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World population will likely peak at 10 billion

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Aroddo, May 24, 2014.

  1. potatokiosk

    potatokiosk Deity

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    Could you provide a source for those graphs? I find the assumption that we won't increase our nuclear power production while our oil and gas production is dwindling to be bizarre.
     
  2. zjl56

    zjl56 Emperor

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    Running out of oil would be devastating in the short term if we we dramatic spikes (IE Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States go at it with Iran). But, if we see oil prices rise, commercial efforts to convert coal to gas or artificial synthesis of hydrocarbons will provide the gas we need. Those both are proven technologies that can be scaled up, the only thing holding them back is that gas is still pretty cheap.
     
  3. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    They're also crap in terms of EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested). Turning coal into synthetic oil requires energy, and that energy is directly subtracted from the energy originally contained in the coal.

    Also, like with anything coal-related, relying on it means giving up on combating climate change.
     
  4. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Oh, I don't know. Making synthetic diesel out of coal is perfectly feasible. It's just extremely polluting. Which means pumping out loads of sulphur dioxide: a notable counter to global warming.

    Or do I have it wrong? I probably do.

    I wouldn't favour using coal for anything. Leave it in the ground, I say. And maybe even burn it there.
     
  5. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Special emphasis on ....

    Basically he's reassuring rich first-worlder's that "everything'll be alright as people become rich like you". But there are so many problems with this analysis. First being that the world can't even handle a couple billion overconsuming bourgeois, let alone a whole planet of them.

    The 21st century holds so many wildcards, the idea that things are going to continue smoothly along is one scenario we can count on not happening.
     
  6. Aroddo

    Aroddo Emperor

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    True.
    But the point is that it was conventional wisdom that mankind would breed like rabbits and overpopulate the whole world. Some even regarded wars as a cure to overpopulation.

    What Rosling states is that with everything left alone, the Soylent Green dystopia won't happen.


    Link to video.

    Mind you, no one disputes that solving the energy crisis and not wiping out large chunks of the earth with enviromental destruction isn't a bad thing. Apart from some 1-percenters and apocalyptic christians, maybe.
     
  7. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    But everything won't be "left alone". Before we reach 10 billion there will likely be dozens of coastal cities half underwater, climate refugees & who knows what will happen with the global economy. We don't really have time to wait around for the "demographic transition" to solve our overpopulation problem because rich people overconsuming is the problem, not skinny Africans & Bangladeshis.
     
  8. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    I must say you're consistently doom-mongering, Mr Narz.

    I'd say the coastal flooding thing, for instance, is decidedly overstated. Sea level is set to rise by what? 1 metre in the next 100 years, maybe?

    The solution to that is pretty low tech: simply building houses on stilts or constructing levees would do it. (Look at the Netherlands, for an example of what can be done.) Apart from some obscure islands in the Pacific (and that's not something I'm trying to make light of), this isn't going to be at all catastrophic.

    Which isn't at all to say that we shouldn't mitigate against climate change. We should. But I think it's important to maintain a sense of perspective.

    Overstating the case is just going to undermine one's credibility.
     
  9. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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    Climate change is long term; hunger is short term. Once oil becomes scarce, the mechanised agriculture will become a MASSIVE vulnerability. Productivity and crop yields will plummet and guess who'll be hit the hardest...

    I am always amused by people who declare Malthus dead just because we once narrowly escaped the immutable logic by... consuming more oil and overusing more land. Because that's clearly sustainable! :run:
     
  10. Aroddo

    Aroddo Emperor

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    @Narz
    And again, the point of the video is that if the world continues to improve to the point where every human can have a relatively secure and comfortable life, the total population will peak at about 10 billion and NOT grow beyond all bounds!

    The key point Rosling makes is High Mortality Rate = High Population Growth.

    And if everything goes to hell with the sea level rising, global economy collapsing and whatnot, overpopulation will not be a problem either because billions of people will starve and billions of people will be born. Fluctuations in the total world populations will occur, but the trend will peak at 10 billion.

    Sure, Armageddon sucks, but the Apocalypse will not come because of overpopulation.
    So don't worry about muslims outbreeding americans or other xenophobic stuff like that, but concentrate on the real problems of the world.
     
  11. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    That sounds so much like how God said he would do in Revelation.
     
  12. CavLancer

    CavLancer This aint fertilizer

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    "We won WW2 because our German scientists were better than their German scientists." - Sir Edward Ian Claud Jacob

    I said this first but you have it wrong.

    "We got to the moon first because our German scientists were better than their German scientists."

    First time I said that was maybe 20 years ago.

    Doesn't make any sense as a referral to WW2 since the German scientists were in Germany at the time.

    Anyway I doubt we'll get to 10 billion. Something is going to happen eventually. If the solar cycle continues to dump we'll have a new grand minimum and crop failures. A series of volcanoes or even just one super volcano and its over for billions. Bird flu gets air transmitted same thing. So many things can happen, we're spoiled by our quiet world, but its not really a quiet world. Just ask the dinosaurs...;)
     
  13. warmonger

    warmonger Conservative Greenie

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    Here is Hans Rosling's take on future energy comsumption. I find it as compelling as his 10 billion population video.


    Link to video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZoKfap4g4w

    Winner is, IMHO, being unduly pessimistic. We are nowhere near to running out of oil, coal or gas; and renewables are now economically feasible in many markets without subsidy.
     
  14. ummmm........

    ummmm........ Extremely normal.

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    Well if it makes you feel any better, whenever I see stuff like this I always think to myself "Hey, I'll totally be dead by then :goodjob: " Then I go about my day just as blissful as before :D
     
  15. Loppan Torkel

    Loppan Torkel Deity

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    I'm also in the pessimist camp. Democracies are falling and the Western world has huge economic issues to deal with. It doesn't take a 100 years and 1 meter increased water levels to increase migration to insane levels. Conflicts will increase in already unstable nations. Autocracy and nationalism such in China and Russia will be be imported in many nations hoping for stability. It's going to be a huge cluster-f.
     
  16. Winner

    Winner Diverse in Unity

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  17. Aroddo

    Aroddo Emperor

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    Well, Sir Edward Ian Claud Jacob said this to Winston Churchill, remarking about the influx of german refugee scientists crucial for the war contributions they made for the allies.
    Since this quote is so funny it's no wonder others would reuse it.
     
  18. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    The important thing people have to realize is that something can be economically feasible even with subsidy. We've had a bait-and-switch pulled on us. Economic subsidy prevents a specific type of efficiency that would manifest in a model Free Market environment (with all those necessary caveats). That's it. The bait-and-switch is that we now seem to think that the system cannot be feasible if it has a subsidy. This just isn't true.

    The one trick I want people to remember is that it's not just efficiency, it's about progress. Ecosystems have buffers. A buffered system means that a system can be 'abused' for a time - until it cannot be. If you push merely for efficiency, you merely extend the time the buffer can be abused. You can also abuse a buffer in order to create alternate.

    If your giant family overfishes a pond, you'll die eventually. If you ration so that you overfish 'less', you'll still just die eventually. If you overfish the pond so that you can plant (and later harvest) a giant garden, you'll do just fine. The harvest will allow you to stop fishing the pond, before it totally collapses.

    Then we realize your garden had 3 feet of 'buffer' topsoil and 2 feet of 'essential' topsoil. If your farming technique consumes topsoil, you're in trouble. If you consume it more slowly, you're still in trouble. You need another source of food, and you have 3 feet of topsoil in which to find it, and 2 more feet where your garden will produce less and less food each season.

    You'll note that in both scenarios efficiency really helps, but it's the new processes that matters the most. And, the true shame, of course, is that a pond and a garden can actually produce a baseline resource in perpetuity if your family wasn't just too big. Too many people look at the pond scenario and say "the family is too big". We need more people who say "hey, let's plant a garden". And, yeah, people who plant a garden need to eat more fish than people who just wanna cut their fish calories to a minimum.

    edit: found the talk
    http://bigthink.com/big-think-tv/hans-rosling-illustrates-future-energy-consumption-with-legos
     
  19. Aroddo

    Aroddo Emperor

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    a) rising sea levels is the most severe threat. build levees and prepare for relocating millions of people.
    b) plow furrows to slow topsoil erosion. fertilizers and deep tilling seem to help against slinisation
    c) reforestation.
    d) stop overfishing. let fish populations recover. ban trawl nets
    e) no idea apart from not spilling unfiltered sewage into the seas
    f) improve salt-water desalination methods. and abandon Las Vegas and golf courses in deserts.
    g) recycling and extraterrestial mining. recycling should last until we get there.


    The main problem I see is
    a) greed
    b) fanaticism
    c) stupidity

    without those, every problem can be mastered. nothing is inevitable. Well, apart from rising sea levels, which will really suck.

    This one:

    Link to video.
     
  20. CavLancer

    CavLancer This aint fertilizer

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    Thanks for that info Aroddo.
     

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