Energy & Environment

Al Gore’s Reproductive Footprint

Al Gore’s climate change hypocrisy knows no bounds.  Gore’s Shaquille O’Neal-sized carbon footprint was exposed back in 2006.  While he was admonishing the world to embrace a “carbon-neutral lifestyle,” Al and then-wife Tipper were living in three expansive and green-unfriendly estates, which consumed 20 times as much energy as the national average.

These days Gore, a father of four, is lecturing families to have fewer children to “stabilize the population” and help avert the climate crisis he continues to warn is imminent. 

I’m a man-made climate change skeptic.  But there’s a bigger problem with Gore’s population-control argument.  Gore and the other population doomsayers continue to argue that the planet would be better off with fewer people.

To them, people are the equivalent of bacteria that’s making the Earth sick.  The Earth’s fever is global warming.  Every new baby is not a blessing to these modern day Malthusians—it is a curse.  They are wrong.  In fact, depopulation, not overpopulation, is a greater threat.  In a speech last week, Gore told a New York City audience, “One of the things we could do … to put out less of this pollution [is to] to stabilize the population.”  To do that, Gore suggested, “You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children to have, the spacing of children.”

Gore went on:

“You have to lift child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families, and most important—you have to educate girls and empower women.  And that’s the most powerful leveraging factor, and when that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.”

Gore’s hardly alone in blaming humanity for perceived environmental degradation.  But populations are already decreasing at astonishing rates.  According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the world will experience below-replacement fertility by 2050.  That means that in fewer than 40 years, the populations of most countries will be on the wane.

Consider how fast this has happened.  In 1979, the world’s fertility rate was 6.0.  That means that the average woman gave birth to six children over the course of her life.

By 1990, the world’s fertility rate had dropped to 3.3.  And by 2009, it had dropped further, to 2.5, just barely above the 2.3 fertility rate necessary for the world’s population to remain stable.

This huge decline is a result of many things, including the widespread use of contraceptives and abortion.

Fertility rates are dropping fastest in Africa and the Middle East, but the U.S. has also been affected.  According to the United Nations Population Division, the U.S. population will drop from 308 million to 290 million by 2050 (not accounting for immigration).

The UN predicts that Europe could lose half its population by 2100.  The same is predicted for Japan, where the fertility rate is barely over 1.0.  For decades, the Japanese government has offered its people lavish incentives to have more children, but it seems many young Japanese simply have no desire to form families. 

As the Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last has written:

“In the face of 35 years of failed incentives, Japan’s fertility rate stands at 1.2.  This is below what is considered “lowest low,” a mathematical tipping point at which a country’s population will decline by as much as 50% within 45 years.  This is a death spiral from which, demographers believe, it is impossible to escape.  Then again, that’s just theory:  History has never seen fertility rates so low.”

The Chinese fertility rate is only slightly higher.  It wasn’t so long ago that the Chinese government was so worried about overpopulation that it instituted a brutal one-child policy.  The policy remains in effect for most Chinese, but the government has recently adopted pro-natalist policies in some areas.  That’s because, according to the UN, China will begin shedding 4 million people a year starting in 2050.

The graying of the world’s population is largely responsible for the rise in global pension and health care costs.

In much of the world, baby girls suffer most when countries institute the type of “fertility management” Gore promotes.  In many developing countries, boys are prized because they traditionally care for aging parents, and because girls must give expensive dowries to their husbands’ families when they marry.

With small families becoming the norm in the developing world, couples often go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they birth only boys.  It has been estimated that sex-selection abortion is responsible for the deaths of 163 million girls worldwide.

Back when the inconvenient truth of the Al Gore’s carbon footprint was exposed, the former vice president responded that he bought energy credits and donated to green-friendly groups to help offset his extravagant energy use.

The Gores’ four children put them in the top 3% of American families in terms of family size, according to Census Bureau data.  You’d think someone with such a large family would think twice before publicly calling for smaller families.

Then again, I’m sure it doesn’t seem hypocritical to him.  Perhaps Gore reasons that the untold number of unborn children killed as a result of his abortion advocacy more than offsets his twice-the-national-average “reproductive footprint.”  With Gore, it’s always, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

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