Saturday, November 03, 2012

Moving To The City: Not The Answer To Climate Change

...contra this.

You want to fight climate change, have fewer children.

If you want to move to the city, then more power to you; and perhaps the evidence will continue to show that that's better than the suburbs. But the urban-density worshipers need to recognize that moving to the city is not the most effective thing we can do...and that many of us would be miserable in dense cities. Hey, look, if it's all the same to you, then maybe you should move to the city. But it's not worth it if it's going to make you terribly unhappy. Most of the folks pushing the gospel of density, of course, would be perfectly happy in big cities; and God bless 'em for it. But that's certainly not how I'll be living (despite the fact that I happen to live in the middle of a smallish city right now). But, then, since I won't be having kids, I basically get to do whatever I want, and my distal carbon footprint will always be smaller than someone's who has kids.

Of course the same point can be made about having kids: it's really important to some people. If you really want children, then you'll want to adjust your carbon footprint down in other ways. I mean, there's no longer any reasonable defense of, say, having four children. But I expect that what most people really want is at least one child. And if we could move more toward one- and two-child families, we'd make real progress on this thing. (We also need to adjust immigration down a bit...but that position is toxic to liberals right now, so it's best ignored I expect...)

Anyway, the real point here is that we all make choices, and some are more consequential in this respect than others. It's starting to look like we'd be better off if more folks moved from the suburbs to the city...but there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem.


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