The CNN commentator raised the population control issue eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour during one of his "Cafferty File" segments. Though he didn't give much of a hint as to his stance on the proposal at first, Cafferty made it much more clear after he read his "Question of the Hour:"
CAFFERTY: While world leaders meet to talk about combating climate change in Copenhagen, some people say that population control is, at the end of the day, the only real way to fight it. The Chinese instituted a policy limiting the number of children each family can have thirty years ago, and they claim that since that time, they have prevented 400 million births and saved carbon emissions to the tune of 18 million tons a year. And it's not just the Chinese: there's a piece in the Canadian newspaper 'The Financial Post' suggesting the real 'inconvenient truth' is that humans are overpopulating the world. It suggests every nation should adopt China's one-child policy, because if we don't control the Earth's population, we will eventually destroy or run out of everything, from other species to vegetation, resources, the atmosphere, oceans, water supply- and it doesn't matter whether the globe heats up or doesn't. The piece points out that despite China's dirty coal plants, it is a world leader in creating policy to combat the destruction of the environment.
One study shows- this is interesting- that if from now on, starting today, every woman had only one child - the world's population would actually decline from six and a half billion now to five and a half billion by 2050. But if we do nothing, the population could soar to an unsustainable nine billion people during that same time. Needless to say, there are lot of folks who disagree vehemently with the idea of population control- fundamentalist leaders, people who oppose birth control, and politicians from many of the emerging economies.
But nevertheless, that's our question: should mandatory population control become a part of the fight against global warming? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile, post a comment on my blog.
There's too many people, especially in New York. (laughs) There are!
WOLF BLITZER: (laughs) It's a provocative question.
CAFFERTY: It is a provocative question.
BLITZER: It's a serious subject, too.
CAFFERTY: Oh, it is a very serious-
CAFFERTY: I mean, from six and a half billion down to five and a half by 2050, and if we do nothing, it will go up to nine. And at some point, there's not going to be enough stuff for everybody.
BLITZER: At some point.
BLITZER: You and I will be long gone by then. (laughs)
CAFFERTY: Oh, yeah, yeah- no, it doesn't apply to us. (laughs)
BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thanks very much.
Forty-four minutes later, the commentator read some of the viewer responses to his question. Only the last e-mail explictly objected to the idea of a global one-child policy [audio from this segment available here ].
CAFFERTY: A. writes from Oregon, 'Pretty extreme Jack. However, in the near future, that's certainly a consideration that many nations must make. When food, water, and critical medical services are in short supply, fewer people makes a lot of sense! Consider the enormous drain a family of eight has on society and the community, and yet, the state and federal governments reward huge families with benefits and tax breaks.'
Richard writes, 'Wow, Jack. Thanks very much. Finally, someone in the media has the guts to state the obvious. Everything you said is true, but you were too gentle: it needs shouting out. The fundamentalists and others opposed to population control have had their way for too long.'
Sean in Belvidere, Illinois: 'Morally, there are better ways of fighting global warming than infanticide. But sadly, this method makes more sense than carbon credits.'
Jay writes, 'Absolutely. Every year, we have deer hunting season, with the argument that if we don't control the deer population, they'll over-breed and starve to death. Why can't these 'John and Kate' and 'Octomom' people see that the same biological mathematics applies to humans? On a planet of finite resources, you cannot just keep producing an ever-growing pool of consumers and still expect the whole thing will work.'
Paul in Toronto says, 'Jack, humans, like the H1N1 virus, are a virus, and if we don't get ourselves under control, Mother Earth will eventually create her own vaccine and destroy us all in order to protect herself.'
Sebastian in Ann Arbor, Michigan: 'Finally, it's about time we started talking about this. As an only child, the son of an only child, and the parent of none, I say if you want more than one kid, then pay for it- a tax seems reasonable. Those who adopt would be exempt.'
And Sam says, 'This is the most ignorant question I've ever seen.' (both Cafferty and Blitzer laugh) All right, Sam.
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.