The downside of population growth

Supporters of population growth make various claims about the benefits of population growth whether derived from natural growth or immigration. These invariably focus on the economic benefits . These are by definition difficult to define dependent on what are included as costs and what are deemed to be benefits. A number of studies have indicated that benefits exceed costs however there are two points here.

1 Are all costs included in the analysis?

2 Other costs.

There is an apparent lack of awareness of other costs. For example a larger population consumes more goods and products and as a result emits more greenhouse gases. The impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate breakdown is well-known – if ignored! Other environmental costs should also be considered. For example the loss of agricultural land for development purposes. There is a real cost here in terms of the impact on food production and the consequent need for higher imports. Then there is the loss of biodiversity as land is developed.

In urban areas further development leads to the loss of open spaces and green areas with the effect of reducing biodiversity and reducing the quality of life for residents. Increased traffic levels also impact on the quality of life of residents.

The whole issue of sustainability is ignored in cost/benefit analyses. It is as if all the research material on sustainability which has emerged over the last twenty years or so had never been produced let alone incorporated into policy making.

Continued population growth is not a credible option!


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