EARTH DAY 2007: Government and environmental groups ignore Population Growth in climatic warming debate

Published on December 17th, 2007

Californians for Population Stabilization will participate at Earth Day events in San Diego, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, CA— Were it not for population growth, the United States would be producing lower levels of greenhouse gas than it did in 1990, the base date used for the Kyoto Protocol. Total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions increased 16.9 percent from 1990 to 2005. During the same period, the U.S. population grew by 19.2 percent. “In other words, per capita emissions have decreased, but population growth has erased all the gains and then some,” said Diana Hull, president of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). In fact, in 2005, greenhouse gases in the U.S. increased by only 0.6 percent over the 2004 level, while the population grew 1.0 percent, about 2/3 higher.

“Human overpopulation is the fundamental environmental problem. Excessive greenhouse gases—like loss of open space, like traffic congestion, like never-ending sprawl—are one of the symptoms. Habitat loss due to population growth is the greatest threat to wildlife, a far greater threat than global warming,” Hull stated.

Since the first Earth Day in 1970, world population has increased from 3.7 billion to 6.6 billion, and the U.S. population has increased from 203 million to 301 million.

The situation in California is even worse where the population has almost doubled since 1970, from 20 million to about 38 million. It continues to grow by half a million per year, a growth rate comparable to many developing countries.

Unlike 1970, two-thirds of today’s U.S. population growth is from immigration according to the Census Bureau. The late David Brower, a CAPS Advisory Board member, noted, "Overpopulation is perhaps the biggest problem facing us, and immigration is part of that problem. It has to be addressed."

"America’s population will hit 420 million by mid-century unless we take action to reduce immigration," said Hull. "That growth means more environmental losses."

CAPS supports policies to encourage replacement-level fertility and replacement-level immigration in order to protect precious natural resources.

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