AAP
10.12.2007
Tamara McLean

COUPLES who have more than two children should be charged a lifelong tax to offset their extra offspring’s carbon dioxide emissions, a medical expert says.

The report in an Australian medical journal called for parents to be charged $5000 a head for every child after their second, and an annual tax of up to $800.

And couples who were sterilised would be eligible for carbon credits under the controversial proposal.

Perth specialist Professor Barry Walters was heavily critical of the $4000 baby bonus, saying that paying new parents extra for every baby fuelled more children, more emissions and “greenhouse-unfriendly behaviour”.

Instead, it should be replaced with a “baby levy” in the form of a carbon tax in line with the “polluter pays” principle, he wrote in the latest Medical Journal of Australia.

“Every family choosing to have more than a defined number of children should be charged a carbon tax that would fund the planting of enough trees to offset the carbon cost generated by a new human being,” said Prof Walters, an obstetrician at King Edward Memorial Hospital.

Sustainable Population Australia suggested a maximum of two, he said.

By the same reasoning, contraceptives like diaphragms and condoms, as well as sterilisation procedures, should attract carbon credits, the specialist said.

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