"The long-feared “population bomb” may not go off, according to the authors of
a new report that estimates that human numbers will peak lower and sooner than
The study, commissioned by the Club of Rome, projects that on current trends
the world population will reach a high of 8.8 billion before the middle of the
century, then decline rapidly. The peak could come earlier still if governments
take progressive steps to raise average incomes and education levels.
The new forecasts are good news for the global environment. Once the
demographic bulge is overcome, pressure on nature and the climate should start
to ease, along with associated social and political tensions.
But the authors caution that falling birthrates alone will not solve the
planet’s environmental problems, which are already serious at the 8 billion
level and are primarily caused by the excess consumption of a wealthy minority.
Declining populations can also create new problems, such as a shrinking
workforce and greater stress on healthcare associated with an ageing society,
as countries like Japan and South Korea are finding.
One of the authors of the report, Ben Callegari, said the findings were cause
for optimism – but there was a catch. “This gives us evidence to believe the
population bomb won’t go off, but we still face significant challenges from an
environmental perspective. We need a lot of effort to address the current
development paradigm of overconsumption and overproduction, which are bigger
problems than population.”"
Via Kevin O'Brien.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics