THE MEDIA MONOPOLY: ‘Blame Game’, Overpopulation & the Climate Crisis

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“…Inequalities in power, wealth and access to resources – not mere numbers – are key drivers of environmental degradation. The consumption of the world’s wealthiest 10 percent produces up to 50 percent of the planet’s consumption-based CO2 emissions, while the poorest half of humanity contributes only 10 percent. With a mere 26 billionaires now in possession of more wealth than half the world, this trend is likely to continue”

We Should Be Wary of Blaming Overpopulation for the Climate Crisis – By Heather Alberro

The high-carbon consumption habits of the world’s richest people are harder on the environment than population growth in poor regions, says Heather Alberro.

Jane Goodall, English primatologist and anthropologist, addresses press conference, World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 22 2020. (EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE)

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos brought together representatives from government and business to deliberate how to solve the worsening climate and ecological crisis. The meeting came just as devastating bush fires were abating in Australia. These fires are thought to have killed up to one billion animals and generated a new wave of climate refugees. Yet, as with the COP25 climate talks in Madrid, a sense of urgency, ambition and consensus on what to do next were largely absent in Davos.

But an important debate did surface – that is, the question of who, or what, is to blame for the crisis. Famed primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall remarked at the event that human population growth is responsible, and that most environmental problems wouldn’t exist if our numbers were at the levels they were 500 years ago.

This might seem fairly innocuous, but its an argument that has grim implications and is based on a misreading of the underlying causes of the current crises. As these escalate, people must be prepared to challenge and reject the overpopulation argument.

Dangerous Distraction

Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” and Donella Meadows’ “The Limits to Growth” in the late 1960s and early 1970s ignited concerns over the world’s burgeoning human population, and its consequences for natural resources.

The idea that there were simply too many people being born – most of them in the developing world where population growth rates had started to take off – filtered into the arguments of radical environmental groups such as Earth First! Certain factions within the group became notorious for remarks about extreme hunger in regions with burgeoning populations such as Africa – which, though regrettable, could confer environmental benefits through a reduction in human numbers. [Earth First! says they did not editorially endorse the 1987 article.]

In reality, the global human population is not increasing exponentially, but is in fact slowing and predicted to stabilise at around 11 billion by 2100. More importantly, focusing on human numbers obscures the true driver of many of our ecological woes. That is, the waste and inequality generated by modern capitalism and its focus on endless growth and profit accumulation.

The industrial revolution that first married economic growth with burning fossil fuels occurred in 18th-century Britain. The explosion of economic activity that marked the post-war period known as the “Great Acceleration” caused emissions to soar, and it largely took place in the Global North. That’s why richer countries such as the U.S. and U.K., which industrialized earlier, bear a bigger burden of responsibility for historical emissions.

The high-carbon consumption habits of the world’s richest people are more to blame for the climate crisis than population growth in poor regions. (Artem Ermilov/Shutterstock)

In 2018 the planet’s top emitters – North America and China – accounted for nearly half of global CO2 emissions. In fact, the comparatively high rates of consumption in these regions generate so much more CO2 than their counterparts in low-income countries that an additional 3-to-4 billion people in the latter would hardly make a dent on global emissions.

There’s also the disproportionate impact of corporations to consider. It is suggested that just 20 fossil fuel companies have contributed to one-third of all modern CO? emissions, despite industry executives knowing about the science of climate change as early as 1977.

Inequalities in power, wealth and access to resources – not mere numbers – are key drivers of environmental degradation. The consumption of the world’s wealthiest 10 percent produces up to 50 percent of the planet’s consumption-based CO2 emissions, while the poorest half of humanity contributes only 10 percent. With a mere 26 billionaires now in possession of more wealth than half the world, this trend is likely to continue.

Issues of ecological and social justice cannot be separated from one another. Blaming human population growth – often in poorer regions – risks fuelling a racist backlash and displaces blame from the powerful industries that continue to pollute the atmosphere. Developing regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America often bear the brunt of climate and ecological catastrophes, despite having contributed the least to them.

The problem is extreme inequality, the excessive consumption of the world’s ultra-rich, and a system that prioritizes profits over social and ecological well-being. This is where where we should be devoting our attention.
Heather Alberro is associate lecturer and PhD candidate in political ecology at Nottingham Trent University.


5 thoughts on “THE MEDIA MONOPOLY: ‘Blame Game’, Overpopulation & the Climate Crisis

  1. “The problem is extreme inequality” I quite agree.
    While we have multi-billionaires on the same planet as starving people & those being genocided, as in Yemen, we have global crimes against humanity.
    The perpetrators are the richest nations: US, UK, & Saudi Arabia & their allies.
    The historic trainers, funders & enablers of Wahhabi extremist jihadis now infesting Syria, Afghanistan, Libya & too many other countries, on behalf of their bankster masters: keep the poor fighting & killing each other while the multi-billionaires suck up more wealth & power.
    Book: The Lost Hegemon, by F. William Engdahl.
    Book: Big Oil & Their Bankers In The Persian Gulf, by Dean Henderson.

    Overpopulation is not a problem, it’s a lie.
    “In every developed country a sequence of a death rate decline is followed by a birth rate decline, culminating in a net population decline.”
    “This is known as the DEMOGRAPHIC TRANSITION MODEL”
    The above sentences are from page 95 of climatologist Dr. Tim Ball great little 2016 handbook for the layman:
    Human Caused Global Warming The Biggest Deception In History.
    Only 121 pages, this is an easy weekend must-read: reveals all & names names. The science & scandals the politics & profiteers. Openly calls out the Rockefellers banksters & the convicted felon as being chief among the multi-billionaires pushing the warming/climate fraud.
    John Doran.

  2. Fear is a great driver.

    Fear of overpopulation has enabled some truly horrific depopulation policies:
    June 1972 William Ruckelshaus, head of the US EPA, “banned” DDT, a proven safe anti-malarial agent. This resulted in the deaths of probably about 100 million people in the third world. A true holocaust.
    The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency: protect the environment, kill people.

    Fear of nuclear power has greatly hindered the development of that huge asset.
    Nuclear power is by far our safest & cleanest way of generating electricity, statistically proven since the 1950s.
    We would need a Chernobyl every day to approach the toll on humanity currently inflicted by coal.
    Nuclear bombs are enriched to 90%, & need a critical mass. Nuclear power stations are enriched to 3% & lack a critical mass. They CANNOT explode.
    Thorium molten salt reactors will safely use up, as fuel, existing stocks of nuclear “waste”.

    The overpopulation fears we live under can be traced directly back to the fake economist of the brutal Brit Empire, Thomas Malthus. The nuclear fears can be traced directly to our fake news MSM, wholly owned by our 1%s multi-billionaires.

    A great read detailing how the worthy cause of environmentalism has been hijacked by people hating mad Communists, funded by our 1%s, is:
    Merchants Of Despair, by Robert Zubrin, a PhD nuclear engineer with 9 patents to his name or pending.

    John Doran.

  3. Which brings us to CO2, Carbon Dioxide, plant food.

    CO2 is currently demonised as the devil gas, “Carbon Pollution”, which traps heat & is going to cook the Earth, via “back radiation”. This is utter tosh: the atmosphere is colder than the Earth & so cannot warm the Earth. This is a violation of both commonsense & the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    No matter how brazen or exalted are the charlatans & frauds pushing the nonsense. Michael Mann lost a case, in August 2019, he brought against Dr. Tim Ball 8 years earlier. Mann had probably been hoping to bankrupt Dr. Tim, or hoping he would die. Dr. Ball was awarded full costs in the $multi-million dollar lawsuit. Now in his 80s, Dr. Tim soldiers on.
    & put in search box; Ball defeats Mann

    This is an excellent website, backed by some 200 scientists & engineers, which is at the cutting edge of modern thought. The host, John O’Sullivan is editor of The Sky Dragon Slayers Victory Lap, a 2019 book I highly recommend.
    Delicious irony: CO2 is revealed as a net coolant trace gas, via convection.
    Authored by Dr. Tim Ball, Dr. Pierre R. Latour, Dr. George V. Chilingar, Derek Alker.

    The liar & charlatan Al Gore was also exposed, in a Brit court of law, by Lord Christopher Monckton, a brilliant exposer of the fraud.
    Calling a halt at 9 “errors of fact” as Judge Burton very politely termed Gores’ lies, he dismissed Gore’s film as “political”. Gore has become a multi-millionaire pushing his propaganda.
    In fact Gore’s propaganda contains 35 lies & 25 exaggerations all tending to the alarmist position. The odds are billions to one against.
    Book: Heaven And Earth, Global Warming: The Missing Science, by geology Prof. Ian Plimer. This is no easy weekend read: 500+ pages, 2,000+ ref’s to peer-reviewed papers etc & a great chapter on History. Completely disembowels the UN IPCC for the political fraud factory that it is. One of the most fascinating books I’ve read on the “complex non-linear chaotic system” that is our climate system.

    John Doran.

  4. So-call manmade global warming is a scam to make governments even more authoritarian. This Green New Deal is not about saving the environment, but about making Washington politicians into de facto dictators. Bozo Biden is on board for this harmful nonsense.

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