Think you know your carbon legacy? Think again, say researchers in Oregon; you're not only responsible for your own mess, but the mess of your offspring, as well. The argument against procreation starts here.

Paul Murtaugh, a statistician at Corvallis' Oregon State University, claims that our carbon legacy isn't just limited to our own emissions, but 50% of our children's (The other parent gets the other 50%). And 25% of their children's, and so on, and so on. He arrived at this estimate using math:

Murtaugh used UN population projections, which say that after 2050, birth rates in all countries will be 1.85 children per woman, on average. Then he took three emissions futures: rising business-as-usual emissions, constant emissions, and "save-the-planet" levels that fall to half a tonne of CO2 per capita per year by 2100.

With rising future emissions, each extra child in the US would eventually result in eight times the lifetime carbon footprint of the average US resident today. Even with constant per-capita emissions, it's nearly six times - or nearly 10,000 tonnes of CO2.

So there you have it: It's more socially responsible not to have children. Suck on that, parents.


Children come with a high carbon cost [New Scientist]