Retired Professor: Having “One Less Child” would be Good for the Earth

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An emeritus professor of the University of Washington made a claim that in order to combat climate change, it would be best to have “one less child” to limit carbon emissions. Per his University of Washington biography, Stephen Warren’s research interests are solar radiation process and Antarctic climate, and he has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University.

The Seattle Times, the major newspaper in Seattle, Washington, published Warren’s letter to the editor which contained his remark about having less children. Warren’s letter was a response to an earlier article on climate change.

Warren, responding to a Seattle Times columnist who said “there’s probably nothing worse we can do on an individual basis than take an intercontinental flight,” said, “Actually, there is something worse…[h]aving a child.” Warren continued, “By choosing to reproduce, you’re responsible for some fraction of the carbon-dioxide emissions of your children and grandchildren, and all their descendants. This is your ‘carbon legacy.’” He also suggested that one child is equal to 2,700 round-trip flights from Seattle to Europe.

In other words, Warren believes that having a child does more damage to the planet than an intercontinental flight and says he has research to back his claim. Warren is not the first, nor is he the last, to suggest childbearing and childrearing damages the earth and therefore, people should not have children in order to save the planet.