People want to save the planet but are unwilling to make radical lifestyle changes like giving up air travel or red meat to reduce the effects of climate change...It's been obvious to me that two main adjustments are necessary to get climate change:
- We need to reduce the population consuming resources [on the extensive margin]
- We need to reduce resource consumption within the existing population [on the intensive margin]
Bottom Line: Most people do not care about doing the right thing when it conflicts with their other desires. They (the so-called "80 percent") need to face prices that help them make that "right" decision.
* I wrote this in April 2007:
Bangladesh's 145m people live on a delta twice the size of Ireland, 40% of which is flooded for three months of each year. By 2050, its population is projected to reach 250m. -- Economist Feb 8, 2007There are many ways to (intentionally) slow population expansion, ranging from the draconian (forced adult sterilization, abortion, etc.) to the evolutionary (the demographic shift).
IMO, the most effective way is to sterilize one-half of all newborns, leaving half the people fertile ("Breeders") and the other half sterile ("Players"?).
The key element in this idea is expectations, i.e., the idea that Players would grow up knowing they were not going to have kids. That makes it easier to plan a life around other activities. Although Breeders might face some additional pressure to have more, they would not have many more, especially if they bear the full costs of raising the kids. (Although I'd maintain some subsidies for education, I'd end other subsidies/tax breaks/etc.)
Net result -- cut average births per woman by up to 50 percent.
There is the potential of one-nation expanding at the cost to another nation, but this only matters of nations invade each other and/or quality of life in the decreasing population country falls. The former is more likely, but not assured