UN Demographer-in-Chief Chides Climate Change Establishment

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | January 29, 2015

Are you worried that overpopulation will increase humanity’s carbon footprint? Maybe you shouldn’t. It was one of the questions on everyone’s mind at a special expert panel on population dynamics and sustainable development at UN headquarters last week, and was answered with a resounding “we can’t really say.”

The UN’s demographer-in-chief, John Wilmoth, who heads the UN population division, told UN member states that while there is “relatively little uncertainty” in population projections over the coming century, there is “complete uncertainty” about carbon emissions. In simple terms, he explained, population policies will have very little impact on carbon emissions.

Wilmoth, who is the architect of the new projections, subtlyy chided Alex de Sherbinin of Columbia’s Earth Institute for using outdated population projections. He explained that the reason for uncertainty about future carbon emissions is due to consumption patterns and human behavior that vary much more than fertility patterns.

Wilmoth was openly critical of the climate change establishment more widely for relying on populations projections with wide margins of uncertainty. The old UN projections on which the climate change establishment for the most part relies predict world population to be anywhere from 6 to 16 billion people by the end of this century. Clearly a difference in 10 billion people is alarming and creates the fear of overpopulation.

The UN population division’s most recent projections purportedly have 95% certainty that world population will peak at roughly 10billion, at some point after 2100. Their upper estimate, with only 80% certainty is 13 billion, and the lower estimate, is 9 billion.

Apparently the Sierra Club did not get the memo. Here is their latest video, linking climate change to overpopulation. Their solution? More contraception.