So where does this leave population offsets? Akin to childcatching? The Optimum Population Trust is running a Population Offset scheme to clear the consciences of people who want to fly by allowing them to contribute to population reduction in developing countries.
The theory is that reducing the population will reduce the impact of people on the planet - a fairly straightforward statement so far, if a little unpalletable. The concept then goes on to suggest that this can be acheived by promoting reproductive health programmes where women don't currently have access to them - again, fairly straightforward and this part is worthwhile:
- "We use all donated funds less minimal/unavoidable costs for directly supporting family planning and wider reproductive health programs, and sex and relationships education to help to meet, in particualr, the needs of over 200 million women worldwide who do not have access to family planning."
Having a scheme that lets us get away with keeping the status quo is as bizarre as it is dangerous, but this scheme is even more dangerous as it will have an even bigger impact if it fails. Giving people a conscience easing solution will let them keep their heads in the sand. Of course if you really want to reduce the population globally, focussing reductions on poorer nations then the thing to do is to keep flying, buy the Hummer, get a couple more patio heaters, open the doors and windows in winter and emit as much CO2 as you can.
It is the poorer people that are suffering the most. Forget the recent anoyance of the snow in the UK, forget the current disruption in the US and Russia - drought, storms and rising sea levels will reduce the population much more quickly than a family planning programme ever could.
Not quite childcatching then, but a whole lot worse.