We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

Decoupling Population from Global Warming

By Keith Kloor
Apr 14, 2009 12:30 AMNov 20, 2019 1:19 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

No environmental issue, other than global warming, generates as much controversy and misguided rhetoric as overpopulation. (The disclaimer at the top of the Wikipedia entry that I link to speaks for itself.) The population issue has loomed so large in the environmental movement that greens these days have a tendency to consider it part of the global warming equation. It's not. So Joe Romm is to be applauded for his post today, aptly headlined, "Consumption dwarfs population as global warming threat." Romm is obviously smart enough to recognize that Al Gore's or Thomas Friedman's carbon footprint dwarfs that of a family of ten living in a mud hut in Haiti or the Philippines. So this makes me wonder if Romm's simplistic posts on catastrophic floods and wildfires are cynical attempts to rouse greater public concern. I think he's taken the wrong tack there and that it undermines his otherwise credible stances, be it on the hydrogen economy or, as he demonstrates today, on population. I will say this: the obvious teeth-gnashing by his acolytes in the comment thread of the post is enjoyable.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.