The issue has been put before the house: Resolved acting like bunnies effects climate change. Well, to be honest, it is the negative. Yin, played by Joe Romm makes the case that consumption is much more important
For all these reasons, this blog is not going to focus on population. I have more than enough to write about on the policies and strategies that must be enacted if we are to have a chance at preserving a livable climate — even assuming I knew of and believed in viable population-related strategies, which I don’t.While Yang, with Roger Pielke Jr. in the starring role holds forth that it is a distraction
The idea that family planning should be justified in terms of reducing emissions is, in my view, utter nonsense. Family planning policies are important in their own right, and to justify them in terms of climate change cheapens both the climate change agenda and the family planning agenda. Fortunately, this perspective is widely shared:To give you an idea of how contentious this is, take a look at all of the links that Yin and Yang each have to people who agree and disagree with their position. In short, this is an issue that an innocent large bird might have an intelligent discussion on while the bunnies are doing, well bunny like things.
Eli starts from the observation that the four horsemen of the apocalypse, famine, disease, death, and denial have cut back on their working hours within the past century. Improved water supply, vaccination, and other public health measures as well as science based medicine have made death and disease much paler riders. Agricultural science has so weakened Famine that he has to limp along with the help of Great War, which himself has been limited after achieving great carnage in the first half of the last century, his visions of the true apocalypse being stymied with the collapse of the USSR. So badly has he been disappointed, that Great War has retired and spends his time raising tomatoes and his nephews, Asymmetric and Civil Warfare. Denial, Denial is doing well after killing millions in the tobacco wars  local successes against Rachel Carson and integrated pest control for malaria while pushing ineffective broadcast spraying of DDT, HIV/AIDS retroviral drug therapy  and vaccination . In a major battle, when his son, polio was on his last legs, Denial got religious leaders in polio's last safe harbors in Africa and Asia to denounce vaccination . Today, together with Delay, Denial has adapted a long term strategy for imposing climate change.
Partial, and let us hope not temporary, victories over Famine, Disease and Death coupled to a limitation on War have lead to exploding populations. With the exception of the developed countries, where population less immigration has remained roughly constant, it has exploded elsewhere. As was seen in France at the end of the nineteenth century, well being, social security, not having to worry about old age or illness, leads people to limit their families.
While wealth in the developed world has soared, major progress has been made in many lesser developed countries, especially South and Central America, China, India, Southeast Asia, and more.
The Rabett School of Climate Studies has investigated the matter and concludes, that like aerosols, there are two climate forcings associated with this progress, the direct, immediate one and the indirect, delayed forcing.
The direct effect is major land use changes as cities grow, forests disappear, water resources are stressed and more. It is somewhat unobservant of Roger Pielke Jr. to say that there are no direct effects of population on climate change, but Ethon, in Roger's defense, notes that RPJ was quite careful to say
but efforts to reduce emissions through population control are wrongheaded.and one can suppose that he does not think that land use is related to emissions or that land use is an entirely different matter. Dad might disagree.
The second indirect effect is that as wealth increases in developing countries, so do emissions. Population growth exploded first in the developing world, as social structures provided food, water, sanitation, vaccination and medicines extending life expectancy. As this immense talent pool began to industrialize and the countries grew in wealth from zero, emissions started to increase on per capita as well as absolute levels. The emissions bomb is lagging population growth by forty to fifty years, but it is clearly seen at the leading edge in Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Thailand, Eastern China, etc. and now India. More are sure to follow.
Both the indirect and the direct population forcings are significant, and require attention. Nor should one think that population in the developed world is a non-issue, as any population growth in the US, Europe and Japan have much larger climate change multipliers. But, as Eli said, Denial is having an excellent decade.
 Br Med Bull. 1996 Jan;52(1):12-21. In developed countries as a whole, tobacco was responsible for 24% of all male deaths and 7% of all female deaths, rising to over 40% in men in some former socialist economies and 17% in women in the USA. The average loss of life for all cigarette smokers was about 8 years and for those whose deaths were attributable to tobacco about 16 years.
 From the Wikipedia: Public health researchers in South Africa and at Harvard University have independently investigated the impact of AIDS denialism. Their estimates attribute 330,000 to 340,000 AIDS deaths, 171,000 HIV infections and 35,000 infant HIV infections to the South African government's former embrace of AIDS denialism.
 Ben Goldacre's Bad Science and Orac's Respectful Insolance are places to start learning about the harm vaccination denial is bringing.
 From the Center for Disease Control: Two decades later in 2008, a total of 1,625 children contracted acute flaccid paralysis caused by poliovirus infection (1). This finding represented a 150% increase over the number of cases in 2007 (1) and resulted in the reemergence of polio as one of the world’s deadliest infections. As of 2009, polio remains endemic to 4 countries (India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan); in 2008, cases were also detected in 14 other countries.
Religious opposition by Muslim fundamentalists is a major factor in the failure of immunization programs against polio in Nigeria (2), Pakistan (3) and Afghanistan (4). This religious conflict in the tribal areas of Pakistan is one of the biggest hindrances to effective polio vaccination.
Cartoon an adaptation from one by Mike Luckovich