Mr. Walters wants to follow reproductive role model nations like China, because "every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions for an average of 80 years, not simply by breathing but by the profligate consumption of resources typical of our society." What, do Australian kids fart a lot?
I wonder if he's familiar with TFR - Total Fertility Rate. This is a measure of how successfully a nation is replacing its population. If the average woman has 2.1 children (2 to replace her and her husband, and 0.1 to replace the fraction of infertile or celibate women and women who die before having the opportunity to have babies) then the country's population will grow; if any less, it will shrink.
So one must assume that comments from such a learned individual imply that Australia is well over the 2.1 mark. Not so. As of 2005, they were hovering around 1.70, and aren't projected to climb back to 2.1 for the foreseeable future. Were it not for immigration, their population would be shrinking (look about halfway down that page and imagine what the graph would look like if the immigration number was 0 for each series). Much like Canada - we're less than 1.50. Britain? 1.60. France? 1.89. Italy, Germany, Spain? 1.23, 1.35, 1.15 respectively. What about the US of A? They're at a solid 2.11, the best rate in the Western world. This is one of the prime reasons why America continues to dominate on the world stage.
I get so tired of these talking heads who see children only as an expense on society. If, as Mr. Walters claims, a child does nothing but consume oxygen and resources, producing nothing but CO2 for the duration of his life, then I could see where he was coming from. But the child is solely a consumer for only the first 20 years or so, at which point he becomes a productive contributor to society. So when we have more kids, sure we have some short-term pain in regards to forking over the dough for the investments in the future they represent, but in the long run it pays off big-time.
If I felt like it, I could continue to crunch numbers for you (because I know how much my readers like math!) and prove economically that it's a better idea to have more children than fewer, but the argument should not hinge on economics. We must realize as a species that the mystery of new life is too amazing to pass up; we participate in God's creative design for the universe when we bring a new baby into the world, and to de-mystify the glory of this with mere money would be shameful.
This is what Mr. Walters has done. Fortunately, others have already put him in his place:
Australian Family Association spokeswoman Angela Conway said it was ridiculous to blame babies for global warming.
"I think self-important professors with silly ideas should have to pay carbon tax for all the hot air they create," she said. "There's masses of evidence to say that child-rich families have much lower resource consumption per head than other styles of households.