Climate change alarmists are alarmed that China’s population has leveled off at 1.4 billion

The New York Times likes to remind us that we’re facing a climate emergency and/or a climate crisis. Our beloved Spaceship Earth has been infested with too many humans, each of whom emits too much CO2. Last week, however, China released stats showing that the population has leveled off at 1.4 billion. The good old days:

Today, however, “China’s Population Falls, Heralding a Demographic Crisis” (NYT):

The world’s most populous country has reached a pivotal moment: China’s population has begun to shrink, after a steady, yearslong decline in its birthrate that experts say is irreversible.

Now, facing a population decline, coupled with a long-running rise in life expectancy, the country is being thrust into a demographic crisis that will have consequences not just for China and its economy but for the world.

The entire world is at risk due to China’s failure to push from 1.4 billion up toward 2.8 billion. Because the planet is in a crisis, “her body her choice” is no longer acceptable. Potentially pregnant people who refuse to do their share will be named and shamed:

“I can’t bear the responsibility for giving birth to a life,” said Luna Zhu, 28, who lives in Beijing with her husband. Both their parents would be willing to take care of grandchildren, and she works for a state-owned enterprise that offers a good maternity leave package. Still, Ms. Zhu is not interested in motherhood.

The news is not all bad. If you’re concerned about eliminating your credit card debt or the availability of a “final expense” insurance policy, phone calls from the subcontinent (with local caller ID) should continue to flood in:

Meanwhile, India’s total population is poised to exceed China’s later this year, according to a recent estimate from the United Nations.

Circling back to the first point… how can people who say that their first concern is a climate emergency also characterize a falling human population anywhere in the world as a “crisis”?

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18 thoughts on “Climate change alarmists are alarmed that China’s population has leveled off at 1.4 billion

  1. Climate crap aside, China is getting old before it gets rich, unlike the developed countries. This has serious economic consequence both in China and elsewhere.

    I suggest paying attention to this guy. He says things I’ve been thinking for years but he is smarter than me and better at explaining:
    https://www.youtube.com/@ZeihanonGeopolitics

    In particular this one about China:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MSV2bh48MA

    I’m reading his recent book:
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09C65JNPF

    • Is it obvious that this is a crisis? The theory is that it is a crisis because old people are economically unproductive? Suppose that you needed to hire a worker for your business. Would you reject a 70-year-old Chinese person in favor of a 60-year-old non-Chinese person? And look at the greatness of American 80-year-olds, e.g., Joe Biden!

    • Old people are not only unproductive, they are an economic drain, especially in the less rich places where they have not accumulated assets to retire on. I suspect it’s a reason China removed all Covid restrictions. It’s a way to get rid of millions of elderly in a hurry. They see the writing on the wall (interesting that so many metaphors are from the Bible or Shakespeare.)

      His bigger point is that globalization is beginning to come to an end as we have known it since WW2. US/Canada/Mexico will suffer the least, compared to most of the rest of the world. It’s a big topic so I’ll stop here. Those interested should check out his Youtube channel.

  2. The world copies whoever is on top & now that’s Elon. Elon says population decline is the biggest existential threat to cover up his polyamorous lifestyle & everyone says it is.

  3. crisis sells. Less China, crisis. Too much China, crisis.

    google also returns these from the NYT,

    “China Is Burning More Coal, a Growing Climate Challenge
    The country’s emissions of greenhouse gases rose last year at the fastest pace in a decade. Beijing is looking for alternatives.
    Published Nov. 3, 2022
    Updated Nov. 10, 2022

    “How China Targets the Global Fish Supply
    By Steven Lee Myers, Agnes Chang, Derek Watkins and Claire Fu
    Sept. 26, 2022

    With its own coastal waters depleted, China has built a global fishing operation unmatched by any other country.

  4. > “I can’t bear the responsibility for giving birth to a life,” said Luna Zhu

    Mouse Utopia comes for China.

  5. You’d think they would be standing and cheering and offer China a New York Times/ Greta Thunberg Medal of Honor.

    I, for one, am glad they’re leveling off. It gives the US a little breather as we do our best to match their population as soon as possible through open borders.

    And for the Party, this could be a great thing in terms of Social Stability: fewer people and an irreversibly slowing birth rate means that there are fewer people to watch all the time. It makes the surveillance more convenient, and older people tire more easily, they don’t fight very well, many of them can’t see well enough to shoot a rifle, and so there’s lots less trouble to be had.

    On the flipside, if it does turn out to be deleterious for China, can’t Xi Jinping just set up a Directorate of Fecundity and launch a Five Year Plan to examine every fertile adult female and determine (taking into account other factors like money) how many extra children each one should have and when, in a kind of staged roll-out? Tell everyone to start playing Naked Twister according to the Directorate’s scheduling? Who is going to stop him?

    I don’t think it’s a crisis! This is an opportunity!

    • Addendum: I admit my ignorance when it comes to China’s internal problems, which I haven’t done a good enough job reading about. However, as an armchair motorcycle enthusiast, I don’t know if China *needs* more people. Recently they seem to be able to produce almost anything that once was the pride of Western countries like the US, at better prices. For example: The price for this bike hasn’t been announced yet (you cannot buy it in the US, only Europe and GB for now) but I’ll bet they undercut other brands by a significant amount. And the motorcycle looks state-of-the-art in every way.

      Do they really need 2.8 billion people? They’re doing a pretty good job with the ones they’ve got. But I have an open mind, I’ll watch randall g’s suggestions.

      https://www.topspeed.com/this-chinese-cruiser-makes-a-laughing-stock-of-the-harley-davidson-iron-883/

    • @Alex I don’t think there is an ideal absolute number of people in China. But there is an ideal demographic distribution of people by age. They are aging more rapidly than any other country on earth, this is probably irreversible, and will result in serious economic trouble for them, and therefore the world.

    • @Alex I like your idea of a Directorate of Fecundity, but it would probably take more time to establish a sizeable younger demographic than they have before SHTF.

    • randall: Regarding “there is an ideal demographic distribution of people by age”… (1) we are informed that diversity makes a country stronger and more cohesive, (2) we are informed that migrants, no matter how low the skill and regardless of ability to speak the native language, make a country richer. Combining points 1 and 2, therefore, couldn’t China simply import migrants, restricted according to age, as necessary to achieve the ideal demographic distribution? China has tightly controlled borders, so it can exclude migrants who wouldn’t get the nation closer to the ideal age pyramid. In order to compete with the U.S. for these lucrative nation-healing migrants, China could offer the same terms as the U.S.: a lifetime of free housing, free health care, free food (SNAP/EBT), and free smartphone (and the offer to extend for multiple generations). Why wouldn’t young people from the world’s poorest and most dysfunctional societies accept that offer, just as they do from the U.S.?

    • @philg Depending on whether the Chinese accept the American immigration axioms, they are either smarter or dumber than us. I’m guessing smarter.

    • Randall: A new question… if the Chinese have an unfavorable age pyramid for few decades, doesn’t that mean that they are likely to eventually swap into a favorable age pyramid? If so, the economic effects of the unfavorability could be dealt with by borrowing during the unfavorable period and paying back during the favorable period (or be like the U.S. and borrow in both bad and good times and never pay anything back!).

    • Corollary: there are only 3 curves in nature – sinusoid, decaying exponential, and S-curve. Eventually populations will follow an S-curve, then maybe a decaying exponential or sinusoid?

  6. With apologies to Steve Shagan, “I think you’re missing the point, we are the Chinese.”

    Just one small example:

    JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. is a leading global manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules and solar panels, with operations in China, the United States, Japan, Germany, and other countries. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of over $5 billion.

    Some of the major institutional investors in JinkoSolar include Black Rock, Vanguard, and JP Morgan.

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