Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A.D. 2100: Cornell Study Warns Of A Miserable Life On Overcrowded Earth If Population And Resources Are Not Controlled

Date:
September 22, 1999
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
One hundred years from now, democratically determined population-control practices and sound resource-management policies could have the planet's 2 billion people thriving in harmony with the environment. Lacking these approaches, a new Cornell University study suggests, 12 billon miserable humans will suffer a difficult life on Earth by the year 2100.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- One hundred years from now, democratically determined population-control practices and sound resource-management policies could have the planet's 2 billion people thriving in harmony with the environment. Lacking these approaches, a new Cornell University study suggests, 12 billon miserable humans will suffer a difficult life on Earth by the year 2100.

"Of course, reducing population and using resources wisely will be a challenging task in the coming decades," says David Pimentel, lead author of the report titled "Will Limits of the Earth's Resources Control Human Numbers?" in the first issue of the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability.

"It will be much more difficult," Pimentel says, "to survive in a world without voluntary controls on population growth and ever diminishing supplies of the Earth's resources."

Even at a reduced world population of 2 billion in A.D. 2100, life for the average Earth dweller will not be as luxurious as it is for many Americans today. But the lifestyle won't be as wasteful of resources, either, the Cornell ecologist predicts. Some observers are seeing early signs that nature is taking a hand at reducing human populations through malnutrition and disease. According to the report, global climate change is beginning to contribute to the food and disease problems.

"With a democratically determined population policy that respects basic individual rights, with sound resource-use policies, plus the support of science and technology to enhance energy supplies and protect the integrity of the environment," the report concludes, "an optimum population of 2 billion for the Earth can be achieved."

Then the fortunate 2 billion will be free from poverty and starvation, living in an environment capable of sustaining human life with dignity, the report suggests, adding a cautionary note:

"We must avoid letting human numbers continue to increase and surpass the limit of Earth's natural resources and forcing natural forces to control our number by disease, malnutrition and violent conflicts over resources," the report says.

Among the key points in the report:

-- The world population is projected to double in about 50 years.

-- Even if a worldwide limit of 2.1 children per couple were adopted tomorrow, Earth's human population would continue to increase before stabilizing at around 12 billion in more than 60 years. The major reason for continued growth is "population momentum," due to the predominantly young age structure of the world population.

-- The U.S. population has doubled during the past 60 years to 270 million and, at the current growth rate, is projected to double again, to 540 million, in the next 75 years. Each year our nation adds 3 million people (including legal immigrants) to its population, plus an estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants.

-- Increasing U.S. and global population will place restrictions on certain freedoms: freedom to travel and commute to work quickly and efficiently, freedom to visit and enjoy natural areas, freedom to select desired foods and freedom to be effectively represented by government

-- Today, more than 3 billion people suffer from malnutrition, the largest number and proportion of the world population in history, according to the World Health Organization. Malnutrition increases the susceptibility to diseases such as diarrhea and malaria.

-- One reason for the increase in malnutrition is that production of grains per capita has been declining since 1983. Grains provide 80 percent to 90 percent of the world's food. Each additional human further reduces available food per capita.

-- The reasons for this per capita decrease in food production are a 20 percent decline in cropland per capita, a 15 percent decrease in water for irrigation and a 23 percent drop in the use of fertilizers.

-- Biotechnology and other technologies apparently have not been implemented fast enough to prevent declines in per capita food production during the past 17 years.

-- Considering the resources likely to be available in A.D. 2100, the optimal world population would be about 2 billion, with a standard of living about half that of the United States in the 1990s, or at the standard experienced by the average European.

The study was funded by Cornell University. In addition to Pimentel, authors of the Environment, Development and Sustainability report include Owen Bailey, Paul Kim, Elizabeth Mullaney, Joy Calabrese, Laura Walman, Fred Nelson nd Xiangjun Yao, all students at Cornell University.

Related World Wide Web site -- Environment, Development and Sustainability journal: http://www.wkap.nl/journalhome.htm/1387-585X


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "A.D. 2100: Cornell Study Warns Of A Miserable Life On Overcrowded Earth If Population And Resources Are Not Controlled." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990922051515.htm>.
Cornell University. (1999, September 22). A.D. 2100: Cornell Study Warns Of A Miserable Life On Overcrowded Earth If Population And Resources Are Not Controlled. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990922051515.htm
Cornell University. "A.D. 2100: Cornell Study Warns Of A Miserable Life On Overcrowded Earth If Population And Resources Are Not Controlled." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990922051515.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Science News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins