A substantial percentage of environmentalists claim that the question of overpopulation has no place in climate change policy. Au contraire, mes amis.
Let's go back to 1970, half a century ago.
Since 1970, animal (non-human) populations have plummeted by 68 per cent.
What else has been going on over the past 50 years? In 1970 that other animal species, us, hit a record 3.6 billion. Today we're closing in on 8 billion.
And there's been a whacking great increase in longevity while our numbers soared. In 1970, average male lifespan was 56.4 years. That figure for men today is 70.8 years. In many affluent countries it's now over 80 years for men. The U.S. lags in 46th place at 76.6.
GDP per capita has done even better rising from a global average of $804 USD in 1970 to $11,500 today.
In other words, while all the other animal species declined in population by 68 per cent, our population doubled, our longevity increased about 20 per cent and our production/consumption/waste blew up twelve fold.
It's foolish to ignore overpopulation just because that focuses on China, India and the emerging giants of Africa. Leave colour the hell out of it.
This is one of those critical moments when nothing can be "off the table." We have to come to terms with the lot - overconsumption and overpopulation.
There are plenty of other reasons to deal with overpopulation. The more heavily populated nations are from regions that are environmentally stressed - water insecurity, food insecurity, farm soils degradation, extreme weather events of worsening frequency, intensity and duration; pest and disease migration. As a rule, they don't have the latitudinal buffer enjoyed by much of Europe, Greenland, Canada and such.
The problem lies with humanity and all its vices whether reproductive or consumptive. We've already taken too much. What hope is there if we can't implement sustainable retreat?