There has been a flurry of comment about population growth and immigration. This last Friday I heard ALP MP Kelvin Thompson advocating immigration cuts on the radio. That same afternoon I came across a street plastered with stickers on every pole reading "save water - end immigration" from the organisation "Nationalist Alternative" - who appear to be a group of racists trying to infiltrate their ideas into the mainstream. Their website says "Our vision of Australia is one of an organic nation, founded upon Western/European ideals, and created by it’s descendants primarily the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic ethnicity as well as fellow Europeans from northern,central, southern and eastern Europe." (Slackbastard posted about them, too. The populationist website candobetter approvingly posted Thompson's speech... and far right website Stormfront approvingly posted a link to candobetter!).
But racist boneheads are an aside. Now Ross Gittins has chimed in in the Sydney Morning Herald. This population argument is gathering support.
I think the call to limit immigration on environmental grounds is a bit hypocritical. Australia is the driest continent but has some of the most wasteful water management. We have now become the world's worst carbon polluters. Why don't we actually address those issues? Immigration may add incrementally to those problems, but cutting immigration actually won't fix them. Immigration is a distraction from the real issue here.
Reducing world population to stop climate change is equally off the mark. If we had time to take a generation - or, more realistically, several - it might work. But climate change has to be addressed urgently. Right now.
I'm all in favour of providing education and contraception to people in developing countries, along with all sorts of other aid. It should be noted that a lot of what passes for "development" in these countries is not uniformly welcomed - dams in India, for example, usually destroy the livelihoods of the people they displace. But once again, limiting population growth where it is the fastest (in the poorest countries) blames the wrong people. It is the already-affluent first-world nations that have produced the vast majority of the world's pollution (and are generally continuing to do so). If Australia's per capita emissions and renewable energy industry were anything like China's we might have some useful advice to give, but until then I don't think so.
Whatever your views on sustainable population (hopefully informed by science, not "White Nationalism") it's a dangerous diversion for the climate movement.