Listen Now! Radio Debate: Climate Depot’s Morano Debates Overpopulation Myths with host Thom Hartmann

By: - Climate DepotAugust 21, 2009 8:03 AM

The Thom Hartmann Show – August 11, 2009

Listen Now! Morano and Hartmann debate begins at 40:00 on the audio clip.

Related Population Articles:

Could Overpopulation Save The Earth From Global Warming? June 15, 2009

Excerpt: A team of scientists at Cal-Tech think they might have found a way to save the planet from global warming: breed faster. The more of us there are, the more nitrogen we take out of the atmosphere, cooling the planet. One big reason why the Earth isn’t much warmer already is the fact that the planet has the ability to shed carbon dioxide, say scientists Joseph Kirschvink, Yuk Yung, King-Fai Li and Kaveh Pahlevan. But the bad news is, the planet has nearly exhausted its ability to shed carbon dioxide, hence the risk of cataclysmic overheating. So we need another way to cool the planet, and scientists say the best way is to reduce the atmospheric pressure by eliminating nitrogen from the atmosphere. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists. At least on a cosmic scale, the presence of life may increase longevity for planets.

Overpopulation of the wealthy! ‘Richest half-billion people responsible for 50% of the world’s CO2′ – April 13, 2009

Excerpt: The world’s population quadrupled to six billion people during the 20th century. It is still rising and may reach 9 billion by 2050. Yet for at least the past century, rising per-capita incomes have outstripped the rising head count several times over. And while incomes don’t translate precisely into increased resource use and pollution, the correlation is distressingly strong. Moreover, most of the extra consumption has been in rich countries that have long since given up adding substantial numbers to their population.

Flashback: Grist Mag. Going Down: Is too few people the new ‘population problem?’ – December 14, 2005

Excerpt: Among the nations with the lowest fertility levels in the world are relatively rich countries like Italy and Spain, but they are matched by still-developing Eastern European nations like Romania and Ukraine. Even the continent’s comparatively lusty countries, such as France and Ireland, are only cranking out an average of 1.8 children per woman — well below the “replacement level” of 2.1 that’s needed to sustain current population levels. Populations are declining in seven of the 25 European Union member countries, and the trend will continue. According to Eurostat [PDF], the E.U.’s pocket-protector brigade, population numbers will rise gradually over the next two decades to about 470 million, thanks mainly to immigration, before falling by 20 million people by mid-century, when immigration will no longer be able to offset rising death rates and falling birthrates. Germany alone is projected to lose 8 million by 2050, a drop of nearly 10 percent from its present population of 82.5 million — that’s a loss roughly equal to the populations of its five biggest cities combined. Outside Europe, a notable trend toward depopulation is also occurring in Japan, where the fertility rate has fallen in recent years. The government estimates that by 2050 there will be 25 million fewer Japanese — that’s like saying goodbye to one-fifth of the current population, or all of greater Tokyo.

Paper: Population may actually drop below its current levels by 2100 – April 13, 2009

Excerpt: The problem is, numbers lie. Past estimates of population growth have virtually always overestimated world fertility rates, and underestimated social trends that led to fewer babies. This time will be no different. If fertility rates decline just a little more than predicted (and the decline in fertility rates over the past four decades has been faster than almost any estimate out there), the population actually begins to shrink in 2040. By 2050, at the low end of fertility expectations, U.N. forecasts show just 7.96 billion people in 2050. And by the end of the century, the population will actually drop below its current levels. The late, great U.S. economist Julian Simon had it exactly right: Human beings aren’t a “cost” to the planet, or to human society. They are in fact its only real asset. Their intelligence, creativity and ability to learn make the Earth a beautiful place. Those things helps us to use fewer resources to create more wealth. That’s why the environmentally cleanest nations on earth are also the richest.

Obama’s Science Czar Considered Forced Abortions, Sterilization as Population Growth Solutions – July 21, 2009

Excerpt: President Obama’s “science czar,” John Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, “compulsory sterilization,” and the creation of a “Planetary Regime” that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet — controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Shock Report: ‘Obama science czar Holdren called for forced abortions’ – July 11, 2009

Excerpt: ‘Comprehensive Planetary Regime could control development, distribution of all natural resources’

UN opposed on overpopulation fears: ‘There should be absolutely no limits on population growth’ – Spiked Online – July 9, 2009

Excerpt: There should be absolutely no limits on population growth and no attempt whatsoever to cajole, coerce or convince people into having fewer children. I hope that in my lifetime the human population on Earth will reach the tens of billions, and it will not be a problem if, in the future, it rises to hundreds of billions. The reason I say this is because our attitudes to the population level fundamentally reflect our attitudes to human ingenuity. The population debate is frequently dressed up in demographic and scientific clothing, but really it is a political issue, reflecting different political attitudes. Where you stand on population today tells us a lot about where you stand on the idea of progress, of civilization, and of humanity itself. It’s worth asking what drives the population-control and population-reduction lobby. These people have been around for a few centuries and their arguments have changed over time. For one of the first population scaremongers, Thomas Malthus in the eighteenth century, the main problem was that if too many people were born then there wouldn’t be enough food to feed them. He vastly underestimated the ability of industrialised society to create more and more food. In the early twentieth century there was a racial and eugenic streak to population-reduction arguments: some claimed that there were too many Africans and Asians, who might weaken the power of white European nations. More recently, the population-control lobby has adopted environmentalist arguments. It now says that too many people are demanding too much of Mother Earth, using up all of her resources and destroying her biodiversity. Some greens even refer to humans as a ‘plague on the planet’ and a ‘pathogenic organism’. In other words, humanity is a disease making the planet Earth sick. The fact that the presentational arguments of the population-reduction lobby can change so fundamentally over time, while the core belief in ‘too many people’ remains the same, really shows that this is a political outlook in search of a social or scientific justification. It is an already-existing prejudice, held by certain kinds of people, which looks around for the latest trendy or respectable ideas to clothe itself in. [...] If you want to know what really motivates Malthusians, behind all the science and the big numbers, then consider the words of one of the best-known contemporary population scaremongers, Paul Ehrlich, a professor of population studies in America and patron of the Optimum Population Trust. In the 1970s, he put forward various theories about population levels. And in 1971, during a visit to New Delhi, he wrote the following: ‘The streets seemed alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping. People visiting, arguing, screaming. People thrusting their hands through the taxi window, begging. People defecating and urinating. People clinging to buses. People herding animals. People, people, people, people. As we moved slowly through the mob, the dust, noise, heat and cooking fires gave the scene a hellish aspect. Would we ever get to our hotel…? Since that night I have known the feel of overpopulation.’ That is what really lies behind Malthusianism: not any science of overpopulation, but the feel of it, campaigners’ own warped sense that there are simply too many ‘people, people, people’, especially over there in the hot dusty Third World. Anyone who thinks people are a good thing rather than a menace, and who believes humans can find solutions to our problems if we put our minds to it, should reject the population-control argument and make the case for full freedom of choice on reproductive matters.

Full Transcript of Morano and Hartman’s August 11, 2009 Radio Debate:

Marc Morano is with us, his website. Marc Morano, you’re not with James Inhofe’s office any more?

Marc Morano: No, I left in March of this year to go out on my own and very happy with that. I’m unleashed from the U.S. Senate’s bureaucracy. So I’m having a great time at

Thom Hartmann: Want to tell us any deep dark secrets about your former employer?

Marc Morano: No, actually, he was absolutely great to work for. You’d be surprised though, the U.S. senate is a bureaucracy.

Thom Hartmann: Oh, sure.

Marc Morano: And as much as I got out, in terms of global warming, controversial articles on global warming and all that, I had a lot of internal battles to get that out, even, you know, on the Republican side. So it was you know, Senator Inhofe has been a leader on this but I’m now heartened to say that especially during this last debate, many congressman now are taking on the science. I think Gore’s film had momentarily scared people away and the United Nations report, but I think now that they are coming around and they’re realizing that the United Nations and Al Gore are not the final word on Global Warming. But I enjoyed my time in the senate, particularly the junkets. I took a junket with Barbara Boxer to Greenland in July of 2007. And that was incredible. Huge carbon footprint. Equivalent of having a kid, we chartered planes, helicopters, boats, a lot of fun.

Thom Hartmann: The irony of it all is pretty mind boggling, sometimes, Marc. The issue of population. We are pushing seven billion humans. I would submit to you that to the extent that we have a global warming problem, and you want to say that there’s no global warming problem, I think that you must agree with me that we have a problem with a billion human beings having Tuberculosis, with three and a half billion human beings living on less than $5 a day, with three to four billion human beings not having access to reliable water supply, safe water supplies, that we are pushing the carrying capacity of this planet pretty hard.

Marc Morano: Well I will say this. When you have, as you just mentioned, a lot of lack of development, there are too many people for areas that can’t support them with their infrastructure. And the solution to that, is not to have less people, the solution is to bring in cheaper abundant carbon based energies and allow the 1.6 billion people or so who don’t have running water, who don’t have electricity, who live naturally, to get all of that.

Thom Hartmann: Give them all coal!

Marc Morano: Forget all that! Coal is carbon based, including coal, one of the liberators of mankind in the history of our planet. So if you are worried about the plight of humans you need more carbon based energy.

Thom Hartmann: In the 1980s we exceeded termites as the largest single specie mass of protoplasm on earth. And that was you know, all the different species, I guess the largest genus.

Marc Morano: Well I think your battle is with rich people. There’s a study out overpopulation of the wealthy, the richest half billion people responsible for 50% of the world’s CO2. If we eliminate half of the rich people, we could eliminate…

Thom Hartmann: Well, let’s put the U.S. population back, when Jack Kennedy was sworn in as President, the world population was only three billion, we are now over six. And the U.S. population was in the neighborhood of 150 million, we are now over 300 million. And I was alive back then, and my recollection is, things were pretty good and we were well populated. Why not shoot for negative population growth. Not precipitous I’m not calling for, you know, euthanasia or you know, God forbid a plague or anything like that, but let’s start dialing back the number of human beings on this planet. There are a whole bunch of good reasons, including climate change.

Marc Morano: Well first of all, no, there’s no reason. In fact, Grist Magazine, I think it was back in late 2005, had an article “Is Too Few People The Population Problem?” And if you look at some of the UN estimates, some of them show, the low end shows, if I have these numbers right, 7.9 billion by 2050 and at the end of the century, by the low end, we could have a drop of population at current, by current levels. You can’t look at the population, you keep going back to Magna Carta, John Kennedy, it’s like looking at your child’s growth rate. From an infant to a teenager, the growth rate is huge, from a teenager to a toddler it’s huge. But you can’t extrapolate that out into the future. And the same is true with population. Population stabilizes as countries get wealthier, as countries get more infrastructure, their populations stabilize.

Thom Hartmann: Actually population stabilizes when women get power.

Marc Morano: To the point now where Europe isn’t even replacing its population levels. So as the developing world, the billions I mentioned, not with electricity and running water, as they get infrastructure, their population rates too will decline. So what happens, it’s a red herring argument.

Thom Hartmann: Well, what happens, actually… No, it’s not Marc Morano, it’s not. And there are many countries that are very, very well developed, Doha, the UAE, Saudi Arabia. You’re looking at a lot of countries where there’s a lot of money, theres a lot of development, there’s no lack of infrastructure, there’s no lack of birth control and they’re still having 11 kids. And the reason why is because…

Marc Morano: It will come.

Thom Hartmann: Because in countries where women have power, population stabilizes. Now women having power is usually a consequence of women having education. And education usually, you’re right, does follow development of some sort. But at a very fundamental level, as Greg Mortenson has pointed out with his book “Three Cups of Tea,” in the Taliban regions of Pakistan building schools for girls, which is not development, is not increasing their carbon footprint, is reducing population explosions and is also getting the Taliban thrown out. It’s doing away with Muslim extremism, fundamentalism, religious extremism. So, you know, that’s a good thing. But how about in the United States, we just said you know, we’re going to stop subsidizing children with a tax deduction. We’re giving people a couple thousand bucks a year off their taxes to have a baby. That’s crazy.

Marc Morano: I don’t know about, you know, you get into mortgage interest deduction, all that stuff, I don’t want to get into a tax codes, but the bottom line is there is no reason for us to limit our population.

Thom Hartmann: Why not get into the tax code?

Marc Morano: I’m saying, I’m not going to get into an argument over what to tax. I mean I’d probably favor a flat tax with no deductions or no income tax. But my point is.

Thom Hartmann: I see. Well let me challenge your point that we’ve got a problem with negative population growth. In those countries where population goes down the price of labor goes up and the middle class gets stronger.

Marc Morano: Well that’s probably a consequence of wealth and development and human interest factors.

Thom Hartmann: No, it’s a consequence of the market for labor.

Marc Morano: But when you don’t need to have as many kids because they don’t survive a childhood you tend to have less kids if you’re not thinking I need to have X amount because high infant mortality rates, which is what we’re seeing around the world which are…

Thom Hartmann: That’s not what’s driving it in the UAE. It’s the power of women.

Marc Morano: Right, I mean there’s a whole bunch of different factors. There’s actually, Caltech scientists just came out in June of this year, and said more people, over population may save the earth from global warming. Their theory is more nitrogen, people take nitrogen out of the atmosphere and cooling the planet. The more of us there are, the cooler the planet. So, you oughtta be out there saying be fruitful and multiply.

Thom Hartmann: Marc, whatever you’re smoking, I don’t want any of it. Marc Morano. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. I’m glad you took that in good nature., Marc’s new website. Marc, always great sparring with you.

Marc Morano: Thank you very much.

Transcribed by Suzanne Roberts, Portland Psychology Clinic.