The season finale of pop scientist Bill Nye’s new Netflix show “Bill Nye Saves the World” suggested that the government should punish people who have too many children, for the sake of the environment.
“The average Nigerian emits 0.1 metric tons of carbon annually,” noted Nye’s guest, Dr. Travis Rieder. “How many does the average American emit? Sixteen metric tons.”
Rieder said Americans having an average of two children are “waaaay more problematic” than Nigerians having seven when it comes to preventing global warming.
“Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?” Nye asked.
“I do think we should at least consider it,” Rieder said.
Nye pushed him even further.
“Well, ‘at least consider it’ is like, ‘do it,'” he opined.
The other two guests pushed back, however, pointing out that what Nye and Rieder were proposing came dangerously close to the eugenics policies of America’s past, which ending up disproportionately targeting poor women and minorities.
Rieder, a philosopher with the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, has traveled to colleges trying to convince students not to have children, or at least fewer of them, because “dangerous climate change is going to be happening by then.”