Video: Betsy Hartmann on Climate Change Politics and Overpopulation Propaganda

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The Director of the Population and Development program and Professor of Development Studies at Hampshire College was  interviewed on January 20 by Newsclick India

Thanks to PopDev.

More about Betsy Hartmann


  • I’m not sure I entirely understand where this woman is coming from, or if she really understands the issue; it doesn’t matter if she’s a college professor. I always understood the issue of overpopulation and climate change as a matter of populations skyrocketing while the availability of food decreases, thanks to drought conditions influenced by global warming as well as non-sustainable (read: environmentally harmful) agricultural techniques. It also goes against basic science to suggest that increased populations =/= increased CO2 footprints, especially in India, a country plagued by overpopulation, malnutrition, and devastating privatization of agriculture (devastating for both the environment and working class) . This woman just seems be turned off by the crazies that have latched onto overpopulation as a justification for xenophobia and eugenics, which is very unfortunate. It’s pretty counter-intuitive and bad for the green movement to argue that people (which there are going to A LOT more of in 50 years) aren’t going to go hungry as a result of climate change.

  • As the above video indicates, Hartmann is something of a skeptic about the existence of climate refugees. Here’s an excerpt from a paper she delivered in 2007:

    “I am as worried about climate change as anyone who believes the phenomenon is real and likely to affect disproportionately the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet. I also accept that in some places environmental changes due to global warming could exacerbate already existing economic and political divisions. However, whether or not violent conflict and mass migrations result depends on so many other factors that it is far too simplistic to see climate change as a major cause or trigger.”