Much attention has been paid to the ways that people’s home energy use, travel, food choices and other
routine activities affect their emissions of carbon dioxide and, ultimately, their contributions to global
warming. However, the reproductive choices of an individual are rarely incorporated into calculations of
his personal impact on the environment. Here we estimate the extra emissions of fossil carbon dioxide
that an average individual causes when he or she chooses to have children. The summed emissions of a
person’s descendants, weighted by their relatedness to him, may far exceed the lifetime emissions
produced by the original parent. Under current conditions in the United States, for example, each child
adds about 9441 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average female, which is 5.7
times her lifetime emissions. A person’s reproductive choices must be considered along with his day-today
activities when assessing his ultimate impact on the global environment.
Again, my cell phone is [masked] and my email is [masked]
It is on Wednesday, not my usual Tuesdays.