Every now and then you pick up someone saying something so extreme that you wonder what on earth got into them. Someone else  has collected a bunch of them, which I repeat here without further comment (that comes at the end).

My three goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.
David Foreman, co-founder of Earth First

A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.      Ted Turner, Founder of CNN and major UN donor

The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.
Jeremy Rifkin, Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.                                                                                                                                                                              Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies author of Population Bomb, Ecoscience

The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.                                                                                                                                                                  Sir James Lovelock, BBC Interview

We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports

Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.                                                                                                Sir John Houghton, first chairman of the IPCC

It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.                                                        Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace

Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.                                                                                       David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club

We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.
Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation

No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.                                                                            Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment

The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.                                                                                                                                                          Emeritus Professor Daniel Botkin

Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?
Maurice Strong, Founder of the UN Environmental Program

A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.
Paul Ehrlich

If I were reincarnated I would wish to return to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.                                                                                                                                                                        Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, Patron of the Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation

The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third world countries right where they are.                                                                            Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.                                                                                                                               Professor Maurice King

Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.            Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.                                                                                                                                                                       Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute

I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.                                                                                                                                                                  John Davis, Editor of Earth First! Journal

My first comment is that none of these statements came with an immediately attributable source. I’m sure that the Stephen Schneider quote is right, because I can recall seeing it in its source. Prince Phillip’s is well known, as are those of Paul Ehrlich. My second is that there is no context for nearly all of them. Again, Schneider’s came in the context of a paper about choices, and he didn’t say where he found the balance. Prince Phillip may have been cracking a joke, because he does like to.

But I thought I’d better try and track those quotes down. It’s not at all easy. Take the Sir John Houghton one, which I’ve certainly seen before. According to the Wikipedia entry on him, the correct quote runs as follows: If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident. So the apparent quote is a paraphrase — punchier, certainly, but it’s not what he actually said, and doesn’t deserve the inverted commas.

Same with the Maurice King quote. I can’t find that he actually said the words given, but he certainly said words like them, and he has certainly outraged people with his comments about the need for the one-child family. Another paraphrase.

I checked them all out. Of the twenty, only five are apparently accurate, true quotes. Another five are possibly accurate, but without access to a good library to check out the references to books (three of them to the one book, which is a bit of a worry), I can’t be sure. The rest are confections, paraphrases from more than one source (as in the Christine Stewart example), or misquotations, as in the cases of Botkin and Strong, where the implication is that the ideas are those of the named person but were hypothetical or about third parties. I couldn’t find any authentic source at all for the Foreman quote. When I see inverted commas I expect that the quoted words are honestly offered. Most of these failed that test.

On the other hand, after doing all this work, I would have to say that the general ideas set out in these excerpts are certainly ‘consistent’ with what these people have been saying elsewhere. And there are two implications, obvious to all, I would think.

First, there is very little about climate science, global warming or saving the environment. Climate change appears to be an instrument to other ends.

Second, there is a lot of hidden anger there about human beings, and again, not obviously because those expressing these notions are desperate to save other species.

It makes you think. Where did all this come from? But it makes me cross that some people think it’s OK to invent quotes, even where the quote is ‘consistent’ with what the supposed speaker has said in the past. We don’t need this kind of stuff.

As a postcript, I could find dozens more of these statements on the web — one site alone had 400. And there are useful debunking sites, too. Truly, the Internet is a wonderful resource. But you do need to check material out.


Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Walter Starck says:

    Two things in common stand out in these quotes. They are profoundly misanthropic and they stem from urban non-producers, people who profess a deep concern for nature but whose own chosen habitat is the tiny portion of the world where nature has been virtually annihilated. Ironically, if what they profess to want were implemented almost certainly their most valuable contribution to it would be as compost.

    • PeterE says:

      Perhaps all those of them seeking a reduced population should be provided with a private room and a loaded revolver. Just a thought.

  • John Morland says:

    And we know about the “dragon’s breath” in Julian Cribb’s recent article in the Canberra Times….

  • Mike says:

    Don your language of the extreme as Walter Stark said that they are quite misanthropic. In recent times I have been researching for overall logic for what the environmentalist really wants. My problem is that despite what is asked for there are many things that are just not consistent. For instance the Australian Greens argue that we must stop fossil fuel use because the admissions of CO2 will cause the earth to greatly warm and that will be detrimental to human life. I think there would be a large number of Greens do understand that what Australia might do in the reduction of CO2 will have any undetectable effect.

    Likewise advocating that we build wind farms to reduce our emissions is also probably understood to make not much difference on emissions. There is a solution however that would reduce effectively and replace significant amounts of fossil fuel power generation. That is nuclear power in fact is the only technology that could possibly reduce emissions. But the environmentalist and the Greens party are absolutely totally opposed. This is not a very consistent logical viewpoint.

    I would argue on the other hand that in fact it is consistent logical viewpoint but the premises they say they are working from our something else. If you look for what entails deep ecology you will find that those that espouse this offer a ecological view that explains their actions. It’s not about omissions is about destruction of human society.

    • David says:

      “I think there would be a large number of Greens do understand that what Australia might do in the reduction of CO2 will have any undetectable effect.”

      Mike I assume you mean “… any detectable effect”

      Anyway that argument is silly. A small effect is not the same as zero effect.

      If Australia accounts for 1% of world’s GDP then we will be able to affect a 1% reduction in the required CO2 emissions.

      • Mike says:

        Hmmm Australia could reduce our contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere by 1%. Currently it is around 1.4% so we need to drop it to .4%. You just need to bump off about 14 million Australians.

          • David says:

            Just so you know Mike what you describe is a 71% decease.

            (1/1.4 )* 100 = 71%

          • Mike says:

            I thought someone that is concerned with omissions would be concerned about the whole atmosphere not just the little bit that is over Australia. The main greenhouse gas CO2 has increased by about 90 ppm since 1960. If we assume humans are responsible this has many do then Australia has contributed 1.26 ppm over the same period. That is .0233 ppm per annum over the last 54 years. I did not realise you are in fact seem to mean 1% of that. That is .01764 ppm over the last 54 years or should I say .000327 ppm per annum I am surprised you think that would actually do anything.

            As I understand it green thinking is that only renewable energy is an answer for our energy needs I won’t go into it but that is wholly ineffective to reduce emissions fundamentally because it is intermittent and we need stable energy. If you read green literature are constantly come back to the theme we need to reduce our population. Given their solutions they are right that is the only way we will reduce emissions and maintain the same living standard.

            My estimate to reduce our missions so that we contribute only 0.4% that is a drop of 1% on our contribution is to reduce our population by about 14 million. Paul Watson above said “Curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach”. Paul Watson Sea Shepard Conservation Society.

  • Davif says:


    All these comments could loosely be described as “loony left” or “green extremist”. It would be easy to find an equivalent set of quotes for the far right.

    Whats your point?

    • Don Aitkin says:

      See First and Second at the end of the essay. I’m not much into conspiracies (I prefer stuff-ups or incompetence), but there is a steady theme in all this. And if they are the loony left, why to do they get so much respectful attention?

  • DaveW says:

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on how most of these quotes and paraphrases reflect the ideology of Eugenics. Before Hitler made Eugenics a dirty word, you could find very similar ideas – i.e. that the world has too many inferior people mucking things up for we better people – being espoused by many Western ‘public intellectuals’ (and many scientists of the genetics persuasion). The cloak of environmentalism isn’t that new either: very much a part of the National Socialist Workers Party view of a pure Germany, the ‘blood and soil’ mystic.

    • Mike says:

      Eugenics aim was to improve the human species by eliminating the unworthy from the breeding pool was it not? The core of the Green movement wants us to die.

      “Ecocentric ethics that value Earth and its evolved systems over species, condemns the social acceptance of unlimited human fecundity. Present need to reduce numbers is greatest in wealthy countries where per capita use of energy and Earth materials is highest. A reasonable objective is the reduction to population levels as they were before the widespread use of fossil fuels; that is, to one billion or less” . http://www.ecospherics.net/pages/EarthManifesto.html

      That is a reduction of around six billion. These people want an end to modern civilisation that is the direction their actions indicate. It is not about emissions or AGW we are deluded to think so.

      • DaveW says:

        Hi Mike,
        Unfortunately, if you do some background reading on the rise of ecology, environmentalism and eugenics, you will find that they have often been intertwined. For example, Ernst Haeckel, who coined the word and concept of ecology, was deeply involved in racist ideology and eugenics. Current eco-extremism is mostly a continuation of a long tradition of hating those not part of the ‘folk’ and wishing to do something about them.

        Modern ‘ecofascists’ may be less racist than the pre-WWII promoters of eugenics, but when they say they want to eliminate 6 billion, they don’t mean themselves. Unstated, but understood is that their final solution does not include themselves or their followers. So, Phillip Mountbatten may wish to return as a killer virus, but last time I looked at the newspaper it seemed he had a number of children and grandchildren. David Brower had four children. Maurice King, before he started harping on one-chlid families and suspending public health programs to increase childhood mortality, had already had two children.

        The exemption for the elite extends to energy use and the other perks of modern life: they just don’t want the Untermensch to enjoy them. For example, Maurice Strong became rich and powerful exploiting oil and gas resources and does not live in energy poverty. The rest speak for themselves from their positions of wealth and power. Possibly the Earth First wackos live closer to their professed ideals but, although they may try to blow each other up now and then, I don’t see any of them following their philosophy to its natural conclusion.

  • Gus says:

    What a collection! Every one of these eco-fascist warm-mongers dreams about committing crimes against humanity. This alone should be enough to make you deeply suspicious of CAGW.

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