February 1, 2009
Couples who have more than two children are being “irresponsible” by creating an unbearable burden on the environment, the government’s green adviser has warned.
Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, says curbing population growth through contraception and abortion must be at the heart of policies to fight global warming. He says political leaders and green campaigners should stop dodging the issue of environmental harm caused by an expanding population.
A report by the commission, to be published next month, will say that governments must reduce population growth through better family planning.
“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said.
“I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don’t really hear anyone say the “p” word.”
The Optimum Population Trust, a campaign group of which Porritt is a patron, says each baby born in Britain will, during his or her lifetime, burn carbon roughly equivalent to 2½ acres of old-growth oak woodland – an area the size of Trafalgar Square.