.

  160. ian

    The Black Death

    Historically, a shrinking population has done the survivors good. The Black Death in the 13th century carried off about 30% of the population of Europe, leaving the rest 30% wealthier.

    When the missus and I shuffle off, we will leave our tykes a bit more by having less of them. And we won't have needed an act of God to do it.

  161. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    world population... china + india = rest of world combined

    hopefully greenies are practing reducing carbon footprint by (1) not having children and neutering any they have (kind of like pet control). remember, you're ALL expected to do your part in NOT contributing to the problem.

    since when did it become ok to pop out children and expect everyone else to pay to feed, clothe, and house them? stop the handouts - period.

    you mean i shouldn't have had those 42 sprog, even though I've been working full time since i graduated school? shame on me, too late now; sad that i've brought them up thinking for themselves and with the idea in their head of making something of themselves and not being sheeple.

    Paris, 'cuz she loves soylent green cuz she knows what's in it.

  162. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Artificial Intelligence is the Solution

    Yeah, and that Agent Smith speech was bollocks as well. Two words: rabbits, Australia. And there are plenty of viruses that don't consume their host. The lesson is; try not to base any belief system on Hollywood, its never a good idea.

  163. Alan Esworthy

    @David Tebbutt

    "Perhaps the good doctors are peering through the wrong end of their telescope."

    I suggest that to see daylight, the good doctors need to peer through the wrong end of their sigmoidoscopes.

    ...the Alien to help with those probing questions

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Failing to see the problem here...

    The population can't keep expanding for the very simple reason there isn't a bottomless pool of resources to be tapped. The doctors aren't calling for euthanasia, they're talking about a move towards a lower population by people tying a knot in it after two.

    I went to a hustings at OU during the last general election and this question came up (it was at a university) and watching the candidates squirm was fascinating - and worrying. The Tory/UKIP position was that no one should be told what to do and it'd get in the way of economic growth. The LibDem/Green position was that this was a problem, but they didn't know how it could be solved; and Labour (in the form of the Android MP for MKSW) was that that no one should be coerced to do anything - yeah, thought you'd like that.

  165. Michael

    Only in UK!!

    I find it amusing that someone advocating having less children would proceed to use those same children as the justification for combatting climate change...

  166. greg

    Stupid to put Malthus and eugenism in this topic

    Malthus was right.

    Remove oil and see how much food the world will produce... Nowadays, USA use 10 cal of oil to produce 1 cal of human food... And Europe should be close to that ratio as well.

    Eugenism is off topic : the one who said, who will decide who we have to kill got the problem wrong :

    If we let population grow to the point it has to collapse, nobody will chose who to kill : there will be famines, which will lead to civil wars and state wars, which will lead to epidemics, etc...

    If we start to lower population now by lowering breed, nobody will have to die early ; you can't kill a non-born individual. If we let thing go THEN people will have to die early, and a non-natural and most likely violent death.

    And for those who forgot, remember New-Orleans after Katarina, please.

    Now imagine London with food for 1/10th of people in shops abrubtly, and imagine the civil war.

  167. Saffy Graham
    Thumb Down

    Population control is within the realm of medicine, thank you very much.

    It's called upstream thinking, and like it or not population control is in the realm of public health, which includes mainstream medicine. A healthy environment is necessary for the health of people and overpopulation is a serious threat to human health. Whether it means using more chemicals to produce foods, meeting the ever growing demand for technology, or increasing carbon emissions related to transportation of goods and people, the total population of the earth (especially amongst the relatively wealthy) has a dramatic effect on everyone's health. It is just another way of approaching the greatest problems of our time (global warming, environmental toxins, emerging diseases). I have every bit of faith that we will overcome our current situation through advances in technology, but it will also require critical thinking about how to address problems on the fly and being adaptive to changing demands. Anything related to reproduction is, rightfully, a slippery slope. But I do not see a problem with providing recommendations and offering sound knowledge for people to use for informed decision making. To me the idea of having any more that 2 kids is absurd for nothing more than practical purposes, but everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.

  168. Pete "oranges" B.

    Space Race 2.0 time...

    If you want my opinion, what we need is a good ol' fashioned international Space Race; this time for self sustaining colonies on other planets in our system. Many problems now pushed more in the "solved" direction. More than that, it paves the way for interstellar colonization and escape from the looming burn out of our star.

    I propose UK vs. China vs. USA.

    Now go on governmonkies, pull out those hidden program funds, don't want lose face in front of those: (Commies/Limey Bastards) / (Commies/Redneck Yankees) / (US/UK Capitalist Pigs).

    And now we get some popcorn and wait...

  169. Herbert

    Of course they are right

    It has all been said in the following article:

  170. Anonymous Coward

    Missing the point

    It's completely irrelevant how many children you have if the population continually increases by immigration. It's happening in Canada. And while that may be code for many who simply don't like the ethnic balance changing, sorry, I have no problem with that changing ethnic balance. We did it to the original inhabitants here. It's just the total numbers of us that I'm protesting.

    This planet is finite. All species reach a balance, or go through boom and bust cycles when they outstrip their food supply and the predators or disease increase enough to bring their numbers down. Humans have broken the natural limits over the last 150 or so years. But again, this planet is finite. You can do it sensibly, or you can let famine and war do it.

    ET, because he could see where we're headed and had enough sense to get his coat and leave this planet.

    Mines the one beside the saucer.

  171. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >"Population continually increases by immigration."

    They also say that immigration should be balanced with

    emigration, thus being both neutral in terms of growth and

    not biased toward a particular racial group..

    >" It's happening in Canada."

    Canada has a deliberate pro-immigration policy the intention

    is to increase the population.

  172. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Choosing to have a third child obviously has an effect many times the magnitude of a patio heater, or driving a gas-guzzling car. An additional child can have no effect if they don't exist, but if they do exist they can buy many heaters during the course of their lifetime, and many other things too. As will any offspring they have, and any offspring their offspring has etc. etc. etc..

    Concerns on "who will do the work" is a separate issue but simply has no basis, since to carry on expanding the population is just to face that same problem later rather than sooner; when the numbers involved make the situation much more critical. In any society only some of the population create the wealth, The trick is, as it always has been, to ensure the wealth generated by those of working age is sufficient to cover the total costs in society. Not to blindly carry on as if more than 2 offspring solves the cause of the problem, without accepting it's making things worse in the longer term.

  173. Anonymous Coward


    if this had been the case my brother wouldn't have been born, infact I wouldn't have becouse my second eldest brother died of meninjitis when he was 4, and I'm quite sure a large number of other friends, siblings and role models too.

    It's quite frankly a discusting notion and those supporting it should take a long hard look at themselves and those around them.

  174. Mark

    Re: heh

    "if this had been the case my brother wouldn't have been born, infact I wouldn't have becouse my second eldest brother died of meninjitis when he was 4, and I'm quite sure a large number of other friends, siblings and role models too.

    It's quite frankly a discusting notion and those supporting it should take a long hard look at themselves and those around them."

    At least if you hadn't been born the average spelling skill of the population would have increased markedly.

    You're missing the point though - you have already been born (if not been taught to spell very well). Encouraging your parents not to have any more kids isn't going to affect you.

  175. Mark

    Re: heh

    So? Without your brother, your parents would have been better off. You would have had better clothing, better nutrition, better schooling.

    Nice that you give those up for your brother, but are you willing to give them up for other people? And apparently not, if the wails of anguish that AGW *must* be wrong because the green lobby want them not to have all their luxuries...

  176. Matt


    Really, I think you'll find that having a younger or older sibling helps build character, something you seem to be lacking. Growing up isn't all about money, nice clothes, good schooling, infact those are really quite petty things that only prove to make ever more shallow self serving individuals.

    Although you may be able to spell, you're a rather grotesque individual and I feel the world may have been far better off if you had not been conceived, or perhaps if you'd of had an older and younger sibling you may not be quite so objectionable.

    Despite that I would neither deny your right to exist or you right to propogate your genes into the future.

    Judging peoples worth by their spelling, my word, you are pathetic... really, truelly and, genuinly dispicable.

    Man... it's been a long time since I've encountered such a dispicable piece of rectum outside of the confines of 4chan.

  177. coozoe

    Oh, They Blashpheme!

    Never tell a human to curb you-know-what. We'll kill everything else on the planet and still never admit there are too many of us. 95% of humans are nothing more than consumers; the other 5% know they are consumers too but don't make copies.

  178. Rudolph Farquhar

    Less Children = Less Older People (Eventually)

    Of course there would be a skew towards older people in the relatively short term (if you can view the short term as an environmental concept and not a financial idea). But within a few generations the problem sorts itself once the optimum population is reached and as long as birth rates remain at manageable levels. Achieving a sustainable population is never likely to involve a quick fix and is very likely to be economically unpalatable to implement. Is it not worth the effort to secure a sustainable future for the centuries to come? Or is that too much to ask given the lifespan of governments and a seemingly widespread inability on the part of the public to see beyond the next holiday/high street sale/new car?

  179. Tim Elphick

    Castrate me please.

    I'm under pressure to change my mind, but I decided a few years ago that I didn't want any sprogs, my financial situation having something to do with that, but also I feel there are probably enough kids in the world to be getting on with and having extra to provide for probably won't help it.

    Also, I'm not that much in love with the world, and what it seems to be becoming, that I want to inflict it on my closest family.

    HOWEVER, I do fear that if the situation of people voluntarily reducing the number of their offspring (pre-conception) escalates, we will reverse the survival of the fittest, evolution thingy that's got us where we are, and the scrounging, council mongs who lack the capacity for forethought and consideration for others will be reproducing at a greater rate that the people I would suggest might be more of a contribution to society.

    I would also like to point out that they seem to be suggesting that people volunteer, I didn't notice any hint of people enforcing this. Also, I'm sure the idea of rewarding the most productive females has been tried before somewhere...

  180. Mark


    No, I'd have had two younger brothers and two younger sisters. And I'm not the eldest.

    So if I do lack as you suggest, having siblings doesn't supply it. Which makes your point rather. Um. Pointless.

  181. Paul Gearon

    Whose responsibility?

    > Is it a GP's job to teach us how to save the planet?

    I think it is the responsibility of everyone to do their part. If a professional in any area is aware of something that contributes then they have a responsibility to do what they can.

    In this case, as in most cases, people in any field can only offer advice. People are free to disregard, follow, or argue with this advice as they see fit. At least we are left a little less ignorant of our actions.

  182. Tom

    I read 20 or so posts

    I'll be damned if i'm reading the other 100+ just to qualify this following rant:

    The people who are chanting they'll be no-one to support the eldars if there are no children, Then this is just tough shit isn't it? What do you lot expect, the populous to just keep growing? someone has to have it hard at some point, this is endemic of our current blame culture, and utterly selfish.

    To the idiot who says that people who have more children should be rewarded.... They useually are, out of my sodding tax money, the problem is the prolific breeders in this country are not the types you want, at all, living in the country full stop, let alone popping spawn left right and centre.

    The main issue isn't really our population, but more of a global one, If we (as the developed world) hadn't been so insistent in dragging up poorer nations who weren't ready for it, then they wouldn't be in the crap as they are now. Take a look at the highest pop growth countries, they are also the most problem affected areas, no coinsidence these are the places you see fronting campaigns for charity around christmas. I know its harsh, but the long and short of it is leave them. If you want that problem of famine, aids etc to go away, then the fix isn;t bags of rice are out of date medication, it's to leave them to regress to a level of society they should naturally be at.

    Did you know that since 1955 the worlds population has doubled!!! Really, put your humanitarian ideals out of the way for a second and realise the impending issue we have.

    I recomend 'The Possibility of Hope' as an excellent 30 minute documentary on this, it will open your eyes!

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