The scientist recently appointed to a Vatican post has called his critics, including Breitbart News, “vicious liars”.
Veteran Vatican reporter Edward Pentin interviewed Hans Schellnhuber about controversies swirling around him and his reputation as one of the more aggressive theorists of global warming. Schellnhuber said reports that he said the Earth has a “carrying capacity of less than 1 billion” are a “complete lie.”
Last week Breitbart News reported on Schellnhuber’s participation in the Vatican rollout of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, in whi h Pope Francis endorsed the controversial theory of man-made global warming.
Breitbart linked to a report in the New York Times on a 2009 speech Schellnhuber gave at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in which he talked about what would happen if the Earth’s temperature spiked several degrees.
“In a very cynical way, it’s a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something –- namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people,” said Dr. Schellnhuber, who has advised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate policy and is a visiting professor at Oxford.
Instead of suggesting that he was misquoted or that his critics misunderstood what he said at Copenhagen, Schellnhuber called reporters liars; “…it’s a complete lie. You can go back to the original lecture. I gave it in Copenhagen. I know there are some vicious people who try to discredit you. I have never spoken in favor of population control measures. What I said in Copenhagen in 2009 was about the carrying capacity of the earth. There have been estimates since the 1700s on how many people in the earth can you carry, so to speak. This number goes up and down, and some say 10 billion, others 100 billion, some just 100 million.”
But, at the Copenhagen speech, as reported in the New York Times, Schellnhuber did not elaborate so extravagantly as he did with Pentin. He did not say estimates of Earth’s carrying capacity could be 10 billion or 100 billion. He said the carrying capacity of Earth is estimated “at less than 1 billion,” which is what Breitbart News and other outlets reported. It should be noted that radical environmentalists have long proposed what Schellnhuber proposed at Copenhagen, that the carrying capacity of the Earth is 1 billion or less, leaving open the question of what to do with the dangerous excess of six billion.
In the Pentin interview, however, Schellnhuber denied he is a population control advocate, though he used the phrase “population problem,” which is a phrase population control advocates tend to use.
He went on to lay out his plan for population reduction: “If you want to reduce human population, there are wonderful means (italics added): Improve the education of girls and young women. Then the demographic transition will be a little bit faster and, as Cardinal Turkson said, you will enhance human capital and have emancipation of many people on earth. So I subscribe to a good education, and that’s the only way of population strategy I would support.”
An interview with Schellnhuber (in German on YouTube) has come to light in which he doubles down on his belief in overpopulation. In the interview he posits that when the Earth reaches nine billion people, which is projected to be very soon, “The Earth will explode” due to resource depletion, which is similar to the now debunked argument first advanced by Paul Erlich in the 1960s that got the modern population control movement humming in the first place.
Demographers, however, are coming to understand the problem is not the total number of people on Earth but rather population aging due to rapidly declining fertility rates coupled with increased life expectancy due to better diet and advances in medicine and science. What once were considered “population problems” now go by other names — migration and urbanization, that is, the tendency of human populations to concentrate in increasingly massive urban areas such as Sao Paulo and Mexico City while leaving the countryside increasingly empty.
In the Pentin interview, Schellnhuber went on to mock any critics of global warming, “Are the [critics] maybe chemists? I’m a physicist by training and I’ve worked on fundamental physics for a long time. I’m also a mathematician.”
He said critics were nothing more than believers in a flat-earth. Among climate skeptics, one likely cannot find a single flat-earther but rather many chemists, physicists and mathematicians.
Follow Austin Ruse on Twitter @austinruse