Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

A simple way to achieve 90% carbon reductions

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-02-24

The key worries some people express about populations with negative growth relate to ageing populations, and the lower capacity of working-age people to support geriatrics.

Such worries are valid only if productivity and medical technology make no advances, and allow dramatic decreases in carbon emissions without corresponding decreases in lifestyle.  Consider:

  • With each year, the productive capacity of the average person of a given age increases.  This capacity can be used, and provide economic value, in paid employment, through volunteerism, or merely by babysitting for younger adults who can stay in full employment.
  • Robotic and communications technology will advance exponentially, probably according to Moore’s Law, leveraging the physical strength of people, and lowering the costs of care with those with physical impairments.
  • As 90% of medical spending on a person is in the last few months of life (when most people would rather be dead anyway), the expected (and desired by the majority) rationalization of euthanasia laws reduces the economic and emotional burdens in an ageing population.
  • If we can expect even a minor annual improvement in the productivity of managers and processes, the costs of servicing populations, young and old, will decrease.

A decreasing population, one child per family, with relatively modest improvements in power generation, transport and eating habits should make a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2060 relatively painless.


7 Responses to “A simple way to achieve 90% carbon reductions”

  1. raf said

    It’s interesting that population growth is back on the table as a major issue. Far from Costello’s exhortation for Aussies to start knocking out extra children for the State, now the worry is that there won’t be enough food to go round given the current “agflation”.

    Maybe some serious disincentives for having children may be necessary such as the removal of over generous welfare benefits for single mothers.

    Any thoughts on that?

  2. Dave Bath said


    Your “single mothers” comment is problematic, because it’s the welfare for multiple children of couples that is more of a problem. Single parents have it hard enough (I know, having been a single parent myself, although I was working full time and just got the normal $20 a month “endowment”).

    Personally, I reckon teenage pregnancies could be minimized by offering an annual couple of hundred dollars bonus to any female of child-bearing age who DIDN’T have a pregnancy in the preceding year.

  3. Raf said

    I thought it might be :-)

    However the point is, as you propose, trying to disincentivise the idea of having children in the first place. Your idea sounds very reasonable. Have you pitched it or seen it proposed elsewhere before?

  4. Dave Bath said

    No, I’ve not seen my bonus for no live births raised anywhere else. The politics would be interesting, because of anti-teenage-pregnancy, pro-chastity, and anti-choice lobby groups would be wedged!

  5. […] the Rt Hon Balneus comes an interesting proposition to reduce teenage pregnancies: simply offer a cash incentive for not getting […]

  6. Dave Bath said

    Actually, I should say the cash bonus should be for having no live birth that year, implying that using drugs like RU486, or even stillbirths should not preclude the bonus. Besides, testing for pregnancy is costly – detecting a live birth is easy.

  7. Raf said

    Yes that’s a fair approach. It’s a simple trade off which people will work out for themselves. No doubt its controversial but would certainly lower the birth rate certainly amongst the younger age groups.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: