- Elon Musk again advocated for higher birth rates, saying otherwise we’ll all “end up in adult diapers.”
- He claimed without evidence that the environment can support it “even if we double the size” of the world’s population.
- Experts have pointed to other factors causing declining birth rates.
Elon Musk argued on Monday that it’s “totally absurd” for people not to have children because it’s bad for the environment, and he made another attempt to get people to have more children to prevent the collapse of civilization.
“Some people think that having fewer children is better for the environment. It’s complete nonsense. The environment is going to be fine, the environment is going to be fine even if we double the size of humans,” Tesla CEO said to the closed -All-In Summit door via video call on Monday.
“Let’s at least keep our numbers,” he said. “We don’t necessarily need to grow dramatically, but at least let’s not gradually decline until civilization ends us all in adult diapers, in a whimper.”
Musk provided no evidence to support his claims. Swedish researchers in 2017 found that having one fewer child per family could reduce carbon emissions by about 58.6 metric tons each year in developed countries, CNBC reported. However, other experts said that a change in lifestyle and an aggravating change in policies in favor of the climate could have a greater impact on the environment than not having children, Vox reported.
Musk also claimed that if people didn’t have children, humanity would collapse in on itself.
Musk has previously raised concerns about global birth rates. In December, he warned that “civilization will collapse” if people don’t have enough children. He expanded on that argument last week by claiming that Japan could “cease to exist” because its birth rate was declining.
While birth rates in some countries are falling, the UN’s 2019 World Population Prospects report, the most recent edition, estimated that the global population could reach 9.7 billion in 2050, from 7.7 billion in 2019.
But it’s not uncommon to see birth rates drop during economic downturns, as Insider previously reported. The high cost of living in the US, for example, has also led many millennial Americans to put off having babies. In the case of Japan, people have blamed the high cost of having children, restrictive immigration policies and gender inequality for its declining population.
Many people have also cited the environmental impacts of overpopulation as a reason not to have children. In 2019, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said those concerns were driving some to not want children or to have fewer babies so there would be less pressure on the environment.