DAVOS, Switzerland, January 28, 2014 ( – Last week, former United States Vice President Al Gore again blamed overpopulation for what he says are destructive results of climate change. The environmental activist, whose work has been severely criticized in many quarters, was speaking at the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Gore, who has four children of his own, praised the “wonderful work that Bill and Melinda Gates are doing,” saying that “depressing the rate of child mortality, educating girls, empowering women, and making fertility management ubiquitously available so women can choose how many children and the spacing of children, is crucial to the future shape of human civilization.”

The statement is similar to one he made in June 2011, when he said “fertility management” and “lift[ing] child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families” are critical to preventing overpopulation. Last week, he stressed how the population of Africa will be larger than that of India and China by mid-century.


According to Dr. Brian Clowes, Human Life International’s Director of Education and Research, Gore's remarks do not reflect reality. “The overpopulation myth has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, which is a really inconvenient truth for Al Gore and his buddies in Davos. The total fertility rate of nations around the world is in dramatic decline, and economic and social turmoil is on the horizon due to this demographic bomb.”

“Additionally,” said Clowes, “Mr. Gore’s comments reflect the racist roots of the population control movement, historically championed by wealthy elites. Alarmist calls for a reduction in African births so they won’t pollute the environment and cause climate change isn’t a far cry from discussions Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes were having 100 years ago on how to stop poor and ‘unfit’ African women from breeding.”

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While Gore has not endorsed any particular method of “fertility management,” he has been criticized for having opinions in line with supporters of population control and “compulsory sterilization.” For example, John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, wrote positively of coerced abortions to stop the nation's population growth in the 1970s. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said that “at the time Roe (v. Wade) was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of.”

The most famous example of population control is China's “One Child Policy,” which limits the number of children per family to one in most cases.

Gore has also been accused of using his climate change views to personally enrich himself. He is associated with a venture capitalist firm and a non-profit that would each benefit from greater regulation of energy markets.

According to Clowes, solutions to various problems in the world's developing nations do exist – but “fertility management” is not one of them.

“Authentic developmental aid should focus on actually fixing the economic, health, and social problems faced by the world’s poor,” said Clowes, “not on keeping them from being born.”