Climate Change

Condom Carbon Credits

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condom tree

In the news today, an Australian medical expert who wants a $5,000 baby tax at birth on families with more than two children and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child.

Hilariously implausible on its own, the plan's finer points are where it really shines:

Professor [Barry] Walters, clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia and the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, called for condoms and "greenhouse-friendly" services such as sterilisation procedures to earn carbon credits.

Me, I'd rather plant a tree.

The plan won praise from high-profile doctor Garry Egger. "One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers," he wrote.

Perhaps such things are only spoken of in whispers so that people like Prof. Walters won't come over and start talking about condom carbon credits, thus causing everyone involved in the discussion to dissolve in helpless hysterical laughter. Just a thought.

NEXT: Is Chris Dodd Only Two Notches Below Ron Paul on Drug Policy?

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  1. Me, I’d rather plant a tree.

    Yes, I’m giggling because I’m 12. Why do you ask?

  2. Maybe im missing something =

    How does taxing people make the earth warm less quickly? Yes, i understand the idea of the “incentive’ for fewer births/less of a carbon footprint… but what do you do with all of the coal burning/gas-emitting people who are already here?

    Wouldnt a mass plague just be more effective? How about, “kill yourself and earn tax breaks for your family?”

  3. “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he wrote.

    Maybe because it has the whiff of the gas chamber about it, to quote Whittaker Chambers?

  4. Oh, I get it. A rubber tree. Good one.

  5. Hey, can I get retroactive credits for being celibate in high school?

  6. can I get a cash payout for each year I don’t reproduce? I’m 36 and have no children. Can we make the payout retroactive to when I hit puberty?

  7. Personally, I’m all in favor of punishing people for having children as long as I have to pay taxes for public schools, daycare, SCHIP, and everything else the little bastards need.

    As for a mass plague, that wouldn’t be effective at all to prevent global warming. Do you know how much carbon is trapped in a carbon-based lifeform? Not to mention, with deaths on that scale, cremation is the only viable answer for disposal. No, think we should tax people for dying. And for using electricity. And gasoline. In fact, anything more than living in a cave and eating rocks should be taxed.

    Wait a minute…

  8. “kill yourself and earn tax breaks for your family?”

    How about adding “Convert to islam,” in front, and “both in this world and the next, not to mention a while bunch of virgins just for your use” at the end.

  9. $5,000 baby tax? No problem….that will be offset by Clinton’s $5,000 baby bond.

  10. “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he wrote.

    I’m sorry, but Godwin’s Law does not apply in this case. The guy is talking about population control via social engineering. That is the very essence of Germany’s solution to the “Jewish Question.”

  11. the Gaunt Man kind of hit on this, but how about just taking away the tax credits / subsidies for having kids? You want kids, fine. You pay for them.

  12. the Gaunt Man kind of hit on this, but how about just taking away the tax credits / subsidies for having kids? You want kids, fine. You pay for them.

    But, but, but… how will we then propogate Christianity!

  13. The global warming hoax is not a joke, if we don’t stand up to it proposals like this are going to seam less and less insane to policymakers.

  14. God Damn Dirty Thirds.

  15. I still dont get how you save the planet by taking people’s money away

  16. “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he wrote.

    Perhaps because prospect of the Total State dictating family composition, issuing procreation licenses, and disposing of the surplus population are among the very few things that will actually make people stop and think that perhaps, on the whole, there are a few things that Our Masters should not control.

  17. What happens if can’t afford the tax? Do they seize the child? Put a lien on it? Shoot one of your other kids?


  18. Perhaps because prospect of the Total State dictating family composition, issuing procreation licenses, and disposing of the surplus population are among the very few things that will actually make people stop and think that perhaps, on the whole, there are a few things that Our Masters should not control.

    QFMFT. The idea of population control and eugenics carried out by the state sends chills down my spine.

  19. In the news today, an Australian medical expert who wants a $5,000 baby tax at birth on families with more than two children and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child.

    Now say, “It’s for the children!” with a straight face.

    “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he (high-profile doctor Garry Egger) wrote.

    From the article: And he implied the Federal Government should ditch the $4133 baby bonus and consider population controls like those in China and India.

    Sort of answers itself.

    Australian medical expert/high-profile doctor Garry Egger

    Ever notice that a medical degree, like Hollywood movie star status, confers the self-awarded title of “expert on everything?”

    “child-rich families”

    Term-of-the-day award.

    I still don’t get how you save the planet by taking people’s money away

    Only people who can’t afford (thus who can’t be forced to pay) the tax could have a third child. Which is pretty much where the birthrate is trending anyway.

  20. In one of Kurt Vonnegut’s books, the Chinese imposed a child-tax, with the amount doubling for each subsequent child.

    The richest man in China had just paid something like $32 million to have his eight child.

  21. What happens if can’t afford the tax? Do they seize the child? Put a lien on it? Shoot one of your other kids?

    Naw, they just cut one of your balls off – or both.

  22. The voters in Australia just threw out their Prime minister and told the new one to sign the Kyoto treaty. So proposals like this one are going to sound more and more normal as time goes by. The Tories in England apparently support rationing of airplane tickets. Can mandatory carpooling, vacation rationing, gasoline rationing, elimination of “excessive” recreational and entertainment events, etc. etc. be far behind?

  23. Australian Family Association spokeswoman Angela Conway said it was ridiculous to blame babies for global warming.

    I think this is the first time I find I am in agreement with an group with the word “Family” in their name

  24. We’ll cut off your Johnson!

  25. Actually, in vacuo, you should get a carbon credit for creating children, as well as contributing to their weight gain, as humans are about 18% carbon by weight and that number is probably even higher in fat tissue.

    Population control has no direct relationship with reducing GHG concentrations and changes in reproductive rates take sufficiently long to manifest in significant changes in the population level that they’re of debateable value for cutting emissions – Australia’s death rate is only 0.756% per year. If you actually have a system where GHG emssions are regulated via cap and trade or tax, the cost will already be internalized, so such a tax would be redundant for limiting GHG emissions and punative to those who reproduce. This sounds like the population control people are just trying to cash in on concerns about global warming to further their own pet cause.

  26. QFMFT. The idea of population control and eugenics carried out by the state sends chills down my spine.

    There is already population control by the state; but reproduction is not restricted so much as it is encouraged by means of various tax subsidies and credits.

    Why is it that second-hand smoke, greenhouse gases, and all the other negative results of just about everything people do are considered to be “externalities” that they must be held accountable for – but not children? Light a cigarette within fifty feet of someone and you’re subjecting them to the risk of cancer and every health calamity known to mankind – but bring another little bastard into the world to reduce everyone’s share of the breathable air and other resources and you get a tax credit.

  27. Hay Nihilist – your album NAGELBETT was awesome!

  28. Creech – I’m glad I live in the last reactionary English-speaking nation left. ‘Cuz all that hang wringing the other English-speaking nations do would chap my hands in a week.

  29. “Why is it that second-hand smoke, greenhouse gases, and all the other negative results of just about everything people do are considered to be “externalities” that they must be held accountable for – but not children? Light a cigarette within fifty feet of someone and you’re subjecting them to the risk of cancer and every health calamity known to mankind – but bring another little bastard into the world to reduce everyone’s share of the breathable air and other resources and you get a tax credit.”

    Is it an externality when said child grows up and pays taxes to support your dumb ass after you are too old to work? Is it an externality when said child grows up to invent something useful? If children and humans in general are such an externality, why not just stop having them all together and let the entire race die off? Or better yet, just start killing live people now and quicken things up a bit?

  30. “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he wrote.

    Perhaps because prospect of the Total State dictating family composition, issuing procreation licenses, and disposing of the surplus population are among the very few things that will actually make people stop and think that perhaps, on the whole, there are a few things that Our Masters should not control.

    R C Dean wins the thread!

  31. But the plan won praise from high-profile doctor Garry Egger. “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he wrote in an MJA response article.

    Maybe because poor people (which would be the hardest hit) also vote, you “high-profile doctor” and miscellaneous nitwit.

    The idea of imposing a tax on babies reeks a lot like class warfare to me: it would surely decrease the number of babies on those populations that cannot afford such a tax, i.e the poor. This is how the greenies think, guys: they are not simple tree-huggers, they are the worst kind of social engineers, not far away from those of the eugenics movement.

  32. So now infants are the new carbon dioxide?

    Wow…just, wow. And people say libertarians are devoid of empathy.

  33. On the other hand, I support population control for reasons that have nothing to do with global warming. We live in a world of finite resources. The fewer people there are competing for those resources, the more each person gets. If the population isn’t voluntarily controlled, war, disease and despotic governements eventually will do the job.

    That said, I’ve got no problem with eliminating government programs that encourage procreation. Hell, catch me on the right day, and I might even support free sterilization for anyone that wants it. But, I’m not about to start overtly taxing children either. I suppose you could say I support child neutral policies.

    Disclaimer: I have one child (she’s awesome!) and a vasectomy.

  34. I think Dr. Walters has been boning too many kangaroos.

  35. The plan won praise from high-profile doctor Garry Egger. “One must wonder why population control is spoken of today only in whispers,” he wrote.

    Same reason we speak of any crazy Orwellian plan in only whispers.

    Oh, by the way, now that Global Warming(tm) is the new religion, isn’t this kind of stuff the next obvious step?

  36. The idea of imposing a tax on babies reeks a lot like class warfare to me: it would surely decrease the number of babies on those populations that cannot afford such a tax, i.e the poor.

    Francisco Torres, they would be exempt, so the tax would be shifted somewhere else.

  37. Hell, catch me on the right day, and I might even support free sterilization for anyone that wants it.

    Psst. New World Dan: We already have it. You can go do it right now. Shall I put you down for next Wednesday?

  38. health calamity known to mankind – but bring another little bastard into the world to reduce everyone’s share of the breathable air and other resources and you get a tax credit.”

    John, we have this little Ponzi Scheme called “Social Security”. If you want yours, you want my “little bastard” to grow up and start producing resources so you can get your flipping cheque. So shut up, eat your tapioca, and be glad my little bastard will be supporting you.

  39. On the other hand, I support population control for reasons that have nothing to do with global warming. We live in a world of finite resources. The fewer people there are competing for those resources, the more each person gets.

    A recent World Bank appraisal — discussed by Ron Bailey here — finds that, of the total wealth of the world, only 4% is found in natural resources. A full 18% is found in physical capital improvements made by those awful people you want to see fewer of. And the 78% balance? That is the people — their educations, their institutions, their innovations, their productivity.

    If the population isn’t voluntarily controlled, war, disease and despotic governements eventually will do the job.

    I am all for voluntary controls on population. In particular, how many children a household has should be entirely within their voluntary control, without encouragement or discouragement from any state actor.

  40. On the other hand, I support population control for reasons that have nothing to do with global warming. We live in a world of finite resources. The fewer people there are competing for those resources, the more each person gets. If the population isn’t voluntarily controlled, war, disease and despotic governements eventually will do the job.

    Sounds logical on the surface, but history demonstrates that the opposite is true.

  41. Gilmore:
    How does taxing people make the earth warm less quickly? Yes, i understand the idea of the “incentive’ for fewer births/less of a carbon footprint…

    We could make the rather direct assumption– the assumption that libertarians make from the start, and liberals make selectively when it benefits them– that any taxation slows down the economy, and as such will slow down global warming. Make further assumptions from here…

  42. Paul, you should learn to read, or least learn to read more carefully.

  43. Personally, I’m all in favor of punishing people for having children as long as I have to pay taxes for public schools, daycare, SCHIP, and everything else the little bastards need.

    As long as you’re willing to forgo any and all government benefits paid for by the taxes of my working children and grandchildren (and everybody else’s — which is to say all productive members of society) when you’re a retired geezer — then it’s a deal.

  44. Shoot one of your other kids?

    The only logical thing to do would be to shoot the family member who has the biggest carbon footprint. Or better yet, bury them alive, to sequester their carbon and avoid outgassing from the bullet.

  45. Is it an externality when said child grows up and pays taxes to support your dumb ass after you are too old to work?

    You mean providing I don’t work myself into an early grave paying taxes to support your little darlings, because you don’t feel like wearing a raincoat when you manage to get lucky, JohnBoy? Maybe if I got to keep my money instead of having it taken away to help pay for the irresponsibilities of others, I could save enough to take care of myself in my old age – that is, if the government and the banking cartels weren’t busy robbing me of the purchasing power of my savings to help finance all the goodies for the ever expanding population. Dumbass!

  46. the innominate one

    I presume you’re referring to “his” disclaimer? Got that. I’m talking about castration.

  47. Or wait, innominate, maybe you’re referring to NWD’s “free sterilization” qualifier. If that’s the case, touche. I didn’t absorb that.

  48. Paul:
    Francisco Torres, they would be exempt [poor people], so the tax would be shifted somewhere else.

    Still have the same problem: privileging one group over another. Besides, giving exemptions to a group would defeat the purpose of the measure.

    I take you find the measure laughable?

    Oh, by the way, now that Global Warming(tm) is the new religion, isn’t this kind of stuff the next obvious step?

    Yep. It’s totally Hayekian: Follows the “Road to Serfdom” to the T.

  49. I have two kids, 1 computer. Probably don’t “need” either. Not sure if I want to give up the computer, though.

  50. On the other hand, I support population control for reasons that have nothing to do with global warming. We live in a world of finite resources. The fewer people there are competing for those resources, the more each person gets.

    Your thinking stems from a misunderstanding of economics: the law of marginal value would make the idea that less people can have more resources somewhat silly. Why would that be important? How many tons of coal do you expect one person to want, or to use? The important thing is the freedom to trade for things – that is how resources get allocated. The less of something there is, the more will its price be, which would encourage people to trade it more or to find cheaper alternatives.

    Bigger populations are a prerequisite for division of labor, which increases productivity, making more goods available to more people. Tiny populations, especially if isolated, would have to produce many goods without specialization, which means having to spend a lot of time to make a lousy shirt (this is why aboriginal tribes do not have much clothing or better housing; they spend much of their time gathering food).

    I do not house such romantic notions of smaller populations in my mind, precisely because the things I enjoy right now exist because there are so many of us.

  51. I take you find the measure laughable?

    Yes, I do find it laughable. But we’ve been here before. And someone (possibly Paul Ehrlich)* made an eerily similar quote, talking about population control being a dirty secret– that we need to take on the subject head on and quit being squeamish about it.

    * too busy to look it up– the innominate one has rightly pointed out that I’m mixing work with my posting. I need to focus on what’s important. So I’ll try to be better about putting work aside when I’m reading the threads.

  52. Paul:

    I was referring to two things:

    New World Dan states he’s already had a vasectomy, so your offer to him is superfluous.

    You bash John for a statement you attribute to him, but is actually John quoting “hardass”.

  53. Why do people who assume humans are such a plague on the earth not set a good example for others and just kill themselves?

    Oh, I remember. Too much carbon release when they decompose. Got it.

  54. innominate:

    Thanks. I was on the first one, and the second was actually a typo. I knew it was hardass, but I read John’s response, and by the time I typed out my response, I had John in my head.

    But like I said, you are correct, I was breezing through too quickly. Criticism accepted. Posting on H&R first, work second. Priorities.

  55. Francisco Torres,

    I do not house such romantic notions of smaller populations in my mind, precisely because the things I enjoy right now exist because there are so many of us.

    This does not mean that the curve does not begin to turn down at some population density in the future. It is unlikely to be a strictly monotonic relationship.

  56. NM

    I think that ultimately, it’s hard to say. It would seem reasonable that it will. But the fantastic and amazing thing about resources is that in a way, most* resources don’t exist as such until human ingenuity is applied to them so that they become useful.

    *water, air of course are examples which appear to be finite in amount and quality. But I dare not speculate how.

  57. This does not mean that the curve does not begin to turn down at some population density in the future. It is unlikely to be a strictly monotonic relationship.

    You cannot apply calculus to what amounts to purposeful action, Neu Mejican: that is the mistake of neoclassical economists. The issue here is choice: people choose, which means that once a resource becomes a certain price, entrepreneurs will offer alternatives, or people change their habits. It would be impossible to predict what will be people’s purchasing choices in the future.

    Also, have you not notices that as people become more richer, they tend to have less children? So the best population control program there could be is actually economic progress, and not coercive actions.

  58. Sorry, that is “richer”, not “more richer”, and its “noticed”, not “notices”.

  59. Paul,

    Even when it comes to water (fresh water, I imagine), the same economic laws apply: if more people demand water, then it simply becomes more expensive, making people use it more rationally. In water-poor areas, for example, the expense of gathering water (in man-hours) makes it rational for people to waste as little of it as possible.

    Even so, higher prices creates incentives for entrepreneurs to device alternatives to current water processing and distribution techniques. For example, there will be a time, once the DAMNED government takes their lousy hands off water distribution, when you will be able to buy treated but non-potable water for your toilet and bath, and drinkable water for yourself and your ice cubes. Right now, totally potable water is irrationally piped to your home to feed all systems, at a fixed rate, courtesy of the “I cannot economically calculate if my life depended on it” politicians.

  60. John

    “Is it an externality when said child grows up and pays taxes to support your dumb ass after you are too old to work? Is it an externality when said child grows up to invent something useful?”

    1. I’ve got a retirement scheme seperate from Social Security – so the little guy doesn’t have to support me. i didn’t ask him to in the first place – that was forced on him by others.

    2. Who do you think is supporting the little brat until he gets old enough to start paying into S/S? It ain’t just his FUCKING parents is it? No, I, who am childless, am shelling out MY hard-earned cash to support someone else’s green-nosed sprog! Education, tax credits, etc, and those getting the largest proportion of my tax money are usually trhe one’s that have children “accidentally”.

    3. The vast majority of us (including, and maybe even especially myself) are just good enough to keep things running along – those that advance civilization are fairly rare. And let;s not forget about those who actively hurt us, from high profile peopple like Hitler, Pol Pot, etc to just your average garden variety psychos that the world is full of. I’m just not willing to pay out to others on the off cnahce that their children will be useful to me.

    4. Why is it that for everydecision *I* make, I must internalize the costs and yet others get to pass them on to me (especially when children are involved)? I just bought an expensive car – no one else is going to help me with the payment. You just had an expensive child – really, what do I care?

    5. I don’t want to tell others how to live or how many children to have, but if I have to keep paying for it I’m going to have to start, if only to protect myself. This applies to children, healthcare, retirement planning, and even now to your purchase of a house.
    Your decisions on these things affect me in a non-minor way thanks to your government’s actions.

  61. Agammamon, you’ve laid out a lot of what pisses people off about libertarians. No, you don’t have to be concerned about the welfare of children, but you should be.
    In short, you are suffering from Sobchak Syndrome. You’re not wrong. You’re just an asshole.

  62. highnumber, you would not believe the erection your post just gave me. I’d be proud to have you as a guest blogger at the Center for Advanced Sarcasm, anytime.

  63. but bring another little bastard into the world to reduce everyone’s share of the breathable air and other resources and you get a tax credit

    People don’t “reduce everyone’s share of the breathable air” for any longer than it takes to exhale. They just add CO2 to make it easier to grow plants.

    We live in a world of finite resources. The fewer people there are competing for those resources, the more each person gets.

    Historically, the more people we have producing stuff from the resources, the more everyone gets.

    If the population isn’t voluntarily controlled, war, disease and despotic governments eventually will do the job.

    Please name one non-despotic government that has a successful policy to “voluntarily” reduce population growth. Note that currently the nations with lower birth rates are the wealthiest ones, where the government is bitching because there aren’t enough babies.

    Even when it comes to water (fresh water, I imagine), the same economic laws apply: if more people demand water, then it simply becomes more expensive, making people use it more rationally.

    See “air” above. No one “uses” water, they simply borrow it for a day or so. The problem isn’t in finding water, it’s cleaning it so we can use it again.

    We use only limited amounts of gray water because it’s cheaper and safer to clean to portability all the water piped to your house than it is to have two piping and delivery systems.

  64. I never said that everyone who takes global warming seriously hates humanity, but everyone who hates humanity takes global warming seriously. (apologies to Ambrose Bierce).

  65. If Global Warming is the new religion and Carbon credits are the new indulgences.

    I really don’t want to know what the new inquisition will look like.

  66. flix,

    Easy to figure out… “Have you ever ridden in an SUV? Yes? BURY HIM AT THE STAKE!”

  67. I assume that’s a fake Dan T, since he usually doesn’t write about his erections, so I’ll take this moment to say, “Bravo, spoofers!” It is so brave AND witty to spoof someone’s handle. Gosh, I wish I had the temerity to pull off such a feat. A-freaking-mazing that you pull that off so often. What’s your secret? Is it a lack of imagination? Lack of intelligence, wit? I eagerly await your answer.

  68. these guys are just crazy

  69. Fracisco Torres,

    become more richer

    Don’t worry, I am from New Mexico, that’s how we say it most of the time ’round here. Really.

    You cannot apply calculus to what amounts to purposeful action, Neu Mejican: that is the mistake of neoclassical economists. …The issue here is choice: people choose, which means that once a resource becomes a certain price, entrepreneurs will offer alternatives, or people change their habits. It would be impossible to predict what will be people’s purchasing choices in the future.

    I predict people will be purchasing food, water, shelter and entertainment. For some of those items, their form is up for innovation/alternatives, for some, not so much.

    I don’t disagree with your general point, it just breaks down at the extremes.

  70. Francisco Torres,

    You may find this is an interesting article, I would think, given your position on things.

    http://3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/12/culture-speeds.html

    “We found very many human genes undergoing selection,” says anthropologist Gregory Cochran of the University of Utah, a member of the team that analyzed the 3.9 million genes showing the most variation. “Most are very recent, so much so that the rate of human evolution over the past few thousand years is far greater than it has been over the past few million years.”

    “We believe that this can be explained by an increase in the strength of selection as people became agriculturalists-a major ecological change-and a vast increase in the number of favorable mutations as agriculture led to increased population size,” he adds.

  71. It appears I suffer from Sobchak Syndrome myself.

  72. That’s rich. So you spoof me. F*ckin’ brilliant.

  73. highnumber | December 11, 2007, 11:00am | #

    I assume that’s a fake Dan T, since he usually doesn’t write about his erections, so I’ll take this moment to say, “Bravo, spoofers!” It is so brave AND witty to spoof someone’s handle. Gosh, I wish I had the temerity to pull off such a feat. A-freaking-mazing that you pull that off so often. What’s your secret? Is it a lack of imagination? Lack of intelligence, wit? I eagerly await your answer.

    But I guess it’s perfectly fine for you and the others to spoof people over at Urkobold, right? Go wash your pussy, fucking hypocrite.

  74. Excuse me?

    Excuse me?!

    Do you have reading comprehension issues?
    Do you think “Edweirdoooo” is you, Edward?
    You’re so vain.

  75. Since I sell condom compacts, http://www.JustInCaseInc.com
    can I collect all the condom credits now? I can save them for a rainy day…shameless self promotion, I know…

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