"The ‘inconvenient truth' overhanging the UN's Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world," declared Canadian journalist Diane Francis in her Dec. 8 article titled "The Real Inconvenient Truth: The Whole World Needs to Adopt China's One-Child Policy." Francis, an editor-at-large, published her article in Canada's national business newspaper, The Financial Post, the day after the much-hyped climate change conference kicked off in Copenhagen. She argued that "China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict." "China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy," said Francis. "Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food, and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet." Francis wrote direly that there would be irreversible consequences unless "all countries drastically reduce their populations." Ironically, she failed to mention that China's fertility rate of 1.7 children per woman is actually higher than that of Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and many other European countries. In fact, many of Europe's current problems assimilating the massive influx of non-Europeans are the result of a declining population, which has caused a shortage in the labor force and strained the ability of the young to support the growing number of elderly. Even the birthrate of the author's own country, Canada, isn't high enough to sustain its population, and Japan's has begun to so deeply affect its economy that the country's thinking of paying its citizens to have more children - $3,400 per year per child. To more vividly argue against the notion of overpopulation, the Web site overpopulationisamyth.com explains through a mathematical equation that the entire world could quite easily live in Texas, leaving the rest of the Earth entirely vacant. "Given an average four person family," it explained, "every family would have a 66' x 66' plot of land, which would comfortably provide a single family home and yard - and all of them fit on a landmass the size of Texas." Francis also conveniently didn't mention in her article that, according to the book "Introduction to Social Macrodynamics: Compact Macromodels of the World System Growth" (2006), not only have the worldwide population growth rates significantly slowed but the food per capital level is the highest in history. What's more, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has pointed out that the "root cause" of past famines "has been political instability, not global food shortage." That statement was supported by Amartya Sen, the renowned Indian economist and Nobel Prize winner, who demonstrated that nations with democracy and free press (neither of which Francis' much beloved China has) had virtually never suffered from a severe famine. The 2008 documentary "Demographic Winter: Decline of the Human Family" depicted how the world's declining population growth rate will place us all in "social and economic jeopardy":
The engines of commerce will be strained as the workers of today fail to replace themselves and are burdened by the responsibility to support an aging population. Government programs will slow-bleed by the decrease in tax dollars received from an ever shrinking work force. The skyrocketing ratio of the old retirees to the young workers will render current-day social security systems completely unable to support the aging population.
But if that means saving a tree, Diane Francis is willing to risk it. Except, of course, she did not offer her readers any thoughts on how to enforce this worldwide one-child mandate. UPDATE: H/t to the several commenters who pointed out that Francis has two children of her own.