Limit your family to two children, says green expert

Don't underestimate the carbon footprint of families with more than two children

Couples who choose to expand their brood beyond two children are being ‘irresponsible’, putting unnecessary pressure on the ailing environment, an eco adviser for the government has claimed.

If we are to combat global warming, the population must be capped through wider use of contraception and in some cases, abortion, according to Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission.

A commission report will be delivered next month, highlighting the need for governments to reduce the population growth by offering improved family planning.

Porritt said of the new claim: ‘I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate.’

He added: ‘I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. It is the ghost at the table. We have all these big issues that everybody is looking at and then you don’t really hear anyone say the ‘p’ word.’

According to the Optimum Population Trust, in its life time a British baby will burn carbon about the equivalent to 2.5 acres of old-growth oak woodland – the same as Trafalgar Square in London.

According to statistics, the UK population, which stands at 61m, will rise to over 70m by 2028.

Porritt has two children himself and plans to lobby environmental groups to campaign on population as a key area.

‘Many organisations think it is not part of their business. My mission with the Friends of the Earth and the Greenpeaces of this world is to say: “You are betraying the interests of your members by refusing to address population issues and you are doing it for the wrong reasons because you think it is too controversial,”‘ he said.

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