It is often remarked that the significant drivers of climate change include not only high and rising levels of fossil fuel use per person, but also high and rising human population size. The logic behind this remark appears at first sight to be simple: climate change is driven by emissions, and total emissions are equal to per-capita emissions multiplied by population, so of course (one might think) higher population will lead to more climate change. I will argue that given a proper understanding of the physics of climate change, this simple argument is flawed. High population may indeed be damaging for reasons related to climate change, but if so, the reasons for this are more subtle; I will outline what they might be.
About the speaker
Prof Greaves’ current research focusses on various issues in ethics and include: Foundational issues in consequentialism, issues of aggregation, population ethics, effective altruism, the interface between ethics and economics, the analogies between ethics and epistemology, and formal epistemology.