At least one GOP senator believes that to fight climate change, all you need is love.
During floor debate ahead of a vote on the Green New Deal, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told his colleagues that if they really want to address environmental concerns they’ll encourage people to couple off and have more babies.
“Climate change . . . is a challenge of creativity, ingenuity and technological invention,” Lee said. “And problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws, but by more humans. More people mean bigger markets for innovation. More babies mean more forward-looking adults — the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems.”
This recommendation, to add more people to the planet, doesn’t track with science or reason. A 2017 research article determined that one way an individual could contribute to eliminating greenhouse gases is to have one fewer child.
“A U.S. family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives,” the researchers wrote in an article published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
Lee was not advocating for a global baby boom, but specified that it’s the birth of more American children who will lead to climate change solutions.
“American babies, in particular, are likely going to be wealthier, better educated, and more conservation-minded than children raised in still-industrializing regions,” Lee said.
Actually, the smartest high school students are consistently located outside of the United States. In fact, in a 2015 study, U.S. students ranked 38th of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Finland led the rankings.
But according to Lee, rather than worry about plastic straws and carbon emissions, Americans should just go out and find themselves a mate.
“The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution, but the serious business of human flourishing,” Lee said. “The solution to so many of our problems, at all times and in all places: fall in love, get married and have some kids.”