So you really want to save the planet, do you?

COLBY COSH proposes a zero-child policy for “passionate” environmentalists


Diane Francis’s Tuesday Financial Post column calling for a global one-child policy as the real answer to man-made global warming has become an instant classic in the art of antagonizing readers. The piece could correctly be described as half-crazy, of course. Even granting that we are willing to endow the state with monstrous population-control powers, and Francis is obviously willing, her praise for China’s population-growth measures as “simple” suggests a willful blindness to its demographic effects and to the inegalitarian way the policy has actually been applied.

In China, the one-child policy has been a class war that skewed the natural sex ratio, introduced chaos into the family-formation process, and condemned millions of men to lifetime service in a reserve army of the unmarried. It’s the biggest, cruellest biological experiment in history. The results aren’t really in yet. And even if it “works” by environmental criteria, a project that the Chinese can pull off will not necessarily be scalable upward to the entire species. I feel silly even having to point all this out.

What I like about the column is that it puts population growth front and centre in the emissions debate; it gets in our faces. When economists or environmentalists assemble projections of future global CO2 output, they sweat blood over the fine points of how economic growth will influence per-capita emissions… but the number of capita is basically treated as an axiom. This is probably appropriate: the interaction between economic growth and emissions is the part of the equation with the most uncertainty, the part that there exists a lively debate about. The problem is that when the scary hockey-stick diagrams are taken forth to the politicians and the public, no one ever mentions that population growth is part of the problem at the micro level—the level of “What can you do to change your personal contribution to carbon emissions?” We end up arguing nonsensically over whether we should buy an Escape or a Highlander to take the kids to hockey practice.

And meanwhile, we’re all left with the impression that we are a lot filthier and more sinful than our ancestors—that our exciting, affluent, high-tech lives are producing more eco-harm than theirs did. It’s mostly not true, in the countries that have been industrialized the longest.

Carbon dioxide emissions since 1960 in G8 (less JPN & RUS)

Nobody is sure whether per-capita carbon emissions will, in the long term, hold steady in these countries or begin to decline. Pretty much everything depends on the energy technologies available to us. The environment has already benefited, as far as the developed world is concerned, from the abandonment of mass solid-fuel burning as a primary means of providing energy. We did that, not as a matter of environmental policy, but because cleaner alternatives to coal and wood stoves were also more efficient. The all-time peaks in per-capita carbon output in many countries are surprisingly far back in history. Canadians are thought to have reached a peak in CO2 output in 1948; for the UK, the worst year is said to have been 1913 [PDF].

In other words, mere economic growth might be part of the climate-change problem, or it might be the ultimate solution. Even granting that there is a man-made climate problem, trapping developing countries in the pollution-intensive phase of their history could easily be a huge mistake. The one thing we can be sure of is that fewer people will require less energy, however it is provided. I don’t advocate a one-child policy, or any policy at all that involves governments telling people how many children they can have, but I don’t understand why people who claim to be “passionate” about the environment of the future haven’t adopted zero-child policies for themselves.

Well, actually, I do understand it, because they all used to be big on Zero Population Growth as both a policy goal and a social ideal back in the ’70s. Diane Francis is singing an old song that environmentalists unlearned for strategic reasons. It made them look like she looks right now: authoritarian and nihilist and out of touch with the hopes and ambitions of ordinary people. And many of those environmentalists wanted to have kids themselves—i.e., they hypocritically put their personal desires above the interests of the planet when confronted with the biggest choice of all. Darwinian imperatives are not easily suppressed. It’s so much easier to nag the other guy about home insulation and bike paths, and, if necessary, take away his oilpatch job.


So you really want to save the planet, do you?

  1. I don't understand why people who claim to be “passionate” about the environment of the future haven't adopted zero-child policies for themselves.

    Well, if they were really that passionate, they would off themselves. Yet it seems the most passionate ones just have to fly about on jets to tell us all whet we're doing wrong.

    • Ah, if only they would. I would nominate Lizzie May, now gorging herself in Copenfraud and no doubt looking for another sucker country to inflict herself on, to be the first one to walk the plank. Gore next. Then Suzuki. That should reduce humanities carbon footprint by about 50%. Problem solved. Cheers.

  2. The funniest thing about China's one child policy is that it followed on the heels of decades where the communists were encouraging people to have more children. In other words, the population crisis that the communists instituted the draconian to combat was largely created by the communists in the first place!

    • It's a little more complicated than that.

      • It always is. But as a broad stroke, I think it is correct.

        Well, except for forgetting the phrase "one child policy" between "draconian" and "to combat"

        • Agreed that the one child policy was draconian (though given the crisis they faced, we should avoid clubbing them with the benefit of hindsight).

          But to suggest that the Communists alone were responsible for an upswing in births tends to ignore a few thousand years of farming culture where one's subsistence and security were largely realized through having lots of kids. Add to that a social world where one's kinship ties were primary, and a symbolic worldview that viewed large families as an ultimate form of wealth and 'blessing', and you've got an entrenched inclination to large families that predated any State programs.

    • Even the ones named Kyoto?

    • With all due respect to Koreans, dogs taste bad.

  3. But what will we use as baby replacements?

    What are the carbon emissions of one these?

  4. LOL!

    That's disturbing, for some reason. But there's no way it would feel realistic unless they find a way to have it inexorably drain one's energy, wallet, and very will to live.

  5. Wow! I never realized how cold, and sparsely populated Alaska must be relative to Canada, and the continental US.

    Alaska's per capita CO2 emissions must be right off the chart to bring the whole US numbers (more densely populated and warmer than Canada) well above Canada's. Amazing!

    Now, why don't we use that argument when comparing Canada to, I don't know, Sweden? Are you listening Mr Prentice?

    p.s. I was being "ironic" "sarcastic".

    • In his defense, Sweden's and Norway's GDP per capita took a massive hit when they adopted green energy policies. Canada is far better off burning coal.


  6. "Chinese people are so desperate for a son that when baby Pingping was born it is thought her relatives tried to kill her by jamming a needle into her head. Her death would have allowed the parents to try again under the strict “one couple, one child” family planning policy. The little girl did not die. Now aged 11, she had surgery this week to remove the needle that doctors believe was the cause of the her mental deficiency." The Times, Dec 11 '09

    I don't know about others who are suspicious of elite/authority but that Francis column was exactly why I don't trust them further than I can throw them. Do we really want to adapt a 'simple' policy that compels adults to shove a needle in new born's head because they are worried about who will take care of them in their old age?

    Lots of 'green' people who say they believe in global warming don't realize their actions suggest that they don't actually believe warming hype. Some seem to think they are on side of angels while everyone else is crazed capitalist willfully polluting the earth.

    "high-tech lives are producing more eco-harm than theirs did"

    I am reading Jared Diamond's Third Chimp at the moment and just finished chapter where he demolishes idea that our ancestors were environmentally sound. Diamond lists dozens of mammals and birds that were wiped out by the same humans we now claim were perfect environment stewards. Diamond also rightfully points out that Greek and Roman poets were writing poems about the passing of a supposed Golden Age thousands of years ago. Lamenting a supposed Golden Age is obviously part of our genetic heritage because people from around the world have been doing it for millennia.

    • Dozens of extinct species? Wow. That is a relevant comparison to the millions that go extinct every year due to human activity. Humanity has only recently become a Mass Extinction Event. We’re operating on the scale of the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs.

      • "That is a relevant comparison to the millions that go extinct every year due to human activity."

        Is that you, Al Gore? I would love to see some research that backs up your claim.

        "Humanity has only recently become a Mass Extinction Event"

        That is complete bollocks, as Diamond points out. Humans became 'a Mass Extinction Event' when they started to move out of Africa and settle the globe thousands of years ago.

        • It is true. Megafauna in particular didn't fare too well when human beings showed up in places like Australia and South America. Mass extinctions followed us wherever we went.

          Some of that might have been from periods of glaciation and warming that occurred while we were moving around however.

        • Is Diamond claiming species disappeared at the same rate thousands of years ago as they are today? Cuz that would be kinda nuts! AnPoC would probably like to withdraw his millions of species [ i'm sure he meant millions of individual animals…so nice of you guys to grasp that right away.

          • "claiming species disappeared at the same rate thousands of years ago"

            It is fifteen year old book I believe so more work has been presumably been done but Diamond wrote that scientists can't tell. We have no way of knowing what the rates were way back when.

            Diamond was only trying to illustrate that humans are destructive, have been for millennia, and it is not new behaviour. Diamond also looks at human genocide, which has also been going on for long time, and not just 20th century like some seem to think.

            The gist is that there was no golden age of perfect harmony between environment and humans.

          • 'The gist is that there was no golden age of perfect harmony between environment and humans.'

            That's as maybe. But it's also an undeniable fact that technology has allowed us to despoil the planet at an incresingly alarming rate. Even accepting the fact that is a bit of a miracle that we can even sustain this many people on the planet at all…again not without technology…there is a nasty paradox in there somewhere,closely akin to medical advances. It's great that people can live better and longer lives…but the end result is still more pressure on limited resources.
            The fact that people pillaged the planet badly in the past is a moot point …there just wern't as many of them around…ergo the pressure had to be less. What's done is done…i guess we have no choice but to go forward now…buckle up…the ride might get bumpy from here on in.

          • I don't think technology is to blame as much as a culture of consumption is. Largely, we do not consume more because technology has made it necessary.

      • Millions? Name five hundred thousand species gone extinct this year due to human activity.

        • With approximately 1.6 million identified species on earth, we've got about 18 months before the whole planet is a lifeless wasteland. What the hell, I think I'll buy an armour-plated SUV and finance the thing on credit cards. Come to my end of the world party.

      • Millions. Every year. Please name ten species that have gone extinct in the last decade.

        Also, a few (admittedly very few) man-made extinctions are good. Rocky Mountain locusts are extinct, and I can't think of a single ecosystem that is worse off because of it. We're not talking about some minor insignificant species here. Locust invasions were a major event in North America.

    • "Demolishing" the idea that ancient humans were environmental stewards is to demolish a strawman. Who cares?

      I agree there's misunderstanding and outright hypocrisy re: individual actions (seriously, a hybrid Escalade?) but individual actions can only do so much. Education and collective action are necessary to have the required impact.

      And call me crazy, but if you met someone who had oriented their life toward a near-zero carbon footprint, I suspect you'd mock them as dirty hippies.

      • My two best friends are dirty hippies – and I am the capitalist who wants to grind poor people into mulch to use on my diamond farm – so I don't actually have a problem with people who orient "their life toward a near-zero carbon footprint".

        What I do have a problem with is solutions to global warming- they are more political than anything else. When I suggest nuclear technology to help reduce emissions, many claim nuclear is dirty and it is wind mills/solar power or nothing.

        Or how about immigration. How many millions of people come to North America annually from a country where their carbon footprint was basically zero and now they are moving to first world country where their carbon footprint will rocket up. If people are so worried about carbon output, stopping our growth would help.

        Instead of serious policy proposals that would actually limit our carbon output, we get left wing railroad engineers talking about how our ice cube consumption is out of control and needs to be reduced.

        • 'I find people who believe AGW is happening are very closed minded when it comes to solutions because they only seem to agree that taxes have to be increased and scope of government has to expand even though poverty and government are leading causes of pollution" – Yep those dirt poor Albertans and their lousy govt are what's driving the desecration of Northern Alberta.

          It's not nice to have your position misrepresented,is it? and yet that's what you and others who don't agree with AGW or those who advocate collective solutions conitinually do. Some environmentalists don't support NE as a viable solution for a whole host of reasons…not just because they're back to the landers[ which some of them undoubtably are] Who seriously wants to see Africans remain in poverty merely because it suits their political agenda? [ other than a few loonies] People can advocate wrong headed solutions without being autocrats in green clothing.cont]


          • "Yep those dirt poor Albertans and their lousy govt are what's driving the desecration of Northern Alberta."

            I don't claim government and poverty are sole source of pollution, just that they are leading causes.

            The most polluted places on the planet are current/former communist countries and/or they are extremely poor. Wealth lets us worry about environment, poverty makes people focus more on where their next meal is coming from and not worry whether a 0.6% increase in global temp is going to cause cataclysmic destruction.

            Potter's Authenticity Watch posts often highlight dichotomy – we have rich people in North America eating dirt at same time people starving in Haiti are eating dirt cookies just to fill their bellies.

        • "What I do have a problem with is 'collective' solutions to global warming"

          So – humanity is supposed to resolve global warming without collective action? Of course these things filter through politics, all organized actions (including capitalism) do.

          But I don't think it makes sense to say that humanity can't undertake organized behaviour in response to a crisis – look at the improvement in ozone depletion, the cleanup of Lake Erie, the huge improvements in auto fuel economy. These are small things compared to resolving global warming, but they happened in spite of politics, and in spite of vested interests applying all available leverage to prevent change.

          By the way, I agree with you re: nuclear power, but reasonable people could disagree. It doesn't mean that the whole topic of global warming is so political as to be impossible to address.

          • "But I don't think it makes sense to say that humanity can't undertake organized behaviour in response to a crisis…"

            It's odd how we can't or shouldn't take collective action on some things ,for a variety of reaons…some good some bad. But we rarely have difficulty in finding the money, resources or the will to go fight a war…two in short order…one while in the middle of a global meltdown. I dream of a day when someone says in response to the call for arms…"well we'd like to…but we really can't aford it right now, too much other pressing stuff on our plates…have to pass i'm afaid."

          • Not going to war because the funds are short happens all the time.

          • Cite one first world example please.

          • Perhaps 'collectivist' would have been a better word than 'collective'.

  7. The first chapter of any high school or university textbook on geography/environmental issues will explain that most global environmental problems are the result of overpopulation in developing countries, and overconsumption in developed countries. So it follows that action to address global environmental issues (including climate change) would be based on decreasing per-capita consumption in developed countries and decreasing population growth in developing countries.

    • Problem solved. You can go home, everybody. :)

    • Except the amount of consumption in the western world far outstrips the consumption of the developing world. So much so that you can't even compare the two.

      As well, aside from a few exceptions, by and large the population of developing countries isn't any denser than that of developed European nations. There are more white people in the world than black ones for example, and Africa is bigger than Europe.

      Largely though, if you want a smaller population increases, largely you need old age pension, a good social safety net, and income derived from an urban lifestyle. Then, and this is important, you have to not mind if your economy doesn't grow.

    • What if the population of developing countries emigrated to developed countries? The population growth of developing countries would slow down and the overconsumption of developed countries would diminish because of an increase in population.

      I think the environmental problems would remain.

  8. The history is NOT that developing nations increase their output up to a point and stay there. The history is that output peaks, then falls. Few advanced industralized nations are still at their peak carbon output per capita: they're well below it. The question for those nations is what happens next: another peak, or a technology-driven decline (which we could obviously do a lot encourage or hasten by means of policy, aiming for some mix of growth and emissions-curtailing). This is not a settled question, even in the disputed sense that the climate-forcing effect of greenhouse gases is "settled". It's just an open question. Meanwhile, with regard to the developing nations, the question is whether to hustle them through their smelly Industrial Revolutions as fast as possible or to say "You'll have to pursue growth with emissions limits established at the outset–sounds hard, lotsa luck."

    • You've shown a decline from a maximum, but not a sustained decline. The US and Canada have been virtually constant from a per capita perspective since the energy crisis 30 years ago and the other countries have used direct methods to reduce carbon emissions. Look at Japan, Ireland, Isreal, Spain, Australia – their emissions have grown steadily per capita since 1960, despite being industrialized nations with growing GDP.

      There was a shift from high emissions before, but what's the chances of that happening again? For personal use, coal and wood proved uneconomical, dirty and difficult to control, sure. But now, coal is the cheapest form of energy we have, by a wide margin, and will likely remain so for decades. Natural gas is relatively cheap as well. Oil is about the only substance in question, but that's mostly due to price instability rather than baseline economics.

      As for the developping nations, I don't think they will have the same smelly industrial revolution we did because they already know what the next step is – they're unlikely to have the hump followed by the decline because they already know what's more efficient in many regards – why bother with coal or wood for personal heating at all? China and India don't want to be Europe or North America in the first half of the 20th century, there's no reason for them to take the same path we did. We don't need to hustle them through it, because they don't have to go through it at all.

      You're right, what comes next is not a settled question. However, there is no indication that we can simply grow our way out of the problem – advanced nations without real emissions-reduction policies have plateaued at a higher-than-acceptable level and other nations are increasing per capita emissions, all while the world economy grows. It's going to take some sort of public policy to encourage worldwide emissions reductions – hard ones to cause actual reductions in developped nations, somewhat softer ones to dampen emissions growth in developping ones.

      • I don't think you can count Ireland, Israel, Spain or Australia as "industrialized" before 1960, and Japan's post-war re-building was just getting into its stride by 1960. I don't see a tight local correlation between CO2 emissions and growth, but there is no way to achieve and maintain growth for the developing countries without massive increases in emissions.

        • "I don't think you can count Ireland, Israel, Spain or Australia as "industrialized" before 1960" um… what? Ok, putting aside my incredulousness at that statement, even if they weren't industrialized then, they are now, meaning if Cosh's assertion held true, they would have hit a maximum in emissions at some point and declined, which they didn't.

          As for developping nations, I agree, minus the "massive" part. Growth won't decrease per capita emissions, that's largely been my point in these posts. However, we can encourage growth without massive rises in emissions – the economy vs environment stance is a false dichotomy that pops up far too often on both sides of the debate. We can grow economies without having to massively increase their emissions – and for developped nations, we can even decrease emissions while growing.

          Heck, what I'd like to see come out of Copenhagen (which doesn't look overly likely) is a committment to hard reductions by developped countries (especially Australia, Canada and the US) and meaningful intensity-based targets from developping countries so that they can continue to grow – but so that they do so efficiently.

          • Bill is correct about Ireland, Israel and Spain (Australia I take issue with).

            I remember my mom took a trip to Ireland in the early 90's. Being a snotty little kid I asked her what toys she brought me back from Ireland. She said none, because Irish toy stores were mostly not open except around Christmas. Ireland at the time was a backwater (where divorce was illegal). As for Spain, it is easy to forget that it and Portugal were run by dictatorships up until the mid 70s.

            Or if you prefer quantitative data (GDP per capita in 1990 dollars from Angus Maddison):
            Argentina 1960: $5,559
            Ireland 1960: $4,282
            Spain 1960: $3,072
            Israel 1960: $4,663
            UK 1960: $8,645
            Australia 1960: $8,791
            Canada 1960: $8753
            USA 1960: $11,328

            So the average American was about 3 times richer than Irishman or Israeli, and 4 times richer than the average Spaniard. Indeed, all three were poorer than the average citizen of that great economic powerhouse, Argentina. It makes sense, then that their emissions per capita will peak later.

          • To claim those countries wer'n't industrialized countries prior to 1960 is a little silly. Compared to whom? Tthe US…the gold standard then…or compared to Egypt, or Congo?

          • Well, I would say being industrialized involves having significant manufacturing industry, and the countries under discussion have only more recently (post 1960 anyway) developed any of that. They weren't previously burning oil or coal or anything else for significant industrial purposes.

          • Cumon! Ireland! Ireland has had a world class ship building industry forever. You can't hold burning peat for their wonderful Whiskey against them, or using donkeys for transport. Irish linen, the list goes on. Ireland has been an industrialized country,at least in its cities, for a very long time.

          • Okay, lets say we compare them to Argentina in 1960. All three are poorer per capita than Argentina. In the case of Spain, there is almost a 40% difference. Argentina isn't on the cutting edge of anything except possible massive financial collapses – they beat the rest of us by a good few years on that one.

          • Sorry but Agentina was at one time picked as a brighter prospect for the future than Canada…obviously something went wrong big time…i presume corruption had something to do with it…perhaps state nationalization too. Weak on Argentina i'm afaid.

    • Craig appears to be right. The chart shows only those countries who have taken any significant measures as declining in emissions since the 70s oil shocks. And it doesn't take into account the different natures of the economies…Canada and Germany for instance. There's no clear correlation here between economic growth and improving emissions per capita.

  9. Well, I guess the question we are left with then is whether or not we think there would be 1.3 billion people in China today if China had never undergone the communist revolution. A large upswing in population was the communists plan for winning a future war because they couldn't compete economically or technologically with other powers. On the other hand, the communists did kill tens of millions in its great leap foward and cultural revolution.

  10. Population growth seems to be a cyclical "we are all doomed" meme, and here it is back again, gratis global warming alarmism. Significantly, the Chinese have tabled their "achievement" in not having 400 million babies a their contribution to fighting global warming, so we can see where this is going.

    The equation between CO2 emissions and humanity reveals the underlying agenda of global warming alarmism – it is a fundamentally anti-modernist movement, seeking to restrict further development and hobble humanity's growth.

    Soylent Green anyone?

    • Isn't that funny: I heard the same points just this morning, shouted on a street corner by a homeless guy.

      At least he was entertaining… though his face looked suspiciously like your pic…

  11. Communists bad. Got it. Man, I've wasted so much time exploring the nuances of history and culture.

    • Well, we can never know exactly what would have happened in China had there not been the communist revolution, but even taking into account the bigger picture you elaborated (which I can agree with), there still is blame to be laid for the huge population increase. So the question is whether the growth in population is a natural outgrowth of 600 million, and would have increased even more if China hadn't gone communist or whether the communists exacerbated the situation then cracked down on a problem they were responsible for.

      • If you look at the state of the country before the communists, there's a good chance most of the population would have died. Warlord, Japanese & Nationalist control tended to result in negative population growth. Famine, mass slaughter et al. Jus' saying.

  12. Colby, for some reason you didn't include the other member of the G7, Japan, the world's second (or maybe now third) largest economy behind the US (and maybe China). And they have accomplished this remarkable feat through having few natural resources.

    So, if one was to click on the "More info" link on your graph, and add in Japan, you would find that its per capita CO2 emissions have been constantly rising, not having peaked yet. More of a "pool stick" than an inverted "hockey stick".

    So, why the oversight? Does the Japanese example not fit the narrative? Or are they still a "developing" nation in your definition?

    • Same thing for South Korea – one of the Asian Tigers – and cohost of next year's G20. Developed, or developing?

      • Maybe it's a case of "hiding the incline" with a trick…

        • I'm trying to hack his emails to find out, but he appears to often use some obtuse english words, so I've been unsuccessful with the password. Maybe it's "Bosco".

          • I'm not obtuse enough to confuse "obtuse" with "obscure", though.

          • More to do with the angle you approach matters- neither right, nor acute.

          • Good recovery, Dot.

    • Looking at the charts, both the UK and Germany industrial bases were built on cheap coal, both of which steadily declined in use over the 20th Century. Heavy manufacturing have moved away from those countries and I suspect you can explain a lot of those numbers in that way.

      • Well, you could explain the numbers that way, I suppose. The move of the UK off of coal could also be attributed to the Great Smog of 1952, which resulted in the following (from wiki):
        The death toll formed an important impetus to the modern environmental movement, and led to a rethinking of air pollution, as the smog had demonstrated its lethal potential. New regulations were put in place restricting the use of dirty fuels in industry and banning black smoke. In the years that followed, various legislation such as the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968, and the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1954, greatly restricted air pollution.

        and the discovery and development of North Sea oil.

        Germany – I'd attribute a lot of the decline post 1990 reunification due to a mixture of recession and restructuring. And probably East Germany had lower CO2 emissions per capita than West Germany, so when combined , the German numbers would decline.

        I personally believe this per capita argument is far too symplistic. For example, when Colby suggests "Canadians are thought to have reached a peak in CO2 output in 1948", I'd wonder what impact the war effort had on those numbers leading up to 1948 (lots of steel/coal burning in industry) and the Leduc oil discovery was in 1947 – so fuel switching was probably a large part of it. Hard to say.

    • You can click on the graph and display any mix of countries you like. I picked the G8 minus Japan and Russia, because I was looking for the MOST mature industrial economies. (I included Italy, which shows a secular rise in emissions that I don't know the explanation for, if there is one.)

      • Depends how you define "mature". Countries can leap frog developed technologies in "mature industrial economies". Micro steel plants are one example. Same with say cell phone technologies, where you don't have an installed base and infrastructure – resistence to change.

        Russia's late inclusion in the G7 + 1 was never due to the size of their economy, it was more political in nature. Hence why I didn't include it, but Japan's should be there. If Japan is not a mature industrial economy, you'd better tell Toyoto, Nissan, Honda etc etc etc.

        • I don't agree with Cosh in any way he interprets his data but I would say Japan's economy is not mature in the same way other G8 countries' are. Manufacturing is still a dominant economic force in Japan where as other' weaning out manufacturing and giving way to financial institutions.

          • Following the 1973 oil shock economic growth in Japan and other
            industrial countries slowed sharply. Real GDP growth in Japan in the
            subsequent two decades was still quite high by the standards of other
            industrial economies, averaging about 3.8 percent annually during
            1973 to 1989 compared with about 2.7 percent for the OECD area, but
            clearly reflected capacity limits and other constraints on growth (e.g.,
            labor shortages, high productivity levels, and high technological levels)
            facing mature industrial economies. The rate of unemployment in
            Japan over the 1973 to 1989 period was less than half of that prevailing
            on average in the OECD area, and the rate of inflation averaged only
            about 2.2 percent annually. During this period Japan caught up technologically
            with the United States and other leading industrial nations,
            took international leadership positions in many industries, and its economic
            influence grew enormously on the world stage. Japan's economy
            became the envy of the world, frequently heralded as a model for
            other industrial nations to follow.


      • Two things:

        1. the graph does not even appear with firefox ( this is not unique to your blog, I've noticed this before), but inconveniently the intense debate comments work best with firefox.

        2. Check out North Korea for the craziest graph.

  13. You certainly have to admit that "Communists bad" is a pretty good start…

    • Absent of history and perspective, perhaps. All forms of dictatorship and totalitarianism suck. To toss about communism as a one word summation of both moral stance and after-the-fact explanation doesn't advance our understanding of the past or present all that well.

      I'm a libertarian, for the most part. But I see large scale societies as an experimental work in progress, and I can't ignore the fact that all humans were "communists" (but not subjected to totalitarian state control) for a few hundred thousand years.

      • Well said. We ignore history (ALL human history) at our peril no?

        • Thanks. And agreed – I hate to see history squandered.

          • I don't see how I was squandering history. As I said I agree with your bigger historical picture.

            The question still remains whether or not Chinese policies towards population in earlier decades created a crisis that would not have existed if the communists hadn't ascended to power. I propose that it did.

          • You weren't. I was speaking more generally to Dave's more general point.

      • While I'm here, what the heck do you mean that humans were "communists" for a few hundred thousand years? That we had communal structures? That we are social creatures?

        I don't think communism means what you think it means.

        • He means that important property was communally owned. That is, I believe, the essence of communism.

          • That, and a strong ethic of sharing. It was unthinkable to hoard food, as one example.

            Add to that a complete absence of a market economy, and no concept of private ownership of goods, while we're at it.

            Then again, maybe Teddy's right and I don't understand.

          • Wasn't much point in hoarding anything. We couldn't really preserve anything, except in very crude (and rather poor-tasting) fashion. And one flint-tipped spear is pretty much like the rest. You can only wear so many furs. Also, in the absence of laws and policing, hoarding would have made zero sense, as there would have been no way to protect it from thievery. Communism? In a way I guess. More out of necessity than ideology.

          • Yes, many of the social and cultural patterns were of great adaptive benefit , or necessity. But your description somehow suggests that everyone was eagerly anticipating capitalism, but were thwarted by external realities. There was a rich and complex symbolic and ethical web of understandings and rules – underpinned by egalitariansim – that makes a strictly 'environmental' explanation insufficient.

            There were many opportunities for individuals to hoard things like knowledge (hunting techniques, the ability to communicate with spirits), or for the hunter to claim the best part of the kill as his own. Yet the ethic of sharing – and conversely the pressures against hoarding – was strong. Too strong to be explained by sheer necessity.

            You're dead wrong about laws and policing. Small scale societies had numerous means of regulating behaviour – everything from gossip to ostracising could be employed if necessary. There were definite rules for behaviour, and easily enforced consequences for their breech.

            (I didn't vote your comment down, by the way – I enjoy these debates!)

          • Well, then that simply isn't true. Even if there is sharing of property in tribal societies and agricultural ones, there is always private property and an internal economy based on trading services and goods.

            You only get true "communism" if you have centralized control of the means of production.

          • Whence my talk of "important property." It's true that you can't have the workers centrally controlling the steelworks if you haven't invented bronze.

          • Who was it who said something to the effect that communism, like Christianity, cannot be considered a failure, because nobody has tried either of them yet?

          • "there is always private property and an internal economy based on trading services and goods"

            Not true for foraging (hunter-gather) societies (the adaptive pattern that I was talking about). Not true at all.

            There really was nothing produced, and I take it that your definition of communism requires some complex of workers and specialization of labour. Perhaps that's the root of our 'disagreement'.

          • Technically, I suppose, you have to limit "communism" and "capitalism" to industrialized or at least semi-industrialized societies.

            Also, technically, since no communists have ever got so far, the end goal of communism is to have no government and no organized power to control the means of production.

      • "I can't ignore the fact that all humans were "communists" (but not subjected to totalitarian state control) for a few hundred thousand years".

        You have no idea what communism is if you think it was simple co-operation to survive.

  14. Ha ha. Presumably his carbon-footprint was also commendably low.

    • 'The equation between CO2 emissions and humanity reveals the underlying agenda of global warming alarmism – it is a fundamentally anti-modernist movement, seeking to restrict further development and hobble humanity's growth'

      Bill's joking, right! All those UN CC panelists struggling to throw us back into the stone age…hmm!!

      • If only. it is not so far-fetched. There is a lot of anti-globalism at the UN, a lot of puritanism, a lot of envy, a lot of dislike of industry, technology and science, a lot of small-minded NIMBYism…mix it all together and here we are. You find different shades of it on the far-right and religious fundamentalism, as well as in the left-leaning socialist eco-freaks, and of course everything in between.

      • "Hotel guests should have their electricity monitored; hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying; and iced water in restaurants should be curtailed, the world's leading climate scientist has told the Observer.

        Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that western society must undergo a radical value shift if the worst effects of climate change were to be avoided." Observer, Nov 29 '09

        You have to look at suggested solutions to get an idea of person's political beliefs. The railroad engineer happens to think we are going to solve global warming by raising taxes and monitoring our ice cube usage. Others talk about technology that will suck CO2 out of atmosphere.

        I think you can often tell someone's political beliefs by what they suggest for reducing CO2.

        • Funny, when you call Dr. Pachauri a "railroad engineer", you make it sound like 'engineer' in the colloquial sense (ie. a train driver).

          He is, in fact, a professional Engineer. He has a doctorate in Industrial Engineering and Economics and a long and notable career in industry, research and education and a number of prestigious awards for his contributions to those fields.

          You say: "You have to look at suggested solutions to get an idea of person's political beliefs". I disagree. I think looking at how people mislead you (like calling a Ph.D. a "railroad engineer") is much more enlightening.

          • I know you are not going to believe this but I had no idea train drivers were called railroad engineers. Talk about title inflation. Honestly, I was not trying to downplay Dr. Pachauri academic accomplishments, just trying to highlight absurdity of having railroad engineer as head of org dedicated to global warming.

          • Fair enough – benefit of the doubt and all that. Besides, my grandfather was a railroad "engineer", so maybe it's my misunderstanding.

            Anyway, just because the man began his career 35 years ago in the railroad business doesn't mean he's still a railroad engineer. I do think it's seriously misrepresenting the man to call him that.

          • You're right. I don't believe it. My experience has been that most male children in western culture encounter the term "engineer" in the context of what you call "train driving" well before they understand that there are some people involved in various kinds of design and construction who are also called engineers. The idea of controlling a large powerful locomotive is attractive to the young mind, so (railroad) engineer is a hero job like fireman or astronaut.

            But I guess your experience has been different.

  15. Overpopulation is a myth. Population control is an elitist view and now it has been harnessed in the Co2 game. Extreme poverty has been declining since colonization, if we adhere to an ethnocentric perception of poverty. So as developing nations become more prosperous and affluent they will want to enjoy the comforts of a western lifestyle, and capitalism is more than happy to comply. This has been happening in select Asian countries for the last 30 years. Well if we're not going to shift our focus towards cutting down on waste, in-sustainability, gross excess, incompetence, and unethical practice within our market systems we might as well limit the people that can access them.

  16. What I like about the column is that it puts population growth front and centre in the emissions debate; it gets in our faces.


    Why? Most environmentalists prefer exploring less drastic solutions, so that long term mother nature doesn't make the population growth decisions for us.

  17. The more conflicted logic is that the premise of unlimited economic growth always assumes a growing (and unlimited) market. By extension entitlement programs require more paying in than withdrawing.

    Current demographic trends are set to destroy the US financial system and the Canadian one by default. When the premise of social security is more paying in than withdrawing, as the boomer bubble hits, the wheels come off. Most G20 social safety nets are toast.

    As Bluenext is set to work with the World Bank tp monetize carbon trading, what do you think the chances of carbon tax landing on your every purchase soon are? Get ready to have less.

  18. A lot of interesting issues here. When it comes to emissions, I have some bad news for environmentalists. If the kind of emissions we saw in the industrial revolution were bad enough to drive climate change, then it is very implausible that we will be able to get to those levels simply by not making babies and restricting economic activity. If zero or near zero is the only safe level of emissions, then the strategy most advocate is likely to fail.

    Just as the agricultural revolution proved Malthus wrong about population growth (actually he had sketchy data issues – much of his data came from the Americas and didn't differentiate between immigrations and births), technological change is the only viable long-term solution to global warming. Limiting population growth may staunch short-term C02 increases, but I would argue that that it will INCREASE long-term emissions.

    There is some probability that each child born will be the next Edison, Einstein or whomever. A one-child policy would prevent such people from being born. Many of those baby Einsteins will be born in poor countries however – countries where they will lack the infrastructure to develop and apply their skills. This is why economic development is critical (yes, even though it may increase emissions in the short-term). In other words, the policies of environmentalists will lower emissions today, but decrease our ability to innovate true long-term technical solutions.

    • I was thinking the same. Sounds like a thesis derived from watching The Boys from Brazil.

      So, Albert Einstein was born in 1879, and Edison 1847. The world's pop. was around 1.3 billion then, give or take. So, how many Einstein's have been born, do you figure, in the interim 130 yrs, now that the world's pop is 6.7 billion?

      Btw, we know that the most entrepreneurial individuals live in Alberta – hence their wealth. It's not like they just dig it out of the ground. So, arguably it's nurture, not nature. Hence, your thesis fails.

      • "It's not like they just dig it out of the ground."

        Um, I'm pretty sure they do.

        • Methinks she was joking (at least I hope!). Albertans….born on third base, strut around like they just hit a triple.

          • It's just like how Newfoundland, with its vast off-shore oil wealth and natural resources, is now the most prosperous and successful province in Confederation. If you have oil, you win automatically. All else is irrelevant.

          • Sort of the territorial equivalent of being born a white male.

          • So explain Nigeria.

          • The exception that proves the rule. :)

          • Exceptions never prove the rule. :)

          • True. Except for one case. Which only serves to prove your point…

          • There are others who aren't doing so hot either, although Nigeria is probably the most egregious case. But there are a number of large oil producers and exporters who aren't exactly swimming in prosperity (as far as the general population goes): e.g., Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia. I mean c'mon, if sheer resource wealth were the sole or prime deteriminant of the wealth of nations, our world would look a lot different — e.g., The Democratic Republic of the Congo would be one of the richest nations on earth. And, umm, it ain't.

          • Boy are you out of date.

            Boys of all races are lagging in high school marks and are outnumbered in university by females 3 to 2.

            Then try sending your white male son to job interviews nowadays with two strikes against him when not just public sector positions but private as well due to government regulation are forced to fill positions through affirmative action on the basis of sex and skin color, not merit. Though they are disguised as "equality" and "diversity", these are just racist and sexist policies in reverse. Equality would mean looking at merit alone.

        • I assume Dot is being facetious/sarcastic but who knows. Dot seems to think we can tell his tone of voice when reading his (???) comments.

          • I think you're right.

            One more for my wall of shame…

          • Na, I'm just happy you bother reading them. My real objective is getting quoted someday by an aide to Rona Ambrose. Then I know I've hit the big time! And if they wrongly assume I wasn't being sarcastic – bonus!

    • "There is some probability that each child born will be the next Edison, Einstein or whomever…"

      You had me up that point. There's also some probability that those same kids will be the next Hitler, Manson, or whomever…

      (Just having fun – I agree with your argument!)

  19. You see my point? It's an ongoing debate, supposedly amongst adults of good will. I deplore this tendancy on all side to misrepresent, label and generally attempt to marginalize the " other side". Of course this is not limited to one side or the other. I grow equally weary of lefties who claim that no solution is possible while capitalism still lives Man it seems everyones a fundamentalist these days…i bame W. :)

  20. Wow, that chart. I've always known Jimmy Carter was ahead of his time on energy issues – he put solar panels on the White House, funded the kind of work on algal biofuels that is pretty cutting edge even at present, and was very strong on the principle of cutting consumption – but I hadn't realized his presidency had that kind of effect. The big decline in US emissions the chart is 1978-81, much more significant than the smaller drop after the start of the oil crisis in 1973.

    I also hadn't realized how much worse Canada's gotten recently, when everyone else is trying to cut their emissions. It can't just be because we're far north, not when Sweden's planning on being carbon-emissions-free by 2020. We really need to get with the program on this. The problem isn't that green technologies don't exist – it's that the present, largely fossil-fuel based ones are subsidized by the government and green ones aren't, creating distortions that make green technologies that are actually far more cost-effective than oil drilling more expensive.

    • That's why I'm a fan of Bjorn Lomborg's suggested policy response to the climate change crisis/AGW. One of his big policy planks is to have countries (especially rich ones) commit to dedicating a certain percentage of their GDP (I forget the number) to R&D on green technologies and the like. Such a program is far less destructive to economic growth than Kyoto-style carbon emission cuts, far more politically palatable, and is less likely to have the significant colletive action problems that Kyoto has (i.e., shirking and dodging).

    • If we destroy our economy we too can experience the same 'wins" as Carter…careful what you wish for. As for european nations that would fit in a small corner of any of our provinces, except PEI, do you think our transportation needs might be different? Ask Colby if the Gulf Stream is moderating temps in Edmonton right now, it sure helps Sweden and Norway. We are almost alone as a sparsely populated well developed industrial nation in a cold climate. In fact if we are smart we can stronger than anyone in the world with our resourse base and population.

    • "The problem isn't that green technologies don't exist – it's that the present, largely fossil-fuel based ones are subsidized by the government and green ones aren't"

      I have no idea where you get this idea from. Colossal amounts of government money have gone to subsidizing green technology and even more is being planned. Here is just one example from Germany:

      "The total net cost of subsidizing electricity production by PV modules is estimated to reach 53.3 Bn € (US $73.2 Bn) for those modules installed between 2000 and 2010. While the promotion rules for wind power are more subtle than those for PV, we estimate that the wind power subsidies may total 20.5 Bn € (US $28.1 Bn) for wind converters installed between 2000 and 2010."

      • Fossil fuels are subsidized too though right? I was under the impression that pretty much every industry is subsidized by the government in one way or another.

        • "Fossil fuels are subsidized too though right?"

          I am a bit woolly on what specifically a subsidy is so I am not certain. I agree that Canadian government is giving money to many sectors of our economy but I don't know if they all qualify as subsidies. I know Canadian gov't tinkers with tax policies and the like to encourage growth of oil industry but are they actually handing over cash to oil companies to develop new fields?

          And doesn't subsidy imply that industry needs help or else it will go out of business or will not start in first place. Oil industry seems to me to be pretty healthy and I am certain it puts more money into Treasury coffers than it takes out.

          • Not that they're strictly for the benefit of oil corporations, but I tend to consider our subsidies for roads and years of direct monies to automakers as at least partly fossil fuel subsidies. Also, the manner in which municipalities have allowed for suburban sprawl could be interpreted as enabling a market for fossil fuel consumption.

            Just putting it out there, without claiming the suggestions are absolutely true or anything…

          • Heck, not just municipalities, but policies of federal and provincial governments have contributed to suburban sprawl.

          • "municipalities have allowed for suburban sprawl could be interpreted as enabling …"

            Or it could be interpreted that municipalities are enabling people to live where, and how, they choose. There's a reason why suburbs are popular and it has little to do with providing subsidies to auto/oil industry.

          • Industry doesn't just need subsidies to be viable. Sometimes money is given to invest in a particular area, or to protect a particular company, or to encourage them to expand their operations to "create jobs".

  21. (Something to do with moving away from hydroelectricity after they wiped out a couple of towns with it, would be my guess.)

  22. Wikipedia:

    Diane Francis is married and has two children.

    enough said

  23. *red face* ooops! That'll teach me to multitask! Sorry Dot…

  24. Reminds me of the title of a PJ O'Rourke chapter on environmental issues: "Way to much of you, just the right amount of us"

  25. Some interesting math for all to consider with three assumptions (which are close to accurate) earth population 6 billion, area of Saskatchewan 255,000 sq miles, land area of earth 57,500,00 sq. miles .

    If everyone on earth moved to sask you would have 23,530 people per sq. mile, or 131 sqare yards of space per person. saskatchewan has about .0044% of earth's land. You guys do the rest of the math…there's lots of space. I know we have mountains and deserts and tundra etc, but the point is there is still lots of land. While there are local problems the global picture is not that bad.

    • Amen. There was far more (probably twice as much) productive farmland in New Brunswick 70 years ago than there is today, mainly because of the post-WWII policies that have made family farms all but impossible.

    • and if everyone jumped at the same time, we could put the earth on a new orbit. Alfa Centauri sudddenly looks appealing.

      • Can i book you a ticket?

        • Virgin? OK. Throw in a few records, and a cell phone.

          • Nah he's got a spaceship now, but I'll only book you a one way.

  26. "…mere economic growth might be part of the climate-change problem, or it might be the ultimate solution.

    It's also the case that, in general, wealthy populations are less fertile than poor populations. If obstructionists like Harper want to propose an alternative strategy to the climate problem like adaptation coupled with a massive development effort for third world countries, they should get on with it. Instead, the debate we're having is whether or not the scientists are wrong: if they are we should do nothing; if they aren't we should make a heroic effort to change the climate. That's a dumb debate. Or an incomplete one, in any case.

    • I agree it's a dumb debate as you've described it, but the Kyoto fanatics are just as guilty as the ones you label "obstructionists". Look at Bjorn Lomborg's situation. This is a guy who comes right out at the beginning and states that he believes in anthropogenic global warming. But he suggests that Kyoto-style carbon emission cuts might, just might, not be the only possible solution to the problem. And he sets out a detailed set of policy alternatives, all of which he quite convincingly argues might do more good than the Kyoto-style cuts and might have a much better chance of actually being implemented and succeeding. And for that, the pro-Kyoto establishment simply craps all over him. There's plenty of blame to go around for why the debate has become histrionic and infantalized.

  27. It's a nice dodge they've got going there eh? You're either a deep ecologist or you're a hypocrite in which case STFU and let business decide what's best.

    • I guess Colby cheerfully subscribes to the zero sum game too. Go live in your cave or stop trying to ruin everybody elses day! If only it were s simple.

  28. heh.

    Right after we deal with the ones that crap on my front lawn, the sidewalks of my neighbourhood, and the park where my kids play.

    • Even the ones in your neighbourhood named Kyoto, World Peace, Cure For Cancer, Snoopy, High-Speed Rail, Proportional Representation…?

      • Lousy group of SOBs. Every last one of them.

  29. While I agree that people need to stop having children, we know this won't be the case….especially in the 3rd world. Frankly, I believe Mother Nature will even everything out with either a catastrophic environmental event, or a health-related (illness) event. Either way, the balance will be reached eventually. Hopefully we can keep the damage to a minimal before these events occur.

  30. "people need to stop having children"

    Self loathing is a critical tenet of today's "progressivism".

  31. The earth is finite, not infinite. 0il is finite, some day earth population will run out of oil, and so keep on reproducing until there is standing room only is also a matter of time.
    The media know so well how to program the poulation. What abhors me is the idols of society, "the stars", who keep on showing the young girls that being pregnant is such a wonderful thing. Well, perhaps it is for them since money and divorce is no obstacle. A case in point are octomom and the couple who is expecting their 19th child. Excuse me? How many disposable diapers are we talking about from these two families alone????
    Perhaps if we put a halo around people who have themselves castrated and pay the richly for the procedure there might be some voluntary restriction on overpopulating a planet in trouble.
    However, we can wait until big brother will do it for us in the form of killer germs. It has been done before with native populations, so it is up to us, let's not keep on dreaming!!

  32. The biggest challenge we face is that we are starting to run out of inexpensive fossil fuels. World oil production has most likely peaked and will start to decline regardless of what efforts are made to sustain production. We have been able to feed the current 7.5 billion population of the planet thanks to the Green Revolution that greatly increased crop yields. Unfortunately, those agricultural practices require extensive use of fossil fuels to operate machinery and produce the pesticides and fertilizer that is required. Our ability to feed 7.5 billion people, let alone the 8 or 9 billion we will have if population growth continues, will be degraded as fossil fuels become more scarce.

  33. Canada is vast huge and full of resources. If we didn't want to hurt the planet – why for the last thirty years or so have politicians been saying our population is decreasing – people aren't having enough babies to fill all the jobs so therefore we need vast amounts of immigrants to fill the void.

  34. Overpopulation is a Myth? Wow.

    As the deceit of the limo-jet-caviar congestion of Copenhagen grinds that city into the forefront of an international tragedy, there will be no mention of humanity's biggest challenge.

    There will be no discussion or agreement on the root cause of stress on the earth's oceans, air, forests, rivers, and lakes.

  35. What a half-baked and ignorant review! Colby Cosh, there are a raft of other, massive adverse impacts of over-population, other than the matter of the effects thereof on climate change, on which you seem to focus, to the exclusion of others

    Leaving aside the contribution of over-population to this problem (of which the evidence is persuasive enough in itself), the massive depletion of sea life, and the destruction of so much of the earth's natural habitat, including tropical forests, under the staggering weight of six (now approaching seven) billion homo sapiens, is surely, to anyone with a modicum of common sense (which you seem to lack) proof positive of the environmental disaster that is exploding human population growth.

    Cobly Cosh, before you deride others as being 'half-crazy' and regale the rest of us with your intellectually feeble (and environmentally ignorant and insensitive) responses, I would suggest you take a good look in the mirror.

    Thank you.

  36. Nice of James Raider and Rod lecturing the rest of us about overpopulation. Of course, that's easier than doing their part to solve the 'problem' by offing themselves.

  37. This is a good article.

    I actually know lots of environmentalists (University aged kids in environment and biology programs) who have adopted a zero child policy.
    Personally, a two child policy is good for me- significantly below the natural replacement rate.

    But yeah, anyone who gets into territory where the state is having a strong impact on limiting child size by any other means than female education, economic growth and birth control is moving the environmental movement backwards.

    It really is sad how the authoritarian meme from the 70s crops again and again….I mean, anyone who wants to talk about limiting resources and environmental ethics should have drilled into their heads just how ridonculous Hardin's lifeboat ethic was, and how much damage it did to the idea of environmentalism.

    *As an aside, I'm in an environmental program where students complain about having to learn about the philospohical underpinnings that drive things like the zero-populaiton growth…..but it is mandatory….which is a good sign right?

  38. Environmentalists chopping their birthrate would guarantee Earth's eventually destruction, since it would lead to a majority of people who can't grasp the fact that we will have nothing if our environment is destroyed. Where do we go if we let the oil and coal society pollute all the clean air and water?

  39. Diane Francis does not go far enough,if your religious belief is that mankind threatens the planet,you as a zealot,must stop producing CO2.Start holding your breath,right now.Turn off your furnace.Bury your car.If you cannot practise what you preach,perhaps its time to examine your beliefs,read the CRU emails,see how they discuss massaging the message,just for you,useful idiots to the end.Check out the science for yourself,does the referrenced data support the published conclusions?Can you access the data?Commonsense is uncommonsense in todays strange world of post modern science.

  40. Everything with the Left is a CRISIS that requires big government planning, lessening or complete removal of individual rights, increased taxation and regulation and severe changes to lifestyles in order to be solved. Obama's own people operate onthe 'never let a good crisis go to waste' policy.
    But the biggest Leftists supporting these crises never ever change their own lifestyles. Look at the US – The Leftist politicians, musicians and movie stars. They live like gods while expecting everyone else to lie in the dirt. Hypocrites!

  41. Nice to be returning to this blog again, it has been ages since. Well this post that I have been waiting for so long. I need this information to finish my college assignment, as it is a similar topic to this post. Thanks you, great share.

  42. The population in western nations has already begun a decline as seen with the statistics. Other than immigrants most developed nations are already in decline. So any problem we have is imported. Is this not like bringing the disease to us.
    The third world and their cultural beliefs is the source of population growth. To transfer the blame to western nations requires that you ignore this simple fact.
    Maybe all immigrants to canada should be limited to one child.
    Maybe we should start dealing in "child credits" where if you choose you could buy a credit from a couple who have choosen not to reproduce. Lets even give the glbt people credits for obvious reasons.

  43. The planet does not care what your population is. Carbon per square kilometer should be the measure. The Europeans would not like that. With 830 million people creating carbon in 10,180,000square kilometers they rate among the worst offenders. Canada with 33 million in 9,970,610 square kilometers does very little to upset Mother Nature.. Best to blame the colonies.