A report recently issued in China calls on the US to face up to its population responsibilities and accept binding targets in the fight against run-away global population growth. China says that having unilaterally taken on its own binding target more than 25 years ago it is now time for richer countries to join efforts to keep total population at safe levels within the Earth’s carrying capacity. The US and other developed nations of course see the situation differently and take the view that as all rapid population growth is taking place in developing countries, it is surely those countries that should have most responsibility for implementing population control targets.
The report also criticises the existing voluntary trading measures already in place in many developed countries. The voluntary international adoption market has taken off in recent years but has variously been condemned as both neo-colonial exploitation and a publicity vehicle for celebrities. The market has been described as essentially a means of paying people in developing countries to reduce population whilst allowing increases back at home. This established technique is known to be widely favoured in the West because of celebrity and media endorsement, but it has come under fire because it represents only a transfer of population and not a sustained reduction in growth. Green groups have attacked the voluntary population offsetting market as unsustainable with some suggesting that since videoconferencing has proven to be an effective means of reducing the need for business travel, the principle could also be successfully applied to interaction with adopted children in overseas countries.
The debate continues.