Bjorn, associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, directs the Copenhagen Consensus Center, “A Roadmap for the Planet,” http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/06/12/bjorn-lomborg-explains-how-to-save-the-planet.html#
Climate alarmists and campaigning environmentalists argue that the industrialized countries of the world have made sizable withdrawals on nature’s fixed allowance, and unless we change our ways, and soon, we are doomed to an abrupt end. Take the recent proclamation from the United Nations Environment Program, which argued that governments should dramatically cut back on the use of resources. The mantra has become commonplace: our current way of living is selfish and unsustainable. We are wrecking the world. We are gobbling up the last resources. We are cutting down the rainforest. We are polluting the water. We are polluting the air. We are killing plants and animals, destroying the ozone layer, burning the world through our addiction to fossil fuels, and leaving a devastated planet for future generations.
In other words, humanity is doomed.
It is a compelling story, no doubt. It is also fundamentally wrong, and the consequences are severe. Tragically, exaggerated environmental worries—and the willingness of so many to believe them—could ultimately prevent us from finding smarter ways to actually help our planet and ensure the health of the environment for future generations.
Because, our fears notwithstanding, we actually get smarter. Although Westerners were once reliant on whale oil for lighting, we never actually ran out of whales. Why? High demand and rising prices for whale oil spurred a search for and investment in the 19th-century version of alternative energy. First, kerosene from petroleum replaced whale oil. We didn’t run out of kerosene, either: electricity supplanted it because it was a superior way to light our planet.
For generations, we have consistently underestimated our capacity for innovation. There was a time when we worried that all of London would be covered with horse manure because of the increasing use of horse-drawn carriages. Thanks to the invention of the car, London has 7 million inhabitants today. Dung disaster averted.
In fact, would-be catastrophes have regularly been pushed aside throughout human history, and so often because of innovation and technological development. We never just continue to do the same old thing. We innovate and avoid the anticipated problems.
Think of the whales, and then think of the debate over cutting emissions today. Instead of singlemindedly trying to force people to do without carbon-emitting fuels, we must recognize that we won’t make any real progress in cutting CO2 emissions until we can create affordable, efficient alternatives. We are far from that point today: much-hyped technologies such as wind and solar energy remain very expensive and inefficient compared with cheap fossil fuels. Globally, wind provides just 0.3 percent of our energy, and solar a minuscule 0.1 percent. Current technology is so inefficient that, to take just one example, if we were serious about wind power, we would have to blanket most countries with wind turbines to generate enough energy for everybody, and we would still have the massive problem of storage. We don’t know what to do when the wind doesn’t blow.
Making the necessary breakthroughs will require mass improvements across many technologies. The sustainable response to global warming, then, is one that sees us get much more serious about investment into alternative-energy research and development. This has a much greater likelihood of leaving future generations at least the same opportunities as we have today.
Because what, exactly, is sustainability? Fourteen years ago, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development report “Our Common Future,” chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, provided the most-quoted definition. Sustainable development “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The measure of success, then, is whether or not we give future generations the same opportunities that we have had.
This prompts the question: have we lived unsustainably in the past?
In fact, by almost any measure, humans have left a legacy of increased opportunity for their descendants. And this is true not just for the rich world but also for developing countries. In the last couple of hundred years we have become much richer than in all previous history. Available production per capita—the amount that an average individual can consume—increased eightfold between 1800 and 2000. In the past six decades, poverty has fallen more than in the previous 500 years. This decade alone, China will by itself lift 200 million individuals out of poverty. While one in every two people in the developing world was poor just 25 years ago, today it is one in four. Although much remains to be done, developing countries have become much more affluent, with a fivefold increase in real per capita income between 1950 and today.
But it’s not just about money. The world has generally become a much better educated place, too. Illiteracy in the developing world has fallen from about 75 percent for the people born in the early part of the 1900s to about 12 percent among the young of today. More and more people have gained access to clean water and sanitation, improving health and income. And according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the percentage of undernourished people in the developing world has dropped from more than 50 percent in 1950 to 16 percent today.
As humans have become richer and more educated, we have been able to enjoy more leisure time. In most developed countries, where there are available data, yearly working hours have fallen drastically since the end of the 19th century: today we work only about half as much as we did then. Over the last 30 years or so, total free time for men and women has increased, thanks to reductions in workload and housework. Globally, life expectancy today is 69. Compare this with an average life span of 52 in 1960, or of about 30 in 1900. Advances in public health and technological innovation have dramatically lengthened our lives.
We have consistently achieved these remarkable developments by focusing on technological innovation and investment designed to create a richer future. And while major challenges remain, the future appears to hold great promise, too. The U.N. estimates that over this century, the planet’s human inhabitants will become 14 times richer and the average person in the developing world a whopping 24 times richer. By the end of the century, the U.N. estimates we will live to be 85 on average, and virtually everyone will read, write, and have access to food, water, and sanitation. That’s not too shabby.
Rather than celebrating this amazing progress, many find it distasteful. Instead of acknowledging and learning from it, we bathe ourselves in guilt, fretting about our supposed unsustainable lives. Certainly many argue that while the past may have improved, surely it doesn’t matter for the future, because we are destroying the environment!
But not so fast. In recent decades, air quality in wealthy countries has vastly improved. In virtually every developed country, the air is more breathableand the water is more drinkable than they were in 1970. London, renowned for centuries for its infamous smog and severe pollution, today has the cleanest air that it has had since the Middle Ages.
Today, some of the most polluted places in the world are the megacities of the developing world, such as Beijing, New Delhi, and Mexico City. But remember what happened in developed countries. Over a period of several hundred years, increasing incomes were matched by increasing pollution. In the 1930s and 1940s, London was more polluted than Beijing, New Delhi, or Mexico City are today.
Eventually, with increased affluence, developed countries gradually were better able to afford a cleaner environment. That is happening already today in some of the richest developing countries: air-pollution levels in Mexico City have been dropping precisely because of better technology and more wealth. Though air pollution is by far the most menacing for humans, water quality has similarly been getting better. Forests, too, are regrowing in rich countries, though still being lost in poor places where slash-and-burn is preferable to starvation.
These days, of course, the specter of global warming overshadows any discussion of the environment. Even if we are making progress elsewhere on air pollution, water pollution, or reforestation, what difference does it make when we are overheating the planet? Global warming is caused by our reliance on fossil fuels. It is going to exacerbate many of the issues that we experience today, and in some of the world’s poorest regions it will slow our progress against malnutrition and disease. It is certainly a real problem. However, far too often we exaggerate its impact and indulge in fearmongering with imagery of devastation of biblical proportions.
Current environmental innovation solves – produces new mechanisms for solutions
J. Jackson, Research Fellow and Coordinator of the Environmental Security and Climate Change and Food Security Programmes, at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, “BACK TO THE FUTURE: IS RIO+20 A 1992 REDUX OR IS THERE CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM?,” http://www.rsis.edu.sg/nts/html-newsletter/alert/nts-alert-may-1201.html
The fracture points between environmental and economic considerations are not cause for abandoning sustainable development approaches nor do they negate the potential value of Rio+20. Judiciously developing resources is a long-term social imperative, particularly if intergenerational equity is considered. It is also an avenue from which immediate and near-term progress can be made on issues of development, quality of life and political stability.
However, these benefits will require that difficult decisions be made and creative compromises found that assuage the concerns of parties with a multitude of competing interests. It is here that the deliberations of Rio+20 can have their greatest impact, even if these impacts are not readily evident from the formalised outcomes. The meetings will facilitate what Andonova and Hoffman (2012:60) have termed ‘collective wondering’ about new pathways for solutions to problems spanning environmental and economic spheres.
As Andonova and Hoffman (2012:58) state, it has been the ‘somewhat unintended’ result of global environmental dialogue that ‘innovation and experimentation outside the formal, multilateral processes’ have expanded mightily. Creative and potentially effective policy mechanisms in areas such as the valuation of environmental and social externalities, payments for ecological services, and transboundary environmental justice have had their genesis in collaborative international meetings. The goalposts have shifted as a result of such connections created through diligent international dialogue, and Rio+20 will again bring together multi-sector stakeholders with a wide array of skills and ideas. The legacy of the impending discussions will be written and judged on the tangible agreements and mechanisms that are proffered at the international level, and sending effective signals from this lofty perch is no doubt necessary. However, it is likely that effective mechanisms for managing environmental problems will come less from top-down agreements than from coordinating innovative approaches among national and subnational actors. In this sense, inclusive meetings such as Rio+20 remain invaluable.
Global innovation and non-state environmental management increasing now
Andonova and Hoffmann 2012
Liliana B., Professor of Political Science and Deputy Director of the Center for
International Environmental Studies at the Graduate Institute of International and Development
Studies, Geneva, Matthew J., Associate Professor of International Relations in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, “From Rio to Rio and Beyond: Innovation in Global Environmental Governance,” Journal of Environment & Development, 21(1) 57–61, http://jed.sagepub.com/content/21/1/57.full.pdf+html
Pathways to Governing Complex Systems
The Rio conference was an expression, and perhaps the quintessential one, of the growing trend of large-scale multilateralism—global conferences and negotiations encompassing essentially all nation-states. Following a legacy of universal-membership international organizations and the rise of multilateral environmental treaties (e.g., The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, later treaties on Ozone Depletion), the Earth Summit ushered in an era where multilateralism was seen as the way to govern global problems. The Rio conference cemented this trend, institutionalizing the idea that regular global negotiations would be the world’s approach to key environmental problems (climate change, biodiversity loss, forests, desertification). It is ironic, but nonetheless true, that one somewhat unintended legacy of multilateralism has been to spur innovation and experimentation outside the formal, multilateral processes.
The substance of the discussions at the 1992 Earth Summit would prove transformative. By advancing the concept of “sustainable development” as its organizing principle, the Summit brought into sharp relief the complexity of the task of addressing environmental problems. It reflected the growing recognition that they are inextricably linked with other global issues such as development and trade. Scientific assessments that formed the foundation for negotiations reflected understanding of complex human-ecological systems making it obvious that challenges such as climate change or biodiversity loss were more than isolated “environmental problems” subject to the same kind of governance mechanisms that served the international community in dealing with transboundary pollution and even ozone depletion.
The complex nature of global environmental problems would serve to make multilateral cooperation challenging and simultaneously spur experimentation. The two intergovernmental conventions adopted in 1992 at Rio—the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are a case in point of how attempting to regulate issues of unenviable complexity enhanced the recognition of the multiscalar nature of environmental challenges and catalyzed momentum behind innovation and experimentation. The breadth and depth of the undertaking embodied in the implementation efforts that followed the agreements, including the Kyoto Protocol of the UNFCCC, awoke a range of actors at multiple levels to the scale of the problems and the types of activities that would be called on to implement global solutions. NGOs and corporations began to work on developing the infrastructure for carbon markets, transnational city networks emerged to prepare local governments for climate action, and community-based efforts for conservation and livelihoods proliferated. The multilateral process floundered in part because of the profound mismatch between a single, centralized, topdown global governance system and the inherently complex nature of environmental problems. The resulting uncertainty about fragmentation and appropriate scales of interventions has only been enhanced by processes of globalization and growing incentives and capacity of nonstate actors to engage in direct action for the environment.
Private Authority and Public–Private Partnerships
The conditions that made possible a flurry of multilevel, multiactor activity for the environment can also be traced to political dynamics that came to a head at Rio. The 1992 Earth Summit was one of the first major international meetings where what Rosenau (1990) has dubbed the multicentric world engaged with the state-centric world on a global stage. NGOs, local governments, corporations, and a host of civil society actors converged on Rio, sharing their experiences, urging action, networking, and considering their roles in the global governance of environmental problems. This widening of participation in global environmental governance emerged and was potent precisely because the conference reflected another trend in global governance, the pluralization of global authority. Since the 1990s, growing marketization of politics and society (key aspects of globalization) has gained significant momentum. These globalization dynamics coupled with the recognition of the multiscalar nature of environmental problems altered a system that had state sovereignty as its foundation and resulted in a proliferation of actors that considered themselves to be authoritative agentsundertaking actions for the environment.
The resulting infusion of nonstate actors in environmental politics opened new space in the global public domain for experimentation with new instruments that seek to influence behavior and environmental outcomes via markets, norms, and networks. The NGO-led Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and the business-led ISO14001 certification are two well-documented schemes of regulation beyond the state. FSC certification gained ground rapidly since its creation in 1995, more than doubling after 2005 to 148 million hectares of forests, across 80 countries with more than 1,000 certificates issues (Forest Stewardship Council, 2011). The ISO14001 environmental management standard, which was inspired by efficiency and wasteminimization approaches advocated at Rio, similarly diffused rapidly from 13,994 certificates in 1999 to 223,149 in 2009. These prominent examples are just the tip of a multitude of nonstate initiatives undertaken by networks of advocacy or business actors, which have proliferated across multiple domains such as carbon markets, voluntary emission reductions, conservation, sustainable production, or chemical safety.
We do not suggest, however, that private authority has sidelined or substituted for public and intergovernmental institutions in environmental governance. On the contrary, intergovernmental frameworks such as the UNFCC and its Kyoto Protocol and the CBD provide the normative foundation and often specific incentives for nonstate actors as well as substate public authorities such as cities, regions, and communities to engage in direct environmental action. International organizations and units of national governments have furthermore actively facilitated the opening of the multilateral system to an array of public–private interventions for the environment. Public–private partnerships have diffused across the globe taking a variety of forms. Thousands of community-based partnerships for biodiversity management, energy efficiency, transportation, or agriculture coexist with large global partnerships platforms for corporate social responsibility, renewable energy diffusion, or resource management. International organizations and regimes are slowly starting to come to grips with the flurry of decentralized governance innovations and to evaluate their implications for advancing environmental objectives.
New UN blueprint solves
Marikki, doctoral candidate in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, “The UN Blueprint for the Post-2015 Development Agenda > Enabling optimism or true transformation?,” The Finnish Institute of International Affairs, April, http://www.fiia.fi/en/publication/335/
In September2015 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly is to agree on a new global agenda for international development (2015-2030) as the era of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comes to an end. Over 50 development expertsfrom different UN entities and other international organizations were tasked with reporting on the lessons learnt from the MDGs, and with proposing a fresh blueprint for the future. The resulting document, “Realizing the Future We Want for All”, is serving as the first referencefor consultations across the globe.
Two intertwined challenges make this UN-led endeavour particularly difficult. The first of these relates to the magnitude of the international development agenda and the work that still needs to be done. Several of the MDGs remain unrealized, while priorities that were not sufficiently covered by the current framework compete for attention and resources. Most notable of these are employment and livelihoods, peace and security, as well as human rights and environmentalconcerns. However, the second challenge is almost as huge as the workload ahead, namely, the almost paralyzing degree of passivism and disinterest among political leaders.
It is this raft of problems that the UN Task Team is aiming to tackle. At the core of the blueprint lies the notion of enabling development through shared responsibility between countries and actors. This marks a shift from a pessimistic focus on the developing countries’ own problems to a wider view whereby developed nations and private sector actors would play a much bigger role.
To make this happen, the UN Task Team is structuring the proposal around three core values for all stakeholders to share. These are human rights, equality and sustainability. The envisioned post-2015 agenda in itself consists of four key dimensions. These include 1) inclusive social development, 2) inclusive economic development, 3) environmental sustainability and 4) peace and security. Each of these dimensions will be completed with concrete goals, targets, indicators and means of implementation now that the complex consultation process has run its course.
Yet the ground-breaking suggestion that the UN team is making relates to the factors that underpin each of the four dimensions. The UN System Task Team calls them “enablers”.These enablers can be understoodas prerequisites that need to be in place in order to achieve any of the future development goals. They are included to guide policy-makers and private actors to act more coherently. For instance, the achievement of inclusive economic development-related objectives calls for fair and stable global trading and financial systems as well as affordable access to technology and knowledge. By the same token, the fate of environmental sustainability goals will be determined by the way in which we use natural resources. Peace and security also hinge on good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Moreover, the four dimensions are interconnected. This implies that failures and successes in each sector influence one another. The same interdependence is highlighted between national and international levels.
The UN Blueprint broadens the conventional approach to development well beyond the tradition donor-recipient relationship and development cooperation. It also points to the underlying weakness of the current international agenda and discusses failures to address the root causes and incoherencies behind poverty and unsustainability. In so doing, the UN Task Team has reignited the debate over “Global partnership for development”, which has been the largely unfulfilled MDG for developed countries to support poorer countries with effective aid, better trade rules, and access to technology and knowledge.
Hence, the overriding strength of the UN Blueprint is that it connects the present MDGs for developing countries to the wider frame of sustainable development. While advocating an agenda for global transformation, the UN Task Team acknowledges the power of the present MDGs to galvanize international attention and much-needed development assistance for the poorest countries. Indeed, the MDGs have had a positive impact on decreasing absolute poverty, and improving access to primary education, as well as to clean drinking water. Yet much more is needed to stay on track and to ensure the full attainment of all MDGs. Among them are the still unrealized objectives of better nutrition as well as lower child and maternal mortality rates, which cannot be reached by development aid only.
at: climate – doha solves
Doha created momentum to solve climate
Connie, “Why the Doha climate conference was a success,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/14/doha-climate-conference-success
In Doha, we changed the very structure of our negotiations. Before, we had different working groups based on the sharp distinction between developed and developing countries. Now, we have one negotiation forum, the Durban Platform, for all countries. Check.
This is not a small achievement. Today, the average emission per capita in China is already 7.2 tonnes and increasing. Europe's is 7.5 tonnes and decreasing. The world cannot fight climate change without emerging economies committing. That is why crossing the bridge from the old system to the new system was so important. And we did it.
And this bridge is being constructed by the EU and a handful of other developed countries committing to a second Kyoto Protocol period. Too many years of hard work would have been lost if we had not renewed Kyoto, which is still the only existing treaty that requires emission cuts. We simply couldn't afford that. Another check. ✓
We have ensured continuity up to the new global deal in 2020, with the EU succeeding in negotiating an eight-year extension of the protocol. Check. ✓
We have finally resolved the long-running problem of "hot air" – surplus of unused carbon credits from the first Kyoto period. Buyers will be limited in how much they can purchase. The EU's law doesn't allow using them and all potential buyers made declarations that they will not buy them anyway. Moreover, the new rules prevent the creation of additional hot air. This is a strong environmental outcome. Check.
Despite the difficult economic times in Europe, we also continued to provide climate funding in Doha. Several EU member states and the European Commission came forward with some €7bn in climate funds for 2013 and 2014, which represents an increase from the past two years. Check.
The EU also requested that Doha set out a schedule of what must be done from now until 2015. We now have a workplan. Check. ✓
But before the future legal regime kicks in 2020, the EU insisted on identifying further measures to reduce emissions in order to hold global warming below 2°C. Doha delivered that. And all Kyoto and non-Kyoto countries' targets will be revisited by 2014 with a view to considering raising their ambition. Check. ✓
at: overpopulation – wrong
Overpopulation is alarmist fantasy
Alex B., editor of RealClearScience, “Humanity is not a plague on earth: Column,” http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/03/05/humanity-is-not-a-plague-on-earth-column/1965485/
In January, David Attenborough, an internationally renowned host of nature documentaries, revealed how disconnected he is from nature. Mankind, he recently warned, is a "plague on the earth." He said, "Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us." Nobody told him that world population growth is already slowing in nearly every part of the world. In many countries, demographers worry more about a shrinking population than an exploding one.
Americans haven't gotten the memo, either. A Center for Biological Diversity poll released last week reports that a majority of Americans worry about population growth sparking global warming, killing off endangered species or causing other environmental mayhem. And, they say, we have a "moral responsibility" to do something about it.
Nevertheless, the notion that humanity is a blight upon the planet is a long discredited idea, long nurtured by a vocal cadre of fearful prophets.
Thomas Malthus predicted more than 200 years ago that world population growth would outpace food production, triggering mass starvations and disease. In 1977, Paul and Anne Ehrlich, along with Obama administration "science czar" John Holdren, authored a textbook that discussed population control, including the unsavory possibility of compulsory abortions. As recently as 2011, Anne Ehrlich compared humans to cancer cells.
Yet, science says otherwise. Indeed, what Attenborough, the Ehrlichs and Holdren all have in common is an ignorance of demographic trends. Anyone who believes that humans will overrun the earth like ants at a picnic is ignoring the data.
According to the World Bank, the world's fertility rate is 2.45, slightly above the replacement rate of 2.1. Some demographers believe that by 2020, global fertility will drop below the replacement rate for the first time in history. Why? Because the world is getting richer.
As people become wealthier, they have fewer kids. When times are good, instead of reproducing exponentially (like rabbits), people prefer to spend resources nurturing fewer children, for instance by investing in education and saving money for the future. This trend toward smaller families has been observed throughout the developed world, from the United States to Europe to Asia.
The poorest parts of the world, most notably sub-Saharan Africa, still have sky-high fertility rates, but they are declining. The solution is just what it has been elsewhere: more education, easier access to contraception and economic growth. Catastrophe avoided.
Consequently, no serious demographer believes that human population growth resembles cancer or the plague. On the contrary, the United Nations projects a global population of 9.3 billion by 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100. In other words, it will take about 40 years to add 2 billion people, but 50 years to add 1 billion after that. After world population peaks, it is quite possible that it will stop growing altogether and might even decline.
Despite all indications to the contrary, global population cataclysm isn't at hand and never will be unless the well-established and widely researched trends reverse themselves. That's not likely.
Ext. overpop wrong
Population growth slowing – decline inevitable
Jeff, science writer, “About That Overpopulation Problem,” http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/01/world_population_may_actually_start_declining_not_exploding.single.html
A somewhat more arcane milestone, meanwhile, generated no media coverage at all: It took humankind 13 years to add its 7 billionth. That’s longer than the 12 years it took to add the 6 billionth—the first time in human history that interval had grown. (The 2 billionth, 3 billionth, 4 billionth, and 5 billionth took 123, 33, 14, and 13 years, respectively.) In other words, the rate of global population growth has slowed. And it’s expected to keep slowing. Indeed, according to experts’ best estimates, the total population of Earth will stop growing within the lifespan of people alive today.
And then it will fall.
This is a counterintuitive notion in the United States, where we’ve heard often and loudly that world population growth is a perilous and perhaps unavoidable threat to our future as a species. But population decline is a very familiar concept in the rest of the developed world, where fertility has long since fallen far below the 2.1 live births per woman required to maintain population equilibrium. In Germany, the birthrate has sunk to just 1.36, worse even than its low-fertility neighbors Spain (1.48) and Italy (1.4). The way things are going, Western Europe as a whole will most likely shrink from 460 million to just 350 million by the end of the century. That’s not so bad compared with Russia and China, each of whose populations could fall by half. As you may not be surprised to learn, the Germans have coined a polysyllabic word for this quandary: Schrumpf-Gesellschaft, or “shrinking society.”
American media have largely ignored the issueof population decline for the simple reason that it hasn’t happened here yet. Unlike Europe, the United States has long been the beneficiary of robust immigration. This has helped us not only by directly bolstering the number of people calling the United States home but also by propping up the birthrate, since immigrant women tend to produce far more children than the native-born do.
But both those advantages look to diminish in years to come. A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.
Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.
Why is this happening? Scientists who study population dynamics point to a phenomenon called “demographic transition.”
“For hundreds of thousands of years,” explains Warren Sanderson, a professor of economics at Stony Brook University, “in order for humanity to survive things like epidemics and wars and famine, birthrates had to be very high.” Eventually, thanks to technology, death rates started to fall in Europe and in North America, and the population size soared. In time, though, birthrates fell as well, and the population leveled out. The same pattern has repeated in countries around the world. Demographic transition, Sanderson says, “is a shift between two very different long-run states: from high death rates and high birthrates to low death rates and low birthrates.” Not only is the pattern well-documented, it’s well under way: Already, more than half the world’s population is reproducing at below the replacement rate.
If the Germany of today is the rest of the world tomorrow, then the future is going to look a lot different than we thought. Instead of skyrocketing toward uncountable Malthusian multitudes, researchers at Austria’s International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis foresee the global population maxing out at 9 billion some time around 2070. On the bright side, the long-dreaded resource shortage may turn out not to be a problem at all. On the not-so-bright side, the demographic shift toward more retirees and fewer workers could throw the rest of the world into the kind of interminable economic stagnation that Japan is experiencing right now.
at: overpop – consumption not population
Consumption in wealthy countries overwhelms coming population boom
Fred, freelance author and journalist based in the UK, environment consultant for New Scientist magazine, “Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat,” http://e360.yale.edu/feature/consumption_dwarfs_population_as_main_environmental_threat/2140/
I do not deny that fast-rising populations can create serious local environmental crises through overgrazing, destructive farming and fishing, and deforestation. My argument here is that viewed at the global scale, it is overconsumptionthat has been driving humanity’s impacts on the planet’s vital life-support systems during at least the past century. But what of the future?
We cannot be sure how the global economic downturn will play out. But let us assume that Jeffrey Sachs, in his book Common Wealth, is right to predict a 600 percent increase in global economic output by 2050. Most projections put world population then at no more than 40 percent above today’s level, so its contribution to future growth in economic activity will be small.
Of course, economic activity is not the same as ecological impact. So let’s go back to carbon dioxide emissions. Virtually all of the extra 2 billion or so people expected on this planet in the coming 40 years will be in the poor half of the world. They will raise the population of the poor world from approaching 3.5 billion to about 5.5 billion, making them the poor two-thirds.
Sounds nasty, but based on Pacala’s calculations — and if we assume for the purposes of the argument that per-capita emissions in every country stay roughly the same as today — those extra two billion people would raise the share of emissions contributed by the poor world from 7 percent to 11 percent.
Look at it another way. Just five countries are likely to produce most of the world’s population growth in the coming decades: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. The carbon emissions of one American today are equivalent to those of around four Chinese, 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 40 Nigerians, or 250 Ethiopians.
Even if we could today achieve zero population growth, that would barely touch the climate problem — where we need to cut emissions by 50 to 80 percent by mid-century. Given existing income inequalities, it is inescapable that overconsumption by the rich few is the key problem, rather than overpopulation of the poor many.
Drought fears are corporate alarmism
Susanne, April 24th, Chief Editor of OccupyCorporatism and the globally syndicated host of the Region 10 Report broadcast on American Freedom Radio, “Alarmist Decry Global Drought While Water Privatization Controls Resources,” http://www.setyoufreenews.com/2013/04/24/alarmist-decry-global-drought-while-water-privatization-controls-resources/
The securitization of water is a conflict of control over society and the right to life. It is a non-negotiable aspect of life on Earth. The false flag threat of water pollution (which is being committed by the global Elite through multi-national corporations) is a cover story for the march toward complete control over all basic necessities required to live.
Precipitation levels and drought have been correlated by alarmist scientists to explain agricultural conditions that have been changing without long term studies to prove emphatically that the two are conditional upon each other.
Five years later, the IPCC published a study that explained that droughts have many different factors involved and narrowing down the blame on climate change is not apparent; although they maintain that man-made global warming will cause an intensification of those effects.
Alarmist scientists are claiming that global warming is causational to the deterioration of public health, farming conditions, and the draining of the Great Lakes. This report was commissioned by the US government by way of 13 agencies working under the US Global Change Research Program (GCRP).
GCRP states that human activity; primarily fossil fuel usage is responsible for climate change for the last 50 years. As a result, temperatures have heated up since the Industrial Revolution with a culmination revealing itself in recent years which demands a reaction.
Experiments conducting last year bythe United Arab Emirates (UAE), successfully manufactured fifty rainstorms by scientists using large ionizers to generate negatively charged particle fields. These structures promote cloud formation. Metro Systems International (MSI), the technology purveyors, claims to have “achieved a number of rainfalls.”
The environment is getting significantly worse – biodiversity is dying and by 2030 we will need two Earths to sustain the population
(Erin Hale, “Earth's environment getting worse, not better, says WWF ahead of Rio+20 – Swelling population, mass migration to cities, increasing energy use and soaring CO2 emissions squeeze planet's resources,” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/15/earth-environment-wwf-rio20, Guardian News, Woojae)
Twenty years on from the Rio Earth summit, the environment of the planet is getting worse not better, according to a report from WWF. Swelling population, mass migration to cities, increasing energy use and soaring carbon dioxide emissions mean humanity is putting a greater squeeze on the planet's resources then ever before. Particularly hard hit is the diversity of animals and plants, upon which many natural resources such as clean water are based.
"The Rio+20 conference next month is an opportunity for the world to get serious about the need for development to become sustainable. Our report indicates that we haven't yet done that since the last Rio summit," said David Nussbaum, WWF-UK chief executive.
The latest Living Planet report, published on Tuesday, estimates that global demand for natural resources has doubled since 1996 andthat it now takes 1.5 years to regenerate the renewable resources used in one year by humans. By2030, the report predicts it will take the equivalent of two planets to meet the current demand for resources.
Most alarming, says the report, is that many of these changes have accelerated in the past decade, despite the plethora of international conventions signed since the initial Rio Summit in 1992. Climate-warming carbon emissions have increased 40% in the past 20 years, but two-thirds of that rise occurred in the past decade.
The report, compiled by WWF, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, compiles data from around the world on the ecological footprints of each country and the status of resources like water and forests. It also examines changes in populations of 2,688 animal species, with the latest available data coming from 2008.
The eighth report of its kind, the new Living Planet document, comes five weeks before Rio+20, the latest United Nations conference on sustainable development.
Ext. too late
We’re past the tipping points impacts are inevitable
Hughes et al 03’
(T. P. Hughes A. H. Baird1, D. R. Bellwoodwork at Centre for Coral Reef Biodiversity, James Cook University, , M. Card Environmental Protection Agency P. Marshall Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Climate Change, Human Impacts, and the Resilience of Coral Reefs Science 15 August 2003: Vol. 301 no. 5635 pp. 929-933 http://www.sciencemag.org/content/301/5635/929.full)
Coral reefs are critically important for the ecosystem goods and services they provide to maritime tropical and subtropical nations (1). Yet reefs are in serious decline; an estimated 30% are already severely damaged, and close to 60% may be lost by 2030 (2). There are no pristine reefs left (3–4). Local successes at protecting coral reefs over the past 30 years have failed to reverse regionalscale declines,and global management of reefs must undergo a radical change in emphasis and implementation if it is to make a real difference. Here, we review current knowledge of the status of coral reefs, the human threats to them now and in the near future, and new directions for research in support of management of these vital natural resources. Until recently, the direct and indirect effects of overfishing and pollution from agriculture and land development have been the major drivers of massive and accelerating decreases in abundance of coral reef species, causing widespread changes in reef ecosystems over the past two centuries (3–5). With increased human populations and improved storage and transport systems, the scale of human impacts on reefs has grown exponentially. For example, markets for fishes and other natural resources have become global, supplying demand for reef resources far removed from their tropical sources (6) (Fig. 1). On many reefs, reduced stocks of herbivorous fishes and added nutrients from land-based activities have caused ecological shifts, from the original dominance by corals to a preponderance of fleshy seaweed (5, 7). Importantly, these changes to reefs, which can often be managed successfully at a local scale, are compounded by the more recent, superimposed impacts of global climate change.