A planetary law, such as China's one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.
Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world's leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.
The intelligence behind this is the following:
-If only one child per female was born as of now, the world's population would drop from its current 6.5 billion to 5.5 billion by 2050, according to a study done for scientific academy Vienna Institute of Demography.
-By 2075, there would be 3.43 billion humans on the planet. This would have immediate positive effects on the world's forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.
-Doing nothing, by contrast, will result in an unsustainable population of nine billion by 2050.
The fix is simple. It's dramatic. And yet the world's leaders don't even have this on their agenda in Copenhagen. Instead there will be photo ops, posturing, optics, blah-blah-blah about climate science and climate fraud, announcements of giant wind farms, then cap-and-trade subsidies.
None will work unless a China one-child policy is imposed. Unfortunately, there are powerful opponents. Leaders of the world's big fundamentalist religions preach in favor of procreation and fiercely oppose birth control. And most political leaders in emerging economies perpetuate a disastrous Catch-22: Many children (i. e. sons) stave off hardship in the absence of a social safety net or economic development, which, in turn, prevents protections or development.
These Malthusian catastrophe scenarios, which envision populations expanding exponentially while the resources to support them don't, have been discredited so many times that few scientists today take them seriously. The fact is that, as I often chronicle on this blog, advances in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and solar energy production will solve the next Malthusian resource crisis just as surely as fertilizer solved the last one. They will do so by making physical resources (and not just information technology) subject to Moore's Law. Thus, by the end of this century, the world will be able to easily sustain populations double or triple those about which Ms. Francis worries, though it almost certainly won't have to do so (since population growth naturally subsides with prosperity).
On the other hand, declining populations and failure to expand prosperity would be disastrous for the world's economy and environment, as people like Harry Dent often note and as politicians in Japan, Russia, Italy and any undeveloped country already realize.
Thus, the solution to the problems about which Ms. Francis worries lies in more innovation, more technology, more industrialization, more prosperity, more people with plumbing and cars, and yes...more people to make all of these things happen sooner. Her fascist, luddite proposals will only lead to more misery and environmental degradation, not less--always has and always will.
UPDATE:> Maurice Vellacott responds to Diane Francis' fascist idea, making many of the same point I do above, only with more particularity.
UPDATE2:> Diane Francis is mother of two. Geez.