Tackle rising population, consumption: science academies

Jun 13, 2012

The world's science academies on Thursday warned the upcoming Rio Summit that Earth faced a dangerous double whammy posed by voracious consumption and a population explosion.

The warning was issued by 105 academies ahead of the June 20-22 UN conference on sustainable development, where leaders will debate the planet's worsening environmental health and its entrenched poverty.

The signatories include the paramount scientific academies in North America, Europe and Asia.

"Increasing and unsustainable consumption together pose two of the greatest challenges facing the world," their statement said.

"Current patterns of consumption, especially in high-income countries, are eroding natural capital at rates that are severely damaging the interests of ," it said.

Earth's population is expected to roughly triple by 2050 compared to a century earlier.

It stood at three billion in 1950, reached seven billion in 2011 and is likely to reach about 9.5 billion by 2050 -- a rise that will occur especially in the , according to UN estimates.

"Rapid population growth can be an obstacle to improving standards of living in poor countries, to eliminating poverty and to reducing ," the joint statement said.

It emphasised the need to help millions rise out of poverty, brake trends of reckless consumption and address population growth through voluntary means such as education for women and access to contraception.

"If the right conditions are in place, measures that reduce while respecting human rights can stimulate and facilitate economic development, improve health and living standards, and increase political and social stability and security," it said.

About 115 heads of state and government are expected for the conference, which marks the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit that placed the environment on the world's political agenda.

The meeting will hear grim news about the state of the environment, ranging from an alarming increase in climate-altering greenhouse gases to depletion of the oceans and deforestation.

Scientists have become increasingly outspoken about population growth, saying it has an obvious role in environmental damage and exposing countries to the risks of drought, floods and storms.

Yet the issue is often dormant or sidelined in international politics.

The summit will cap more than a week of meetings gathering as many as 50,000 activists, business executives and policymakers.

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User comments : 13

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Vendicar_Decarian
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2012
Where are all of the Libertarian quack farts claiming that all 105 of these scientific organizations are part of a global plan to enslave mankind?

Oh, the Horror... The horror...
Howhot
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 13, 2012
They are crackpots VD. I'm sure if you give enough time. they will show up with THEIR plans for global corrective action, or more likely, inaction.
zz6549
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2012
It's quite disturbing that these people have been allowed to speak at an event with such visibility. Their "science" seems to be based on the assumption that humans have approximately the same intelligence as mice.

They look at the rate of consumption and population growth, compare it to the amount of space and amount of resources remaining, then run a few calculations to determine when humanity is doomed. I'm sure the facts hold true for specific cases - these guys aren't pulling numbers out of a hat.

But they're completely ignoring the effects of technological innovation. Technology makes our society more efficient; it allows us to do more with less. Which is why the per-capita energy consumption in developing countries decreases every year: http://data.world...EC.KH.PC

Trying to limit population growth and consumption will only postpone the problems. Just let humanity be, and the problems will be solved as they arise - as they always have been.
gregor1
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 14, 2012
The world population growth rate has been declining since1962
"Globally, the growth rate of the human population has been declining since peaking in 1962 and 1963 at 2.20% per annum. In 2009, the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%." wikipedia
Vendicar_Decarian
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 14, 2012
Out of 130 countries on your list, 55 have increased energy consumption over the current recession.

"Which is why the per-capita energy consumption in developing countries decreases every year"

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wy-VSuYk87M/T2o5FZL-DpI/AAAAAAAAAMs/UqI1Shapehg/s1600/world-per-capita-energy-consumption-and-co2-emissions.png
Vendicar_Decarian
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 14, 2012
A 1.1 percent growth rate corresponds to a doubling period of around 63 years. And over that doubling period resource consumption will exceed by a factor of 2 to 4, all of the material resources consumed through all of human history until now.

"In 2009, the estimated annual growth rate was 1.1%." wikipedia" - GregorTard
kaasinees
4.3 / 5 (3) Jun 14, 2012
Goto war with china or india, problem solved. Some other high populated countries will do.
__Nyarlahothep
4.7 / 5 (3) Jun 14, 2012
As long as there is any population growth at all, population control will inevitably become necessary. Wars alone don't cull us nearly enough. On the other hand, it's easier to convince people to be in favor of more wars than it is to convince them to stop having babies. As long as soldiers are voluntary and not drafted, we have both an economic boon and a form of voluntary population control in war. Save the Earth by avoiding world peace. Now that's ironic. :D
Howhot
5 / 5 (3) Jun 15, 2012
It really is a terrible situation we are in. How to save earth from a population explosion, AGW, over exploitation of the environment and it's resources, etc. I really look forward to Rio.
rubberman
5 / 5 (3) Jun 15, 2012
200 years from now children will be learning about the resource wars of the 21st century and how a little common sense could have avoided the massive death toll.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jun 15, 2012
Hey ryggy

I thought of a good description of our Inevitable transition to socialism. We are paying more and more for less and less. Eventually we will be paying everything for absolutely nothing at all.

I think this will be good for the planet.
kaasinees
not rated yet Jun 15, 2012
As far as i know india failed to comply in reducing emissions. They let their poor children hammer electronic parts in order to recycle them. That place is really a sad place. The only right thing to do is to put the indian population out of their misery and go to war with them.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Jun 15, 2012
population control will inevitably become necessary. Wars alone don't cull us nearly enough.
Constructive wars which target and destroy the obsolete cultures which cause overpopulation, do.

The world wars are our most visible examples. They were waged specifically to destroy religionist cultures throughout Eurasia. They enabled the subsequent establishment of communist martial law which continued the Process.

This destruction allowed the institution of family planning across the continent which otherwise would have been resisted by religion; and it enabled the ONE BILLION ABORTIONS which have taken place since. This alone can account for stable population growth and the enduring peace in much of the world.

But it also allowed people to understand that they alone are responsible for their futures. There is no longer a god who will provide for however many babies they can produce, as long as they remain faithful. THIS is true sustainability.

The Process continues.

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