We often see this graph quoted as proof that overpopulation is not an issue- that it’s the “over-consumption” of the rich which is the one and only problem. The argument then goes that the overpopulation claim is just a way for “rich” over-consumers to blame the poor for climate change.
I can assure those who follow this tenuous line of thought that this is not about blame, that’s schoolyard stuff, not fit to be raised in serious debate. This is about the very real issue of overpopulation which must be addressed using ecological science, logic and mathematics. Accurate population information has to be a major part of the holistic response set we pursue in tackling the looming ecological catastrophe, which now threatens to undermine everything we have achieved.
So let’s take a look at this over-consuming 10%. The bottom end of that top 10% earn only around 40K USD pa which hardly makes them “greedy over-consumers”. Perhaps better to describe them as living at the baseline consumption level for a reasonable quality of life.
So if you take that point on the chart as the baseline, and if you want a more equitable world, bring everyone above that baseline down to that level, & everyone below that baseline up to that level. A quick glance will confirm that the net result is a massive increase in emissions due entirely to the number of people living their lives at that level.
Whatever the safe global emission levels are determined to be (& this holds true for all resource/ecological impacts), that level must be divided by the number of people seeking a share.
In an equitable and finite world, it’s an inescapable mathematical fact that the more there are, the less for each. So when it comes to population, less certainly equals more, and more… less.
The inescapable conclusion is that those who deny the overpopulation issue, are actually inflicting most harm on those they think they are representing, those who deserve more, but will never get it, due to the ecological impossibility of delivering a good life, to 8 billion human beings, on a finite earth.
Overpopulation locks billions into poverty with no hope for a better future.