Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Kicking the Can Down the Road: Why do Newspapers Avoid the Population Equation?

Here's another striking piece from Frosty Wooldridge in the USA -- and every bit as applicable to Australia. (His remark about the "conceptual fantasy world" of the Copenhagen talks is just as true of Australia's climate policy under Penny Wong.)

Mind you, in the case of our Murdoch Press there is no mystery as to why it ignores the limits to growth. Murdoch papers in Australia simply do not give senior positions to journalists in the political and financial areas (that's most of the national news) who are not advocates of endless growth. Or can you think of an exception?

Mark O'Connor

Kicking the Can Down the Road: Why do Newspapers Avoid the Population Equation?
By Frosty Wooldridge

Denver Post Your Hub September 1, 2010
Re: “Climate affects water planning” Finley, 9/1/10, Denver Post

As you can see in this article published in the Denver Post today, Colorado faces a severe water-shortage-future as it adds an extra five million people to its already overburdened 5.1 million population in 2010. The reporter asks the usual questions of the usual experts, and scribbles down the ‘usual’ answers. However, none of the experts and none of their answers solve the problem. We cannot simultaneously add five million people to Colorado and solve our water problems no matter how much we water we conserve.

Have you ever noticed why the media deliberately, methodically and systematically avoids the ‘population equation’? Why do they avoid, evade, ignore and suppress the core cause of water shortages, air pollution and a litany of our problems? Their own kids will be ‘drowning’ in the consequences, yet they steadfastly will not interview anyone that talks about overpopulation.

Therefore, as a straight forward journalist, I am enlisting you to write the Denver Post editors and ask them yourselves. Or, ask the editors of your own newspaper why they fail and fail “on purpose” to address the overpopulation equation facing America as it accelerates at terrific speed toward adding 100 million people in the next 25 years.

Here’s my letter to the reporters and editors of the Denver post. You may use any or all of it as you wish:

To: Mr. Bruce Finley, journalist, Denver Post, and staff, ; Vince Carroll at ; Dan Haley at ; Barbara Ellis at ; Mary Idler at ; ;

From: Frosty Wooldridge, journalist,,,

Re: “Climate affects water planning” Finley, 9/1/10, Denver Post
Dear Mr. Finley and Denver Post staff:

Once again, thank you for your excellent report on Colorado and Florida’s water predicament. You could add Arizona, California, Nevada and Georgia to that list.

As scientists continue focusing on ‘carbon footprint’ caused by humans burning 84 million barrels of oil 24/7 as well as billions of tons of coal and enormous amounts of natural gas and wood­we expect accelerating climate destabilization. Additionally, we can expect accelerating water shortages as our population balloons beyond the carrying capacity of Colorado and other states. However, that ‘issue’ never makes it into the equation. In fact, overpopulation remains the most avoided, evaded, suppressed and ignored aspect of water shortages, climate change, species extinction, air pollution, gridlocked traffic, quality of life, etc.

“Every cause is a lost cause, without limiting population,” said Paul Ehrlich, author of Population Bomb.

The question not asked that must be addressed: what does Colorado do when it adds a projected five million people within 40 years? What actions does Colorado take when California adds another 20 million within 30 years and demands that much more water from the Colorado River? How about Arizona adding four million and another million to Nevada by mid century? How will their needs affect Colorado’s needs? At the same time, Florida expects to double its population by another 18 million people. We face another 100 million Americans all needing water. (Source: Fogel/Martin “US Population Projections”)

Instead of interviewing ‘experts’ that address the water crisis and ‘present’ outmoded 20th century solutions, which solve nothing other than kicking the can down the road­could you interview experts that address the water issue or any issue from the ‘population equation’ standpoint in the 21st century. How about asking questions such as, “What will solve this water problem for the short and long term?” “What must Colorado do to ensure water and resources for future generations?” “How can we move toward a sustainable future?” If an interviewee dodges the question­repeat the question to get to the root cause: overpopulation. Obvious long term solution: stable population.

Stellar national experts both scientific and political:

Dr. Albert Bartlett at CU,
Dr. John Tanton, ,
Dr. Jack Alpert,
Gov. Richard Lamm
Dr. Diana Hull,
Ms. Joyce Tarnow, (Florida)
William Dickinson author of “Bio-Centric Imperative”,
Lindsey Grant, Juggernaut, Growth on a Finite Planet; Too Many People,
Richard Heinberg, , author Peak Everything: facing a century of declines
Dave Gardner's Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity, Join the cause at ;

Richard Heinberg:
"...the [climate-change] discussions in Denmark took place in a conceptual fantasy world in which climate change is the only global crisis that matters much; in which rapid economic growth is still an option; in which fossil fuels are practically limitless; in which a western middle class staring at the prospect of penury can be persuaded voluntarily to transfer a significant portion of its rapidly evaporating wealth to other nations; in which subsistence farmers in poor nations should all aspire to become middle-class urbanites; and in which the subject of human overpopulation can barely be mentioned.

... It's no wonder more wasn't achieved in Copenhagen."

Without addressing the population issue, we continue kicking the can down the road, but one day, we will be faced with Hobson’s Choice. That will prove most unpleasant.

“We must alert and organize the world's people to pressure world leaders to take specific steps to solve the two root causes of our environmental crises - exploding population growth and wasteful consumption of irreplaceable resources. Over-consumption and overpopulation underlie every environmental problem we face today.” Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Kindest regards,
Frosty Wooldridge, Golden, CO, ,

If any of us, no matter what our race, creed or color might be, refuse to engage our U.S. Congress as we have not for 30 years as to the population/immigration equation-our children will find themselves living in a terribly degraded America where the American Dream will be described by the history books as a 'fleeting fantasy' from the era of 1950 to 2010.

These are several of the top organizations where you can take collective action to change the course of American history as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Take collective action at:

This is the best website to start: ; watch Roy Beck’s “Immigration by the Numbers” at 14 minutes. Bi-partisan and very effective. Become a faxer of pre-written letters to your reps to make positive change.

Also: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , ;; ; ; ; in Canada ; in Australia; in Great Britain ; and dozens of other sites accessed at

Must see DVD: "Blind Spot" , This movie illustrates America's future without oil, water and other resources to keep this civilization functioning. It's a brilliant educational movie!

Must see: Rapid Population Decline, seven minute video by Dr. Jack Alpert-

Must see and funny: ;

Dave Gardner's Polar Bear in Bedroom: ; Dave Gardner[], President, Citizen-Powered Media ; Producing the Documentary, GROWTH BUSTERS; presents Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity, Join the cause at ;760 Wycliffe Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 USA; +1 719-576-5565

Check out this link with Wooldridge on bicycle and Lester Brown and panel discussion:

Tomorrow's Americaproject on

Producer: GEORGE A.

DC: 202-258-4887


Link to for more discussions on America's predicament.



Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715

Can we Trust Australia's Greens on Population?

An important article by Michael Lardelli has appeared on Online Opinion:

Can we trust the Greens on population?

It's a huge irony of this election that our best chance of progress on population --- granted that the Stable Population Party just missed out on being registered --- is a Senate or even a House of Reps where the Greens hold the balance.

Not that we can simply trust the Greens. Their population policy is -- at least for a supposedly environmental party -- almost as bad as the Lib/Lab options. And where the Libs are at least prepared to say they would limit net migration to 170,000 a year, the Greens' population policy contains no figures at all, and expresses no clear view as to how high Australia's population might go, or indeed whether population growth should not continue for the indefinite present.

Bob Brown appeared to take some heart from Dick Smith's documentary, and said some strong things in the following Q&A program, about population size being crucial for environmental sustainability; but if one listened closely, he always seemed to be talking about population in general, or global population, rather than specifically about Australia's population. As Lardelli shows, the Greens' population policy has the same cop out. The bizarre assumption that no country has the right -- or at least that Australia does not have the right -- to be less overpopulated than anywhere else, is repeatedly implied. Thus the policy makes any commitment to an ecologically sustainable population subject to "global social justice" -- as if it was through our injustice that the Indians, for instance, continue to increase their population and exceed their land's carrying capacity.

My best guess is that if the Greens hold the balance of power they will exert a gentle, but only a rather gentle downward force upon migration numbers and upon the baby bonus.

I have an article, with conclusions similar to Michael's, in the offing, but I chose not to publish it till after the election, since this might seem like a member of the Stable Population Party attempting to sabotage what ought to be a fraternal party.

Now that the Greens look like gaining the balance of power, the job of keeping them honest will begin.

Here's the opening of Michael Lardelli's article:
The Australian Green Party presents itself as the leading advocate of environmental issues, so you would expect it to have a strong policy on stopping population growth. When even the Liberals say net migration should be reduced to about half what the Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded last year, one would expect the Greens to demand at least as big a cut, as well as the abolition of Costello’s baby bonus.

That they do not is odd. After all, population growth undermines environmental sustainability. Growing populations ultimately overwhelm any efforts to reduce our use of resources. More people need more food, housing, water and energy. As Sir David Attenborough put it, “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more. … I wish the environmental NGOs would … spell out this central problem loud and clear.”

Some years ago when I was a member of the Greens I raised the issue of population on an online forum and was strongly condemned. Years later, the “terms of dismissal” that were hurled at me (“eco-fascist” was an interesting one) still resound in my memory. But the spirit of the times is changing and the societal taboo against discussing population issues has broken down. Nowadays (and very belatedly) even the Greens seem to be talking about population. So I was curious to see what their policy on population has become.

The Greens’ policy on population can be found online. But it is disappointing and reads more like an apology for daring to have a policy at all. Below, I have copied their population policy (in bold italics) and inserted my critique.

The rest of Michael Lardelli's article can be found at

Mark O'Connor

Bad luck Penny Wong! Population does cause greenhouse emissions.

The following recent scholarly publication, if one can get past its dense academic jargon, seems an important counter to the Monbiot Fallacy Monbiot Fallacy which pretends that population growth is not an important cause of greenhouse emissions (or perhaps of other environmental harms).

It also gives the lie to Penny Wong's nonsense about "de-linking" Australia's population growth from the size of its greenhouse emissions.

A recent posting by Tim Murray adds the following examples, in clearer English:

1.From 1990, the Kyoto base-line year, until 2006, Australia’s population grew by 30% while its GHG emissions grew by 30%.

2.From 1970 to 2004, America’s population grew 43% while its GHG emissions grew by 43%

Yet as Murray remarks, some greenies will never grasp that it is not just our personal footprint that counts, but the total of our footprints.

Mark O'Connor

Assessing the temporal stability of the population/environment relationship in comparative perspective:
a cross-national panel study of carbon dioxide emissions, 1960–2005
Andrew K. Jorgenson • Brett Clark
Published online: 25 June 2010

Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Abstract: This study examines the temporal stability of the population/environment

relationship. We analyze panel data from 1960 to 2005 to determine whether

the national-level association between population and carbon dioxide emissions has

remained stable, declined, or intensified in recent decades. Results indicate that

population size has a large and stable positive association with anthropogenic

carbon dioxide emissions. The findings of temporal stability generally hold for both

developed countries and less-developed countries. The authors conclude that population,

in tandem with other social drivers, remains an important consideration for

research that addresses the human dimensions of global environmental change.

Taken as a whole, the analyses suggest that the effect of total population on total

carbon dioxide emissions is large and remained very stable from 1960 to 2005, and

this applies to less-developed countries and developed countries.8 Further, the

relationship between population and emissions is not spurious due to nonstationarity

dynamics that plague pockets of past research in the environmental

social sciences (see Wagner 2008). These findings support the argument put forward

by various scholars that population remains an important driver of environmental

degradation in macro-comparative contexts (e.g., Harte 2007; Hunter 2001; Shi



In this research brief, we found that the relationship between population size and

total carbon dioxide emissions has remained very stable through time, and this holds

for developed countries and less-developed countries. While we find no evidence of

decoupling or intensification of this population/environment relationship, we

emphasize that population size continues to have a large effect on the scale of

anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and thus climate change. Simply,

population size is a major contributor to total carbon dioxide emissions, and

according to our results it has been consistently so for close to 50 years. Drawing

from the results of this research and with the availability of adequate panel data, in

follow-up cross-national analyses we plan to assess the temporal stability of

population’s effect on a variety of other scale-level environmental outcomes,

including anthropogenic methane emissions and other air pollutants as well as the

ecological footprints of nations.

It is well documented that a myriad of human activities­such as the burning of

fossil fuels, economic growth, international trade, deforestation, the ability of the

oceans and forests to absorb carbon, and technological efficiency­influence the

accumulation of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere (e.g., IPCC 2007; Jorgenson

and Kick 2006; Roberts and Parks 2007; Rosa et al. 2009). The environmental

consequences of population growth are complex (e.g., Entwisle and Stern 2005;

Entwisle et al. 2008; Lie et al. 1999), given the vast differences in conditions

throughout the world. Nonetheless, the temporal stability of the relationship

examined in this study illustrates that population should continue to be considered in

tandem with other social drivers when investigating the human dimensions of global

environmental change and that relevant policies that address the persistent role of

population along with other factors are far from misguided.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Welcome to Mark O'Connor's population blog begun on August 26 2010. This blog concentrates on news and analysis of Australia's population debate. For my poetry and other activities see