Eliminating future populations is the key to controlling climate change. Or at least that is the underlying logic of the State of the World Population 2009 report released last month by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Population and Climate
“Although its role is difficult to quantify amidst the many factors contributing to emissions growth,” UNFPA reports, “population growth is among the factors influencing total emissions in industrialized as well as developing countries. Each additional person in a population will consume food and require housing, and ideally most will take advantage of transportation, which consumes energy, and may use fuel to heat homes and have access to electricity.” It naturally follows, the report forcefully implies but adroitly manages to never state, thatreducing the number of people that exist and take advantage of such modern conveniences would reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted.
As the Wall Street Journal so eloquently put it: “It’s hard to argue with that logic: Eliminating life surely is the most expedient way to avoid the problems it brings.” And that is essentially what the UNFPA is promoting in this new report-less life equals less carbon.
The Logic: Life for Carbon
The resulting devaluation of life in this logic is truly frightening, for in order to defend its position, the report must reduce every life to a calculation of carbon emissions and financial savings. The report calculates that the prevention of 1 billion lives “might result in 1 billion to 2 billion fewer tons of carbon emissions.” This simpleelimination of 1 billion lives, the report continues, could equal the emissions savings of applying current “energy-efficiency techniques in all new buildings worldwide” or of “erecting 2 million 1-megawatt wind turbines to displace coal-fired power plants currently in use.” But why bother with production, efficiency and invention when all you need to do is prevent 1 billion children from being born?
As UNFPA points out, when calculated “dollar-for-dollar,” reducing population through investment in “family planning and girls’ education” could “reduce greenhouse-gas emissions at least as much as the same investments in nuclear or wind energy.” Additionally with this simple reduction in life, “the earth’s atmosphere would be able to tolerate higher per-capita emissions,” which means we may continue high carbon-emitting lifestyles for the minor exchange of a few billion future lives.
Although UNFPA would be aghast at such an interpretation of the report, these are the logical implications of its position. Whenever a numerical calculation of life is used to defend a public policy, any and all who value life should be incredibly wary. The slippery slope to murder for the greater good is shorter than most imagine.
The implications of this type of logic and the power it allocates to UNFPA should give one further pause. Through this report, UNFPA has essentially written itself a golden ticket to international funding and support by presenting its programs as a solution to the most publicized issue of the day. UNFPA will use this power to bolster its position and instigate new “reproductive health services” and “family planning” programs around the world.
Wherever you stand on the climate change debate, this is a frightening prospect. For reproductive health and family planning services, as provided by UNFPA, do not simply include contraception, prenatal and birth services, but extend to abortion and sterilization.Although UNFPA is officially opposed to the use of abortion as “a method of family planning,” it has utilized the stated goal of preventing “unsafe abortions” to justify distributing manual vacuum aspirators used to terminate pregnancies and abortifacient emergency contraception-a.k.a. the morning-after pill.
Coercive Abortion and Sterilization
UNFPA claims to oppose coercing women to use these reproductive services in order to reach lower population targets. The report explicitly states, “No Government or United Nations entity is suggesting to ‘control’ population.” However, the logic of the report and UNFPA’s history of aiding coercive population programssuggest that population “control” is a very real threat.
For example, UNFPA has been marked with scandal for the past decade due to mounting evidence that UNFPA was and still is complicit in the coercive abortion and sterilization programs practiced as part of China’s one-child policy. Also, a Peruvian Congress report released in June 2002 tied UNFPA to the coercive sterilization campaign of ex-President Alberto Fujimori. The commission concluded that Fujimori’s campaign was equivalent to genocide. There have been similar allegations of UNFPA financing and supporting coercive abortion and sterilization programs in various other countries in Latin America, including El Salvador and Mexico, among others.
A Misplaced Burden
Furthermore, the population reduction programs instigated by UNFPA in the name of lower carbon emissions would disproportionately and unfairly impact developing countries.Developed countries are considered responsible for the greatest proportion of carbon emissions, but they also have dropping fertility rates and ready access to reproductive health services that make UNFPA services unnecessary.
Most developing countries, on the other hand, have growing populations and rising GHG emission rates due to current economic development. In order to stave off this growth in emission rates,UNFPA will likely focus its efforts on reducing the population of developing countries through its reproductive health services.This policy of targeting burgeoning populations in developing countries means that while the developed world is disproportionately responsible for the substantial rise in GHG emissions over the last century, new policies would place the greatest burden for reducing carbon emissions on developing countries and individuals in no way responsible for the alleged problem.
The misplacement of this burden is not only unfair but also imperialistic. UNFPA seems to be implying an exchange: the developing world can achieve the economic prosperity of developed countries, but only at the sacrifice of huge portions of its future population.
By incorporating the current concern over climate change to support its practices, UNFPA has found a new validation for advancing its policies and practices around the world, promoting the short-sighted, mistaken belief that new life is a burden rather than a blessing to humanity. By supporting the premise that the value of any life can be reduced to a simple economic or chemical calculation, UNFPA is now advancing the very philosophy the UN was founded to prevent. This logic threatens the life of every human being, born and unborn alike.
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