Former UN Population Division Director: ‘Pause’ U.S. Population Growth to Address ‘Climate Emergency’

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The time has come to halt America’s population growth, according to a demographic expert who claims such “stabilization” would help address the “climate emergency” with the United States serving as “an exemplary model for other countries to emulate.” 

In an essay published in The Hill on Monday titled “After years of US population growth, it’s time for a pause,” former director of the United Nations Population Division Joseph Chamie argued that by curbing its population growth, America would have an easier time solving its major problems. 

The essay begins by citing a 1972 report by the U.S. Commission on Population Growth and the American Future on the subject.

“In the long run, no substantial benefits will result from the further growth of America’s population,” it reads. “The gradual stabilization of the U.S. population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to America’s ability to solve its problems.”

Chamie, a consulting demographer and author of numerous publications on population issues, claims the early warning was not heeded.

“[R]ather than moving toward a gradual stabilization, as was clearly recommended, America’s population over the past 50 years has grown to 334 million, an increase of 123 million (about 60 percent) since 1972,” he writes, adding that the country’s population is expected to continue growing over the coming decades.

He then lists “climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, pollution and congestion” as factors that make population growth “among the serious challenges to human destiny in the 21st century.”

“Without a doubt, America’s population growth is a major factor affecting domestic demand for resources, including water, food and energy, and the worsening of the environment and climate change,” he writes.

Chamie then explains how “population stabilization” would help America deal with several major issues it faces.

“Stabilizing the population would reduce pressures on the environment, climate and the depletion of resources and gain time for America to find solutions to its pressing issues,” he argues. 

“If the United States intends to address climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, etc., it must consider how its population affects each issue,” he adds.

According to Chamie, those who refuse to recognize the need to “stabilize the population” largely base their position on “profit, politics and power.”  

“They give little attention to the consequences of population growth on the nation’s future,” he writes.  

Those economists who contend that population growth fuels economic growth, as well as those who tout its contribution to the “national mood,” are guilty of dismissing its “negative consequences,” including concerns of “climate change and the environment,” which they ignore, Chamie suggests.

However, he claims, thousands of scientists around the world “take an opposing view.”

“Among their major recommendations for governments to address the climate emergency is a call for the stabilization of the world population, or ideally, a gradually reduced population within a framework that ensures social integrity,” he writes.  

He also argues that gradually “stabilizing America’s population” would serve as “an exemplary model for other countries to emulate.”

“Rather than racing to increase the size of their respective populations in a world with 8 billion humans and growing, nations would see America moving away from the unsustainable demographic strategy,” he writes.

Noting that Americans are having fewer children for a variety of “social, economic and personal reasons,” Chamie expressed his belief that “pro-growth calls for Congress or the administration to establish pro-natalist policies to raise fertility” are unlikely to be adopted.

As a result, he claims, stabilizing the U.S. population “will necessarily involve substantially reducing” levels of immigration.

“If immigration levels were, for example, close to zero, America’s projected population in 2060 would be 320 million versus 405 million if immigration continued at the same pace,” he writes. 

Chamie concludes that “it is well past the time for the White House, Congress and the American public to embrace the gradual stabilization of the population, which is essential for ensuring the country’s vitality, prosperity and sustainability.”

In response, some Twitter users mocked the essay’s premise while others referenced the many illegal immigrants who have crossed the border over the recent year.

“Are we really returning to the overpopulation stuff?” asked one user. “Wasn’t that debunked like 50 years ago?”

“The author should lead by example,” quipped another.

“The only population growth is the millions of illegal aliens that the Democrats have let into our country,” another user wrote.

“Nice try Xi Jinping,” wrote another Twitter user.

“Yeah because our youth refuse to bring children into an anti American America,” one user suggested.

“[T]he anti-natalists are at it again,” another wrote.

“Is this because 2 million illegal migrants came across our border in 1 year??” asked yet another.

The essay comes as the U.S. population grew last year at the slowest rate in the country’s history and as America faces record-high levels of illegal immigration. 

Last year, President Biden set new records for illegal immigration by enticing more than two million border crossers and illegal aliens to take the often deadly journey through Mexico to the nation’s southern border in the hopes of being released into the U.S.

In January, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was reported to have admitted in private that illegal immigration in President Biden’s first year in office is “worse now than … ever” before in American history.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein


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