Tag Archives: Global Warming

U.S. birth rate hits record low, despite secular left’s obsession with “overpopulation”

Total fertility rates have decreased globally by about half since 1960.
Total fertility rates have decreased globally by about half since 1960.

I had lunch with one of my co-workers on the secular left recently. I asked him what his biggest concern with the world. After telling me that he was a “libertarian”, he said that he was alarmed that people were having too many babies. I asked him what he wanted to do about it. He said keep abortion legal, and use the government to stop people from reproducing. Some libertarian!

Anyway, he was just factually wrong about the overpopulation, and I had to launch into a long, detailed explanation of replacement rates, birth rates across the world, and how the prosperity created by capitalism has caused birth rates to decline in even poorer countries. I also explained to him that once a country dips below the replacement fertility rate (2.1 births per woman), it never returns. I concluded my refutation of his assertion by stating that he should be more worried about underpopulation than overpopulation.

Anyway, I had to repeat the same explanation again with another secular leftist that same week. So when I saw this recent Daily Caller article about a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control, I figured I might as well equip you guys to respond to other people with the same wrong view.

It says:

The United States birth rate hit a record low in 2018 with numbers reflecting the lowest birthrates in the past 30 years, reports say.

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that almost every age group of women under 35 showed birth rate declines in 2018. The provisional number of births in the U.S. in 2018 was 3,788,235, down 2% since 2017. For every 1,000 women, the fertility rate declined 2% from 2017 to 1,728.0 births.

Birth rates had reached a record low in 2017 as well, marking a continuing trend of declining birth rates over the past four years, according to CNN.

[…]These 2018 birth rate numbers are below the necessary threshold needed for population replacement, which is 2,100 births per 1,000 women, CNN reports.

So we’re down to 1.73 births in the USA, which is below the 2.1 rate needed to maintain current population levels.

This new report isn’t an outlier. It confirms what we knew about from previous reports.

Here’s an earlier report from the far-left Pew Research Center, reported by the radically-leftist Slate, of all places.

Excerpt:

A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.

Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.

Now I have a couple tools for you to share to those people who might have irrational views of this issue.

Useful videos

This video explains what’s wrong with overpopulation fears:

And this one explains what the replacement rate number is:

You can share those for people who don’t have time to read. It at least makes the point, even if it doesn’t link to a reputable report.

A useful podcast

This podcast featuring famous economist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse will be useful for you to understand why the overpopulation myth is something you should be concerned about.

The MP3 file is here. (from 1/22/2010)

Topics:

  • how the transition from country to city discourages child-bearing
  • how religion impacts how many children parents have
  • what is the US birth rate, is it high enough?
  • can we just import immigrants to alleviate the low birth rate?
  • has increased prosperity encouraged people to have more children?
  • how has the purpose of sex changed after the sexual revolution?
  • how does the demographic crisis threaten entitlement programs?
  • what do we learn from the declining birth rate in Japan?
  • how does population growth impact stock market performance?

This podcast explains how some countries aren’t making enough young workers to pay for the social programs needed by a growing number of elderly people wanting to retire.

Please share the post if you found it useful.

We can see how Democrat presidential candidates would govern from Democrat-run states

California's ignorant Democrat governor Jerry Brown keeps failing
California’s ignorant Democrat governor Jerry Brown keeps failing

A lot of low-information voters decide who they are going to vote for based on the words the candidates speak, and how those words make them feel, and what their peers will think of them. They see their vote as membership in a club, not as a way to get policies that will actually produce real-world results. Thankfully, we can know what results Democrats produce by looking at Democrat-run states.

Let’s start with the Democrat-dominated state of California, which has pursued some of the most aggressive Green New Deal policies in recent years. The prediction from Democrats is that Green New Deal energy policies will lower the cost of energy and produce abundant energy to fuel economic growth. Is that what happened?

Consider this article from National Review:

More than 2 million people are going without power in Northern and Central California, in the latest and biggest of the intentional blackouts that are, astonishingly, California’s best answer to the risk of runaway wildfires.

[…]The same California that has boldly committed to transitioning to 50 percent renewable energy by 2025 — and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 — can’t manage its existing energy infrastructure.

[…]California governor Gavin Newsom, who has to try to evade responsibility for this debacle while presiding over it, blames “dog-eat-dog capitalism” for the state’s current crisis. It sounds like he’s referring to robber barons who have descended on the state to suck it dry of profits while burning it to the ground. But Newsom is talking about one of the most regulated industries in the state — namely California’s energy utilities, which answer to the state’s public utilities commission.

So, what happened? What happened is that the Democrats pursued a pretty standard play book in which they regulated the energy industry, forcing them to focus on green energy. And the result of that policy was higher electricity prices, higher gas prices and blackouts. By the way, the utility company has filed for bankruptcy, which is certainly not going to help matters.

They really should have known that this would happen, because other countries, like Germany and Canada for example, tried it first. And the results are the same: higher electricity prices and rotating blackouts. Is it any wonder that business owners are fleeing the state, or outsourcing their operations to areas that are more reality-based?

But that’s not all. What else do environmentalists do? They block the thinning out of forests which prevents forest fires. So what happened next?

Meanwhile, California has had a decades-long aversion to properly clearing forests. The state’s leaders have long been in thrall to the belief that cutting down trees is somehow an offense against nature, even though thinning helps create healthier forests. Biomass has been allowed to build up, and it becomes the kindling for catastrophic fires.

As Chuck DeVore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation points out, a report of the Western Governors’ Association warned of this effect more than a decade ago, noting that “over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in uncharacteristically destructive wildfires.”

In 2016, then-governor Jerry Brown actually vetoed a bill that had unanimously passed the state legislature to promote the clearing of trees dangerously close to power lines.

The result of their environmentalist policies? Massive wild fires. California already has a homeless epidemic going on, and the wildfires will only make that problem worse.

But that’s not all, there’s more failure to achieve in other areas:

Californians know that having tens of thousands of homeless in their major cities is untenable. In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents, and infectious diseases.

Yet no one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals.

Taxpayers in California, whose basket of sales, gasoline, and income taxes is the highest in the nation, quietly seethe while immobile on antiquated freeways that are crowded, dangerous, and under nonstop makeshift repair.

Gas prices of $4 to $5 a gallon—the result of high taxes, hyper-regulation, and green mandates—add insult to the injury of stalled commuters. Gas tax increases ostensibly intended to fund freeway expansion and repair continue to be diverted to the state’s failing high-speed rail project.

Residents shrug that the state’s public schools are among the weakest in the nation, often ranking in the bottom quadrant in standardized test scores. Elites publicly oppose charter schools, but often put their own kids in private academies.

Californians know that to venture into a typical municipal emergency room is to descend into a modern Dante’s Inferno. Medical facilities are overcrowded. They can be as unpleasant as they are bankrupting to the vanishing middle class that must face exorbitant charges to bring in an injured or sick child.

No one would dare to connect the crumbling infrastructure, poor schools, and failing public health care with the non-enforcement of immigration laws, which has led to a massive influx of undocumented immigrants from the poorest regions of the world, who often arrive without fluency in English or a high school education.

Stores are occasionally hit by swarming looters. Such Wild West criminals know how to keep their thefts under $950, ensuring that such “misdemeanors” do not warrant police attention. California’s permissive laws have decriminalized thefts and break-ins. The result is that San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.

Nothing is working. It’s a complete disaster. And it has to be blamed on Democrats, because they have super-majorities in the state House and state Senate, not to mention the Democrat governor.

Although Democrats like to present themselves as science-based and intelligent, the best way to measure scientific understanding and intelligence is by comparing intentions to results. Smart, reality-based people achieve what they tell others they will achieve. If a Democrat claims that they will get X result (e.g. – you can keep your doctor, you can keep your health plan, your health insurance premiums will go down) and they get opposite results across the board, then you know that they are not scientifically-literate or intelligent.

The best way to get the results you want is to elect people with a record of achieving results. That’s why we look at a candidate’s resume and references before hiring them – at least in the private sector. Democrat voters should know better than to hire candidates based on appearances and words and feelings. We need to learn from their failures.

I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness for the same reason I’m not a global warming alarmist

In the summer, a couple of Jehovah’s Witness ladies were going door-to-door and they stopped by my house while I was out mowing. I decided to talk to them. They asked me why I was an evangelical Protestant rather than a JW. Rather than go into a lot of theology about the Trinity and the Watchtower translation, I decided to to just tell them about the false predictions their group has made.

So, let’s just quickly review that using this article from Watchman fellowship, which quotes JW publications:

Initially the organization taught the “battle of the Great Day of God Almighty” (Armageddon) would end in 1914. Every kingdom of the world would be overthrown in 1914 which was “God’s date” not for the beginning but “for the end” of the time of trouble.

“…we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914” (Watchtower founder, Charles Taze Russell, The Time is at Hand, p. 99).

“…the ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced” (Ibid., p. 101).

“CAN IT BE DELAYED UNTIL 1914?…our readers are writing to know if there may not be a mistake in the 1914 date. They say that they do not see how present conditions can last so long under the strain. We see no reason for changing the figures – nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble” (Watch Tower, 15 July 1894, p. 226).

Clearly, the world did not end in 1914, and it did not end at subsequent JW predictions, either, e.g. 1925, 1975.

So, as the title of the post says that I can’t be a global warming alarmist for the same reason I can’t be a Jehovah’s Witness: failed predictions.

Here’s an excellent article from Daily Signal by famous black economist Walter Williams, who explains the connection:

As reported in The New York Times (Aug. 1969) Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich warned: “The trouble with almost all environmental problems is that by the time we have enough evidence to convince people, you’re dead. We must realize that unless we’re extremely lucky, everybody will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years.”

In 2000, David Viner, a senior research scientist at University of East Anglia’s climate research unit, predicted that in a few years winter snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

In 2004, the U.S. Pentagon warned President George W. Bush that major European cities would be beneath rising seas. Britain will be plunged into a Siberian climate by 2020. In 2008, Al Gore predicted that the polar ice cap would be gone in a mere 10 years. A U.S. Department of Energy study led by the U.S. Navy predicted the Arctic Ocean would experience an ice-free summer by 2016.

In May 2014, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declared during a joint appearance with Secretary of State John Kerry that “we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos.”

Peter Gunter, professor at North Texas State University, predicted in the spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness:

Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions. … By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.

Ecologist Kenneth Watt’s 1970 prediction was, “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000.” He added, “This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Williams concludes:

Today’s wild predictions about climate doom are likely to be just as true as yesteryear’s. The major difference is today’s Americans are far more gullible and more likely to spend trillions fighting global warming. And the only result is that we’ll be much poorer and less free.

We have known for decades that the Earth’s temperatures were much warmer during the “Medieval Warming Period”, hundreds of years ago. But some people are just having irrational fears about overpopulation, resource shortages, etc. and so they will promote nonsense to try to scare people into doing what they want. World history is full of pious-sounding attention-seeking hoaxsters who try to scare the gullible masses into giving them money and/or power. It’s not new.

Does global warming alarmism cause mass shootings of immigrants by eco-terrorists?

Elizabeth Warren is telling people that we have 11 years to live
Elizabeth Warren is telling people that we have 11 years to live

Before you can show why someone is wrong, you have to first prove that they are wrong. Right now, voices on the secular left are crying out that we have only 12 years to live unless we empower the federal government to completely revamp how Americans generate and consume electricity, Let’s take a look at their reasons for their views, and then see where their rhetoric leads.

Let’s start with this article from Reason about the doomsday predictions of darling of the left Greta Thunberg:

Such catastrophic thinking is similar to AOC’s equally apocalyptic statement that “The world is gonna end in 12 years” and Warren’s contention that “we’ve got, what, 11 years, maybe” to cut our emissions in half to save the planet.

As Reason‘s Ronald Bailey has documented, such predictions stem from a fundamental misreading of a 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). That report offered up predictions in the growth of global economic activity, how it might be affected by climate change, and how reducing greenhouse gases might increase planetary GDP. It did not specify anything like a 10- to 12-year window after which extinction or amelioration is inevitable.

OK, but a lot of people are listening to the rhetoric of the environmental extremists, and they DO believe it. It doesn’t matter that they don’t have a background in science. They just believe what they hear. And some of them have decided to take matters into their own hands to stop global warming – by stopping the people who create emissions, with violence.

Quilette explains:

For over 50 years, environmentalists have argued that a significant down-sizing of American living standards is required to prevent environmental catastrophe. They have been attacking the American lifestyle since the 1960s, and Walmart since the 1990s. The El Paso shooting suspect named his manifesto “The Inconvenient Truth,” a title nearly identical to the 2006 documentary about Al Gore’s slideshow on global warming. In it, Gore says: “The truth about the climate crisis is an inconvenient one that means we are going to have to change the way we live our lives.”

[…]The suspect clearly states that his decision to kill immigrants was, in significant measure, because of their impact on the natural environment. “Of course these migrants and their children have contributed to the problem, but are not the sole cause of it,” he writes. “The American lifestyle affords our citizens an incredible quality of life.”

The El Paso suspect said he was partly inspired by the suspected shooter of Muslim immigrants in New Zealand in March, who also made clear in a manifesto that environmental concerns motivated his anti-immigrant ones. “Why focus on immigration and birth rates when climate change is such a huge issue?” the New Zealand shooting suspect asks. “Because they are the same issue, the environment is being destroyed by overpopulation, we Europeans are one of the groups that are not overpopulating the world.”

It is not surprising that the two manifestos echoed environmentalist ideas. For two centuries, prominent scientists, conservationists, and journalists, have blamed immigrants, the poor, and non-whites for their degradation of the natural environment. Much of what we call “environmentalism” is simply a repackaging of the ideas of 19th-century economist Thomas Malthus. He believed overpopulation of the poor would deplete resources, and that the ethical thing to do was let the poor die of hunger and disease to prevent more hunger and disease in the future. “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits,” he wrote, “and court the return of the plague.” The British government and media used Malthus’ ideas to justify the policies that led to mass starvation in Ireland from 1845 to 1849.

After the Second World War, leading conservationists embraced Malthus’ view that overpopulation would result in resource depletion. Their concerns were directed at poor non-whites in other countries, particularly India, even though North Americans and Europeans consumed and produced an order of magnitude more resources and pollution. Anti-humanist environmentalism came full bloom in Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 Sierra Club book, The Population Bomb, which used dehumanizing language similar to that used by today’s anti-immigrant activists. In the opening pages of his book, Ehrlich depicted poor people in India as animals, “screaming…begging…defecating and urinating.”

More recently, environmentalists and scientists concerned about overpopulation tried to get the Sierra Club to oppose immigration from Mexico and other Latin American countries, expressing the concern that, by adopting an American lifestyle, immigrants will use up supposedly scarce natural resources—the same argument used by the El Paso shooting subject—and increase pollution.

Both the El Paso and New Zealand suspects echo the exaggerated rhetoric of environmentalists. “Nothing is conserved,” wrote the New Zealand shooting suspect. “The natural environment is industrialized, pulverized and commoditized.” The El Paso suspect blames “consumer culture” for plastic and electronic waste, and “urban sprawl” for environmental degradation.

So, when you see people shooting at immigrants, the reason they don’t like immigrants is not because of their race. The eco-terrorists don’t like immigrants because the eco-terrorists think that they have too many children. And concern about the world becoming overpopulated is a core belief of global warming alarmists. That’s why you keep reading stories about how the secular left thinks that it is going to save the planet by not having children.

Naturally, eco-terrorists on the secular left will be in favor of abortion. I have talked to mainstream Democrats in my office who want to use government coercion, including forced abortions, to stop “high” birth rates in poorer countries. But what if people with high birth rates won’t have the abortions that the eco-terrorists want them to have? Well, that’s when the eco-terrorists pick up weapons and go on a shooting spree. And that’s what all this unhinged rhetoric about global warming doomsday predictions produces. The secular left complains about the very mass shootings that are caused by their global warming alarmism.

And guess what? The public schools have been turning out millions and millions of environmental radicals for the past few decades. So, we’re probably going to be see more eco-terrorism, rather than less, in the near term.

New study: the cheapest and most effective way to reduce carbon emissions is to plant more trees

What's the best solution to higher carbon emissions?
What’s the best solution to higher carbon emissions?

Many people favor Big Government solutions to the problem of carbon emissions. For example, the Green New Deal proposed by the Democrats would abolish all gas, oil and coal energy. That plan would raise taxes and require massive restrictions on free markets and individual consumers. But there is a better way, and it was just published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Science.

Economist Robert P. Murphy wrote a very interesting article about the new study for the Mises Institute.

He writes:

A recent article in the Guardian trumpeted the findings of a new study published in Science that found massive tree planting would be — by far — the cheapest and most effective approach to mitigating climate change. Ironically, the new thinking shows the pitfalls of political approaches to combating so-called “negative externalities.” The good news about tree planting disrupts the familiar narrative about carbon taxes that even professional economists have been feeding the public for years.

He quotes the Guardian article so:

Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis, according to scientists, who have made the first calculation of how many more trees could be planted without encroaching on crop land or urban areas.

As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global heating. New research estimates that a worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.

[…]“This new quantitative evaluation shows [forest] restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions, it is overwhelmingly the top one,” said Prof Tom Crowther at the Swiss university ETH Zurich, who led the research. “What blows my mind is the scale. I thought restoration would be in the top 10, but it is overwhelmingly more powerful than all of the other climate change solutions proposed.”

OK, so this plan will work, but will it cost less than the $52.6 to $93 trillion dollars over 10 years needed for the Green New Deal?

Yes:

Citing a figure that planting a new tree costs roughly 30 cents, Prof. Crowther remarked that we could plant the target of 1 trillion trees by spending about $300 billion.

Just FYI, the cost per household for the Green New Deal is between $361,010 and $653,010, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

As a conservative, I recognize that sometimes I have to be willing to spend taxpayer money on a small government solution in order to  avoid other big government solutions to a problem. The same thing is true for individual health savings accounts funded by a government voucher. I don’t like spending taxpayer money, but sometimes spending a little is better than creating a huge bureaucracy that will require spending a lot more.