In a recent episode of his Netflix show “Bill Nye Saves the World,” popular TV personality Bill Nye asked guests on his show if, in order to counter climate change, policies to penalize families with “extra kids” should be introduced.
During one segment of the show, Dr. Travis Rieder of the John Hopkins University said that “the average Nigerian emits 0.1 metric tons of carbon annually. How many does the average American emit? Sixteen metric tons.” He furthered his argument, saying that when it comes to climate change, “our two kids are way more problematic” than larger families in developing nations.
Nye asked, “So should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?”
“I do think that we should at least consider it,” Rieder responded.
“At least consider it’ is, like, ‘Do it!’ ” Nye said.
“One of the things that we could do that is kind of least policy-ish is to encourage our culture and our norms to change,” Rieder said.
Neither of the two elaborated what they meant by “extra kids” though.
Dr. Rachel Snow, another guest on the show, and chief of population development at the United Nations Population Fund, responded by saying, “I would take issue with the idea that we do anything to incentivize fewer children or more children.”
“People should have the number of children they want, the timing of children — and if some families have five or six children, God bless them,” she said. “That’s fine. But most people end up with fewer.”
Dr. Nerys Benfield, director of Family Planning at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, N.Y., also remarked that such policies will inexplicably impact minority and poor women.
The Washington Free Beacon has also noted that Rieder has tried to convince students to not have any children in order to prevent climate change and save the planet.
“Maybe we should protect our kids by not having them,” he said during remarks at James Madison University last year, according to NPR.