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Sunday, February 1, 2009

The birth rate in Britain is now at its highest for 30 years
Couples who have more than two children are putting an 'irresponsible' burden on the environment, the Government's leading green advisor has warned.

Jonathon Porritt called on ministers to divert money away from curing illnesses towards contraception and abortion services to limit the country's population and help in the fight against global warming.

And he criticised fellow green campaigners for dodging the issue of population growth and its effect on the environment because it is too 'controversial'.

It came as Catholic bishops in England and Wales lambasted environmentalism as an ideology every bit as dangerous as communism.

In a booklet, they say worshippers should be deeply sceptical of claims the green movement makes on global warming.

Mr Porritt, chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, which advises the Government on green matters, said he was due to publish a report in March calling on ministers to reduce population growth through better family planning.

'We still have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe and we still have relatively high levels of pregnancies going to birth, often among women who are not convinced they want to become mothers,' he said.

Britain's population of 61 million is forecast to exceed 70 million by 2028. The birth rate is now at its highest for almost 30 years, largely because immigrant mothers have higher birth rates, and because teenage pregnancy rates are among the highest in Europe.

The UK's abortion rate is already one of the highest in the western world - second only to the United States.

The Optimum Population Trust, a campaign group of which Mr Porritt is a patron, says each baby born in Britain will, during his lifetime, burn the amount of carbon equivalent to two and a half acres of oak woodland - around the size of Trafalgar Square.

Mr Porritt, who has two children himself, added: '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.

'I think we will work our way towards a position that says 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.

'Many organisations think it is not part of their business. My mission with the Friends of the Earths 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".'

A spokeswoman for the Pro-life Alliance said: 'Yet again we hear an expert calling for more contraception and abortion: but our high abortion figures are the fruit of that kind of approach.

'The unpleasant aspect of this statement is the idea that how many children you have should be down to the state. Wherever we have seen such policies being imposed, such as in China, we have seen a preference for male children and a rise in infanticide.'

The views expressed by Mr Porritt came under attack from the Catholic Church, which views contraception as 'intrinsically evil'.

A booklet by the London-based Catholic Truth Society, a charity under the patronage of Peter Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, said there was a proven tendency among the environmental lobby to exaggerate the threat of global warming to exaggerate the threat of global warming to vindicate their calls for radical Government measures to 'forcibly' move the world down a 'sustainable' path.

The book, Global Warming: How Should we Respond, says: 'Just as Marxism advocated Communism as the only solution to the world's ills, so Greens warn us of major catastrophe if we do not adopt their calls for radical change.'

It says the ideology of the Green movement ran counter to Christian beliefs, because it saw 'mankind as just one species among many'.

The book says that population programmes targeting the 'supposedly feckless breeding' of the poor, especially in developing countries, were the result of racist and unfounded prejudices.

'Environmental campaigns which demand that the natural world should be treated with greater respect imply that this is the only issue that matters, ignoring the plight of humanity or any spiritual values,' it said.



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