By Hilary White

LONDON, March 25, 2009 ( – One of the British government’s foremost advisors on environmental policies will tell a conference this week that to make Britain “sustainable,” its 60 million-plus population must be reduced by half.

Jonathon Porritt told the London Times this week that he will tell the annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), to be held at the Royal Statistical Society, that in order to reduce “pressure” on the world’s ecosystems, Britain must halve its population to 30 million inhabitants.

“Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”

As a longstanding member of the Green party, and a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, Porritt has become one of the most public faces in the radical environmentalist movement. The son of Lord Porritt, he is one of Britain’s leading advisors to Parliament as well as an advisor to the Prince of Wales.

In June this year, the Optimum Population Trust said that a “voluntary population policy” should be imposed in British law. In 2007, the Trust, reacting to news of a slight increase in the British birth rate, said that the government must institute a two-child policy, similar to that of the People’s Republic of China.

In February Porritt made headlines by saying that British couples who have more than two children are “irresponsible.” He also decried the fact that Britain still has “relatively high levels of pregnancies going to birth.”

Porritt’s population reduction suggestion was supported by Professor Chris Rapley, director of the Science Museum, who will tell the OPT conference that population growth could derail attempts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Rapley told the Times that humanity is emitting the equivalent of 50 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

“We have to cut this by 80%, and population growth is going to make that much harder,” he said.

But a number of media wags have responded to the suggestion of mass population reduction, saying ironically that if Porritt is so enthusiastic, he is welcome to be the first volunteer. Don Surber, a columnist for the Charleston Daily Mail, wrote, “He can go first.”

“This Jonathan Porritt is stuck in 19th century thinking. He said the Britons are worse on the world than people in developing countries. It is a combination of Malthusian logic and white man’s burden that I find amusing.”

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More than Two Children “Irresponsible” Says Top Advisor to British Government