Should we reduce the birth rate to save the planet?

It’s October 2021. In the City, London’s central financial district, a building houses a conference room where some 80 people gather for the annual meeting of Population Matters (PM), a non-profit organization that focuses on world demography and its impact. in the environment. About 400 national and international guests also participate online. Speakers include professors and researchers from several European countries, as well as experts from African government organizations.

“The newspapers speak of a declining birth rate. They say that with demographic decline, developed countries will suffer from an aging population and a lack of dynamism. We disagre.” Adair Turner, an economist and former chairman of the British government’s Pensions Commission and Climate Change Committee, opened the session with these words, before developing his argument: “As (economic) prosperity, women’s education and the choice to have children or not increase around the world, birth rates decrease. It is unavoidable. But where is the problem? It is easier to deal with the problems of climate change if the population is stable or experiencing a slight downward trend. Pension plans should also be manageable in the long term, in particular thanks to a longer life expectancy in good health.”

10.9 billion people in 2100

Many speakers insisted on the need to accept a society in demographic decline in order to fight climate change. PM advocates limiting population growth to improve the lives of as many people as possible. Also a way to protect yourself from climate problems.

In a report published in 2019, the United Nations estimates that the world population, then around 7.7 billion, could reach 9.7 billion people in 2050 and 10.9 billion in 2100. For PM, breaking free from the society of overconsumption and favoring to smaller families are effective ways of coping with climate change.

Because things do not have the same effect everywhere if we take climate issues into account. Considering that developed countries, whose emissions of carbon dioxide (COtwo) per capita are high, they should move towards smaller families, with fewer children, argues the Prime Minister’s director, Robin Maynard, 63:

“Having a child in the UK is roughly equivalent to having 16 in Niger. Choosing a small family is an effective solution [pour lutter contre les changements climatiques].”

Social protection at risk

“The rapidly declining birth rate is one of the greatest threats to our civilization. If we don’t have more children, our civilization will collapse.” For his part, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, a major American manufacturer of electric vehicles, warned during an online event organized by the Wall Street Journal in December 2021. Countries are taking steps to deal with the declining birth rate mainly out of fear of its negative effects on the economy.

In the United States, the birth rate was already advancing before the Covid-19 epidemic, but this has accelerated it. According to the National Center for Health Statistics

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Mainichi Shimbun (Tokyo)

Founded in 1872 as tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun, the Mainichi Shimbun It is the oldest Japanese newspaper. It took its current name in 1943 during a merger with theOsaka Mainichi Shimbun. From the center, the “Journal de tous les jours” is the country’s third largest newspaper with national circulation.

It had, at the beginning of the last century, the collaboration of prestigious writers such as Ogai Mori or Ryunosuke Akutagawa. the mainichi He has been living a financial crisis for several years from which he is struggling to get out.

the Mainichi Shimbun it was the first of all major Japanese newspapers to show an interest in digital publishing. If, like his Japanese colleagues, he prefers not to offer free access to his paper edition, which remains payable online, he differentiates himself by offering free reading of his editorials up to 1999, for example. Or the section Asia-no me (“The eyes of Asia”), which classifies the information by country.

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