Don't strive for growth, expert warns Aust

Don't strive for growth, expert warns Aust

Australia should abandon its agricultural ambitions as the effects of climate change worsen, a population expert has warned.

United States biologist Paul Ehrlich - famous for co-authoring controversial 1960s book The Population Bomb - has outlined a self-destructive cycle linked to increasing the size of the human race.

"The more people you have the more greenhouse gases you have," Prof Ehrlich told AAP in Hobart on Thursday.

"And you have to remember that climate change is screwing agriculture."

The theory was particularly relevant in Australia where, despite a vast land mass, there was a comparatively small amount of good soil and an unstable climate, he said.

"(Australia) has desert soils and a desert climate.

"Australia is desperately concerned with becoming a commodities exporter when you should be thinking about becoming a resilient country and taking advantage of fantastic solar and other scientific opportunities."

An outspoken advocate for birth control, Prof Ehrlich describes population growth as the "toxification of the planet".

"Growth is the disease, not the cure ... growth is the enemy," he said.

Prof Ehrlich spoke of the "idiocy" of the Australian and US governments' drive for growth during his lecture at the University of Tasmania on Thursday.