Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Consequences => Topic started by: JimD on July 29, 2013, 01:37:23 AM

Title: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on July 29, 2013, 01:37:23 AM
Earlier this month the UN put out revised figures on the current global population and new projections out to 2100.  These revisions are based upon new census data and corrections to mistaken fertility rates that were used as a base for the last biennial report.  The key figure from this revised report is that global population in 2050 is now projected to be 9.6 billion people.  This number has increased by 700 million since the last report in 2011.  It also projects a global population in 2100 of 10.9 billion and indicates that population will still be growing then.

I put a short post about these new UN population projections in the topic When and How Bad a few days ago.  I have been reviewing the numbers and thought that this topic deserves a home of its own. The impetus to actually write this post was triggered by a comment on the ASIB where a poster made a statement that "...the solutions to our problems are simple..."  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Population is the main reason why and it prevents (especially as it is still growing rapidly) any proposed solution from being executable or workable.  The people that make up this population, after all, are just people not some idealized utopian version that does not exist and they are going to behave pretty much how they always have.  Until they can't.  So when does that happen.

Global population numbers can, with a few caveats, be argued as the number one factor in the generation of almost all of our global scale problems to include AGW, energy supply issues, inadequate fresh water supplies, pollution of all kinds, biodiversity loss, depleting resources, etc, etc.  Human population levels have exceeded the global carrying capacity by a large amount and our various resource demands are seriously depleting a wide variety of mineral and biological supplies.  We are pushing other species into extinction at a rapid rate due to our demand for land and our emissions of greenhouse gases have triggered climate changes which will eliminate vast numbers of additional species.  Our demand for land to be used for agricultural purposes is vast and growing rapidly.  In light of the effects that AGW will have on agriculture it is certain that large amounts of additional land will have to be converted to agricultural use due to climate change dropping the productivity of current crop land.  This is in addition to the additional land needed to feed the rapidly growing global population.  These agricultural needs are the major factor placing stress on global fresh water supplies.  Emissions of greenhouse gases are still rising and are not likely to be stabilized for many years and significantly reducing emissions is not even within sight.  Adding an additional 2.4 billion people by 2050 (see details below) places a large additional demand on resources and will certainly aggravate all the problematic issues discussed above.  It is not possible for what we call civilization to exist without the consumption of a vast amount of resources.  Just contemplate how many resources will be needed for the additional 2.4 billion people projected by 2050.  How are we going to commit resources to fixing problems when there is such a demand as that?   One could posit that improvements in technology and the wise application of current knowledge would allow the existence of a complex social structure and a significant population if people would just behave themselves (which is asking a lot).  It is just that that 'significant' population could not be anywhere near the population we have today and are projected to have in a few decades. 

Let's look at a few population numbers from the UN (link below).  Note that the UN provides estimates based upon different fertility rates (low, medium and high).  I have chosen to discuss the medium projection as I think human behavior over the last decade has indicated pretty strongly that the low fertility projection is already unachievable given the factors currently driving population growth.  For reference the year 2050 population projections using the low and high fertility numbers are respectively 8.3 and 10.9 billion.  Current population is 7.2 billion and is growing at approximately 82 million a year.  In my opinion many of the factors that the UN does not articulate nor use in making their projections are significant and will dramatically impact population numbers a few decades from now (strongly to the negative side).  I attribute the UN's lack of mentioning these obvious factors as a bending to political pressures.  A serious discussion of population levels and the critical need for large reductions in population has been off the table at the policy level for a good 20 years.  It is too difficult a subject to deal with.

http://esa.un.org/wpp/index.htm (http://esa.un.org/wpp/index.htm)

Note:  All population numbers below in millions unless stated otherwise.

Rich/powerful countries/regions first.

                              Population   2013                        2050             % gain/loss

North America                           355                           446               26%
Australia/New Zealand                 28                             40               43%
Western Europe                         192                           196                  2%
Northern Europe                        100                           116                16%
the PIGS (PO, IT, GR, SP)           130                           129             minus  ~1%             
Japan                                        127                           108              minus 15%
Russia                                       143                           121              minus 15%

Total                                        1075                          1156              7% 

Comment.  As a group these are the countries with the highest per capita impact on the worlds problems.  Contrary to what we constantly hear in the media their overall population is actually increasing at a significant rate.  Further when you look at the numbers a couple of items really stick out.  The worst per capita offenders, North America and Australia, have  a combined growth projected at 102 million.  This will have a disproportionate impact on fixing problems.  This is at least the equivalent of adding 1 billion people.   European population increases will add the equivalent of another 200 million people.  The second item relates to Russia and Japan.  Does anyone think that these very rich and powerful countries are just going to let their populations decrease on the order of what is projected?  Such decreases spell huge economic problems for them and a loss of wealth and position in the world and thereby threaten their security.  They are almost certain to institute policies that will be intended to reverse the population declines forecast. So I expect the above numbers to trend higher.

The Big Guys       Population      2013                        2050             % gain/loss

China                                        1386                        1385                   0%
India                                         1252                        1620                 29%

Total                                          2638                        3005                 14%

Comment.  These countries are undergoing rapid economic growth and their per capita contributions to our global problems are rapidly rising.  Adding population at the rate projected, when coupled to their push towards economic improvement, will add massively to the factors worsening our global problems.  Their willingness to adapt their growth objectives to lessen global impacts will run hard into the fairness issue of their having to pay the price for a set of problems largely created by the group I have labeled above as the rich/powerful countries.  Why should they change if the rich and powerful do not sacrifice the most.  It is a fair point of course but, as I have said before, fairness has nothing to do with it.  The rich and powerful will never willingly drop their impact numbers to match those in China and India as it would cripple their economies and they would lose their position in the world.  People just don't do that kind of thing.

The Muslim world  Population     2013                        2050             % gain/loss

Pakistan                                     182                          271                    49%
Indonesia                                   250                          321                    28%
Iran                                             77                          101                   31%
North Africa                                210                          319                   52%
Nigeria                                       174                          440                 153%
Central Asia                                  64                            86                   34%
Afghanistan                                  31                            57                   84%
Bangladesh                                 157                          202                   29%
Iraq                                             34                            71                 109%
Saudi Arabia                                 29                            40                   38%
Turkey                                         75                            95                   27%
Ethiopia                                       94                           188                 100%
Yemen                                         24                             42                   75%

Total                                          1401                          2233                59%                             

Comment.  There are, of course, several hundred million Muslims not counted in the above list who live in places like India and other small countries I did not have the energy to count.  Getting traction on fertility issues and reducing population in conservative religious countries is an unlikely prospect due to such issues running hard into their religious beliefs.  This is going to be especially true of Islamic countries.  Plus you have the factor that the vast majority of the population of the above countries are poor, uneducated and thirsting for development.  An intractable situation.  And the issue of religion having a strong negative impact on population issues is certainly not limited to Islamic countries.  The United States, an extraordinarily religious country, which is primarily Protestant, is a perfect example of this being an issue in the Western world as well and the US could reasonably be included in any list of countries where religion exerts influence against population control.  I expect that in the US as the years pass we will see a further increase in the fertility rate as the general populace becomes poorer, less educated and more religious. As Christianity and Islam fight for control of Africa they will have, over time, a strong negative influence on population issues there as well.   Strongly Catholic countries, as typified by the Philippines and parts of Latin America, can be expected to have similar issues.

Other's           Population           2013                        2050             % gain/loss

Africa Total                                1111                        2393                  115%
East Africa                                   373                         869                   133%
North Africa                                 210                         319                    52%
Middle Africa                                136                         316                   132%
Southern Africa                              60                           75                    25%
Western Africa                              331                         815                   146%

Latin America                                617                         782                     27%
Brazil                                            200                         231                     15%
Mexico                                          122                         156                     28%

Oceania                                           38                           57                     50%

Philippines                                       98                         157                     60%

South-East Asia                              619                         788                    27%

Global                                            7162                        9551                  33%


Comments.  Note that the Philippines accounts for 35% of the growth in South-East Asia even though it's population at present is only 16% of the regions total.  Africa as a whole is projected to grow dramatically.  All the usual reasons for that growth probably apply and stopping that growth will only come when the resources that support and fuel it can no longer be obtained.  Then it gets very ugly.  Please note that the UN projects the global population to rise by 33% by 2050.


Conclusion.  I am a little disappointed in these new numbers, but they fit the facts as I understand them.  Things are worse than they appear on the surface as usual.  Do I think that in 2050 we will reach the UN number of 9.6 billion?  No.  Would I have expected to see the 8.9 billion projected in the last UN report?  Just maybe yes.  The additional 700 million people projected will dramatically change the resource picture going forward.  Those extra people require resources and what goes to them cannot be spent restructuring our world.  Every proposed solution is expensive and requires lots of time.  Those solutions just get more expensive and require even more time when there are additional new demands put on finite resources.  Those additional people just increase the likelihood of dirty fuels being consumed in larger quantities for a longer period of time, thus worsening the issue of AGW.  The worst kind of feedback.  As I have pointed out in other posts, I think that the critical path to collapse is the industrial agriculture system that produces the vast quantities of food needed to feed this volume of people.  Though the Arctic sea ice is an indicator subject and very interesting to follow, and co2 levels are rapidly rising and guaranteeing a warmer world, and methane is of growing interest but perhaps not as imminent as some think, food production is fundamental.  It is just not going to be possible to feed as many people as the UN is projecting.  It was already debatable whether we could feed the smaller numbers from the last projection; 9.6 billion people is 33% more than exist today.  Current global food production, if you eliminate food to fuel programs, would result in approximately a 25 day increase in the global grain supply each year on average.  A recent article indicated that we would need to increase global food production by near 40% just to accommodate the additional population projected by the old numbers.  The 9.6 billion number would require an increase of near 60%.  This is not happening.  Feeding the 9.6 billion would require several changes that are highly unlikely to occur.  First, the wealthy of the world would have to forgo consumption of meat grown via CAFO operations and feeding grain to animals.  This is just not going to happen as the wealthy have no stake in giving up meat consumption and no desire to do so.  Not to mention the economic interests of a large group of producers is going to come into play when they lean on their local politicians to help them out.   Second, people mention the large percentage of food which spoils before it can be consumed as a possible way to improve supply.  As a retired farmer (my 3rd career) who has direct experience with this issue I want to say that the potential improvement in this area is much smaller than one might imagine.  The most likely fixes to avoiding large wastage require a significant expenditure of additional resources (sound familiar) that are going to be in short supply.  Third, the people who are going to be in critical need of food first are obvious from the lists above and their prime problem is going to be how to pay for it.   Very few farmers can afford to give away significant amounts of food.  Many countries already cannot afford to give away food and, over time, the number who can afford to will shrink due to the added burdens of additional population growth, the deleterious effects of AGW and crumbling economies.  Eventually you will not be able to obtain food unless you have something valuable to trade for it .  The number of countries who do not produce enough food to cover their own consumption is already significant and will grow dramatically over the next several decades.  Some of those countries buy food in the global markets and some are given charity food.  The demand for free food is going to skyrocket and run into the lack of any kind of supply.  This is where the system breaks first.  The combination of climate change effects on grain yields, water shortages, rapidly increasing population and lack of money is just going to break it.  The numbers just don't add up to anything else.  We can't get to 2050 on our current path and I don't see any way we can get off it easily.  You can't fix anything if you don't fix population.  The Four Horsemen are coming to Africa and Asia and maybe a theatre near you.  Bet on it.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Jmo on July 29, 2013, 02:38:09 AM
Nice overview of a very difficult topic JimD.  You obviously did a bit of research.
So the link to the Arctic Sea Ice is that what we are witnessing there is a small piece of the overall picture?   ;)
I fear you are right.  Nice??? to see someone writing about the elephant in the room...
What I find most concerning is that, even those of the population willing to acknowledge these facts (which is relatively few), few, if any, actual solutions become clear.  This sort of discussion needs to become "mainstream".  Despite the global situation, at the moment, we are largely labelled doomsayers and alarmists unfortunately.  :-\
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: prokaryotes on July 29, 2013, 02:38:42 AM
Hardtalk - James Lovelock - Population reduction (max 1 billion) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLA-Sn6bi-U# (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLA-Sn6bi-U#)

Imho, Britain will be not able to feed, and the entire population situation will be sorted out by climate change - not by humans. We face another genetic bottleneck and human intervention to artificially reduce humans will further threaten the survival of the species.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 29, 2013, 02:59:52 AM
The second item relates to Russia and Japan.  Does anyone think that these very rich and powerful countries are just going to let their populations decrease on the order of what is projected?  Such decreases spell huge economic problems for them and a loss of wealth and position in the world and thereby threaten their security.

I think a fundamental part of the population problem is enshrined indirectly in what you mention above with Russia and Japan. Russia currently has government policies designed to encourage children, for example. However - even if it did not - I think there is a strong argument that the so called demographic transition is a short-lived effect and that a population will always tend to rise.

In the same way, I think this is a problem that has very fundamental routes within our genetics and it is very hard to see an answer. You see - evolution favours the organisms that reproduce the most effectively. So it's quite simple - anyone intelligent and informed enough to limit their reproduction, as can only make sense - is outcompeted and outnumbered by those who reproduce more numerously. In this way any genetic tendency towards common sense is destroyed and population growth is strongly stacked into our nature.

When natural forces kept our population in check as with a typical species this worked fine, I suppose. And in this way - I think our only answer lies - natural forces will once again limit our population as we lack the wisdom to do so ourselves.

In terms of how collapse happens, I personally think there is a strong case for making carrying capacity a local matter and forcing responsibility to be taken at fairly small scale and regional levels. For example - why should the UK import lots of food, causing starvation in other parts of the world - on account of having an unsustainable population? The net effect of that is to put stability under pressure in both the UK (just an arbitrary example) and the country being pressured by the UK buying food and pricing our their own citizens. It would seem more logical and rational to me to try to contain unsustainability to specific regions - or - as things get worse - to try to constrain sustainability to some regions.

That would mitigate against one of the few arguably benefits of the globalised capitalist market place - the ability to move goods around to compensate for limited duration and severity shortages (albeit usually only driven when capital exists to do so). However - once resources are categorically insufficient - I am not sure there is any real gain in the movement of resources in such a way - it is liable at that point to magnify problems rather than diminish them.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 29, 2013, 07:09:36 AM
Yes, very nicely put.

But I would like to emphasize a point you only glancingly mention--the high levels of consumption by the wealthiest are a central reason why already billions live at or below starvation-level diets.

I think you are right that this is unlikely to change--but then revolutions are always 'unlikely' before they happen. Eliminating (or even vastly reducing) the gargantuan waste of the global top 20% or so--especially their over-use of meat, dairy and fuel from food--would leave a hell of a lot for the rest to live on as they figure out how to stumble along through the next century.

So besides a global revolution against the rich (and ideally against most of the religious and economic leaders), I would add another highly unlikely but vital element in slaying the population x consumption monster.

Imagine if a universal policy was successfully implemented tomorrow that convinced all women/couples of childbearing age to postpone their having their first child till she/they were well into their 30's.

How might that affect population trends?

Just think about it for a while.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on July 29, 2013, 04:37:35 PM
JimD Thanks. Well done.
The real root of the cause for Arctic Sea Ice melting, = PEOPLE (too many)

What will be done during the next century (100 years) to reduce population?
IMHO = not much, so it gets worse.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 29, 2013, 05:19:24 PM
But I would like to emphasize a point you only glancingly mention--the high levels of consumption by the wealthiest are a central reason why already billions live at or below starvation-level diets.

An important corollary, as often it's wealthier middle class westerners (who have colossal resource footprints and who reflect the "rich" of the planet) who express the sentiment that population is the problem. Population x resource consumption is the problem - and hence people in the west contribute just as much (more, really) by massive resource footprints as those who reproduce at unsustainable levels.

Both types of behaviour would need to be destroyed, and it seems to me thus far it's actually easier to find short term answers to population (namely the demographic transition and ruthless government policies) than to excess resource consumption. Better educated, more affluent women with access to reproductive medicine appear to be capable of choosing to have less children (even if there is that troublesome residue that I think will eventually genetically outcompete the less fertile). Said option capable women and their families do not appear to be capable of choosing not to drive the big 4x4, turn up the air conditioning, fly off on foreign holidays, etc.

Imagine if a universal policy was successfully implemented tomorrow that convinced all women/couples of childbearing age to postpone their having their first child till she/they were well into their 30's.

I think that's a factor in the demographic transition. In the UK at least, I'm pretty sure the crippling burdens placed upon young people in terms of trying to find an economic foundation to live delay reproduction - a positive effect.

The problem is - not everyone does it - and as I mentioned - those who do not will become ascendant in genetic terms, unless you're going to enforce it - ruthlessly (which basically becomes a form of eugenics).

Otherwise, the less responsible win - as evolution typically rewards immediate reproduction and out competing other traits.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: prokaryotes on July 29, 2013, 05:32:43 PM
http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights13 (http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights13)

May 12, 2011
Education Leads to Lower Fertility and Increased Prosperity
Brigid Fitzgerald Reading

As the world continues to add close to 80 million people each year, high population growth is running up against the limits of our finite planet, threatening global economic and political stability. To stay within the bounds of the earth’s natural resources, the world’s population will have to stabilize.

The United Nations’ recently revised “medium” projection shows world population exceeding 9 billion by 2045. In the “high” projection, which assumes high levels of fertility, world population would top 10 billion by the same year. But spreading hunger and poverty, along with the conflict and disease that come with them, could forcibly curtail growth before we reach 9 billion. Alternatively, the “low” projection suggests it is possible for world population to peak at just over 8 billion around 2045 if we voluntarily make rapid reductions in family size.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.earth-policy.org%2Fimages%2Fuploads%2Fgraphs_tables%2Fhighlights13_fertility.PNG&hash=346e8c5fea0abeb081d3dbf3a5b47400)

Fertility rates tend to be highest in the world’s least developed countries. When mortality rates decline quickly but fertility rates fail to follow, countries can find it harder to reduce poverty. Poverty, in turn, increases the likelihood of having many children, trapping families and countries in a vicious cycle. Conversely, countries that quickly slow population growth can receive a “demographic bonus”: the economic and social rewards that come from a smaller number of young dependents relative to the number of working adults.

For longer term population stability the goal is to reach replacement-level fertility, which is close to 2 children per woman in places where mortality rates are low. Industrial countries as a group have moved below this level. Some developing countries have made progress in reducing fertility, but fertility rates in the least developed countries as a group remain above 4 children per woman.


One of the most effective ways to lower population growth and reduce poverty is to provide adequate education for both girls and boys. Countries in which more children are enrolled in school—even at the primary level—tend to have strikingly lower fertility rates.

See attached image. See full table. http://www.earth-policy.org/datacenter/xls/highlights13_3.xls (http://www.earth-policy.org/datacenter/xls/highlights13_3.xls)


Female education is especially important. Research consistently shows that women who are empowered through education tend to have fewer children and have them later. If and when they do become mothers, they tend to be healthier and raise healthier children, who then also stay in school longer. They earn more money with which to support their families, and contribute more to their communities’ economic growth. Indeed, educating girls can transform whole communities.

School meal programs help improve all children’s attendance in low-income countries, but for girls the benefit is profound. Girls are more likely to be expected to contribute to their families by working at home, so sending each additional girl to school may cost her family not only tuition but labor as well. Providing free meals at school helps to offset these costs, particularly when programs include take-home rations. As a result, girls are both more likely to go to school and to keep coming back year after year.

This is significant because girls who reach secondary school are especially likely to have fewer children.

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.earth-policy.org%2Fimages%2Fuploads%2Fgraphs_tables%2Fhighlights13_edutfr.PNG&hash=3bcd4b85a9dce448eff6889830f16bdb)
Worldwide, 69 million elementary-school-aged children were not in school in 2008, 37 million fewer than in 1999. By 2005, almost two thirds of developing countries had achieved gender parity in elementary school enrollment. Still, a majority of children not in school are female, and early marriage and motherhood keep many of the world’s poorest girls from completing secondary school.

Extending educational opportunities to all the world’s children can clearly reap vast rewards in lower population growth—which in turn brings greater stability, prosperity, and environmental sustainability.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ritter on July 29, 2013, 06:14:18 PM
Excellent post, JimD.

There is no easy way out of our box. As you say, the Four Horsemen cometh. Conquest, War, Famine and Death. (I say this with no religious apocalyptic meaning, only that it has been observed before in history)

When I consider our collective plight between population, climate change and energy/natural resource constraints, I see no way to avoid conflict and hunger. With those always comes disease. Nature and human nature will correct our numbers. The only questions are how far will we fall, when and how many other forms of life will we drag down with us. Oh happy days.  :'(
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on July 29, 2013, 07:07:48 PM
Wili

Without a doubt it is per capita consumption that counts on an individual level.  Or, if an entire country has high consumption, then at that level.  It is a hard nut to crack.  That is why I emphasized the growth in North America (and Europe to a lesser extent).  Us rich folk in terms of emissions are equivalent to maybe a hundred average Africans. 

I also like your point about revolutions.  I just don't understand the complacency I see.  When I was farming and selling in farmers markets in Wash DC I would often get in discussions with the 20 something's about farming and the state of the world.  I often ended up asking the one's who were most passionate about the issue of AGW why they were not out tearing down the system if they really believed that it had no future and had to be changed.  I seldom got a good answer.





So besides a global revolution against the rich (and ideally against most of the religious and economic leaders), I would add another highly unlikely but vital element in slaying the population x consumption monster.

Imagine if a universal policy was successfully implemented tomorrow that convinced all women/couples of childbearing age to postpone their having their first child till she/they were well into their 30's.

How might that affect population trends?

Just think about it for a while.

I have actually run umbers on this very idea for a few blog posts in the past.  See below.  A caveat on my numbers is that they are an approximation and a real mathematician like WebHubbleTelescope, if he is lurking, is going to choke because I am not properly recalculating each year taking into account the changing population.  He probably knows off hand the correct formula to plug the numbers into but I don't.  But here you go.

Global mortality rate is 8.37/1000 people

Global birth rate is 19.15/1000 people

2013 global population 7,162,000,000

Assume no births anywhere on earth and you get a population reduction in year 1 of 197,098,000.

59,946,000 deaths
137,152,000 births

Assuming this population change occurs each year you get reductions along the following lines.

5 years out  = minus 985,490,000        global population at 6,176,500,000 billion

10 years out = minus 1,970,980,000     global population at 5,191,020,000 billion

15 years out = minus 2,956,470,000     global population at 4,205,530,000 billion

20 years out = minus 3,941,960,000     global population at 3,220,040,000 billion

So I accept the proposal if we define it as no births on earth for 20 years and then somewhat lower than replacement level for another 20 years.  If we did this we just might make it out of our dilemma.

I fully realize that we will never implement such a scheme.  But it would work in a fairly reasonable fashion and be approximately fair.  I also consider it a moral and ethical choice when one considers the pain and suffering we are bequeathing to future generations if we continue on our current course.  We created the problem and we are morally obligated to try and fix it.  This option addresses the problem and the burden would fall on us.  It would also free up resources to work the technological changes required to maintain a reasonable version of civilization.
 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on July 29, 2013, 07:12:45 PM
Thanks for raising this important and difficult issue.

<snip>
Female education is especially important. Research consistently shows that women who are empowered through education tend to have fewer children and have them later. If and when they do become mothers, they tend to be healthier and raise healthier children, who then also stay in school longer. They earn more money with which to support their families, and contribute more to their communities’ economic growth. Indeed, educating girls can transform whole communities.

School meal programs help improve all children’s attendance in low-income countries, but for girls the benefit is profound. Girls are more likely to be expected to contribute to their families by working at home, so sending each additional girl to school may cost her family not only tuition but labor as well. Providing free meals at school helps to offset these costs, particularly when programs include take-home rations. As a result, girls are both more likely to go to school and to keep coming back year after year.

This is significant because girls who reach secondary school are especially likely to have fewer children.

Another thing keeping girls from school is lack of proper toilets. In India, 23% of girls drop out of school when they reach puberty, according to a study by Plan India and AC Nielson (widely mentioned but I haven't yet tracked down online).
Quote
"When puberty kicks in that has a massive impact, and it's been evidenced that it is preventing a lot of young girls from going to school," says Sonya Timms, director at Magic Bus UK. "It's the embarrassment, it's the taboo of having a period in India, and not having a facility to deal with that when you are at school is highly problematic."

Without a functioning toilet at school, many girls are forced use nearby open spaces. The risk of harassment is real, and reports of sexual assaults are increasingly common. As girls approach puberty, the lack of school toilets and the related fears around safety cause many mothers to remove their daughters from the education system altogether.
The unsanitary truth about gender inequality in India (http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2013/jun/06/unsanitary-truth-gender-india), The Guardian 10 June 2013


On the subject of population and religion, Hans Rosling's TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html) from last year is worth a look. In his inimitable style he demonstrates it has much less to do with religion than factors that affect people everywhere: infant mortality, need for child labour, access to education and access to contraception. I don't think his conclusion is invalidated by the subsequent upward revision in the UN stats.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 29, 2013, 08:51:10 PM
Another thing keeping girls from school is lack of proper toilets. In India, 23% of girls drop out of school when they reach puberty, according to a study by Plan India and AC Nielson (widely mentioned but I haven't yet tracked down online).
Quote
"When puberty kicks in that has a massive impact, and it's been evidenced that it is preventing a lot of young girls from going to school," says Sonya Timms, director at Magic Bus UK. "It's the embarrassment, it's the taboo of having a period in India, and not having a facility to deal with that when you are at school is highly problematic."

That's an interesting argument - I wonder how many other surprisingly trivial changes could be made that would potentially have far reaching effects if anyone studied the problem in detail?

Ironic that there are so many international treaties and agreements defining how the world and associated resources should be divided up and the people controlled - and so damn little defining a basic minimum standard of living guaranteed under international law.

[EDIT] Fixed quote tag mismatch.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on July 29, 2013, 09:09:02 PM
Prokaryotes

Hi, I see your posts all over the place.

I don't have any real disagreements with the information you provided.  I have read a lot over the years along the same lines and looked at the figures.  The data seems pretty accurate.

The problems arguments along those lines have is that, while the effects and data seem valid, they are the answer to a different question than the one we face.  Education and economic development lead to lower birth rates and after a long period of time you will start to get population reductions.  But we are talking here about a timeframe out towards the end of the century.  Note that the UN figures project 10.9 billion in 2100 and the population still slightly growing.  Even if your factors reduce those numbers by 10% (which would be a huge change) we would still be screwed.  There is a huge momentum to population growth even after one reaches replacement level fertility.  You see this in the numbers.

Another really bad aspect of a very slow process like this is that as the
Quote
Education Leads to Lower Fertility and Increased Prosperity
we dare not forget the second part of the title of the article.  Prosperity can also be translated into more consumption. 

If you take the poorest 1 billion people, who currently are responsible for a comparatively small amount of the dangerous emissions, and raise their prosperity to be equivalent to the next higher 1 billion you will also dramatically raise the amount of dangerous emissions they are responsible for.  This is a critical issue.  No one wants to or is likely willing to dramatically reduce their levels of affluence and consumption.  On the contrary everyone wants to raise their affluence.  Even the rich.  The evil endless growth model.  The numbers don't work here.

In an ideal world everyone would have an equal chance at education and opportunity.  I would like that world to exist. But it can not exist with a population far beyond the carrying capacity of the planet.  Finite resources and a rapidly growing population are going to go hand in hand with increasing poverty and lack of access to education, sanitation, opportunity, etc.  If everything was divided up equally and everyone on earth had exactly the same standard of living we would still be far above the carrying capacity and driving the climate into chaos.  We simply 'have' to dramatically reduce the global population quickly in order to change the numbers to ones which we can live with. 

I am going to morph into Anne's comment here as it directly relates to the above.  Mr. Rosling is essentially making the same argument as above.  Minimizing the effect of religion on the population levels is great for being politically correct but it is surely ignoring a big factor.  People constantly dance around religion if it relates negatively to any issue.  Religion almost always gets a free pass because if you don't do it you get loudly and quickly beat to death.  Here in the US it is almost impossible to even discuss family planning, contraception or abortion.  We are much more restrictive now than 30 years ago.  This is the power of religious opposition.  A host of different religions from Catholics, to Mormons, to Evangelicals, to Muslims are extremely opposed to even making fertility a choice much less ever agreeing to dramatic reductions in population.  In times of great stress and growing poverty, which seem certain to occur, the power of religion tends to increase.  Not to mention authoritarian forms of government (look at the US lately).

We talk all the time about how different factors in play are going to worsen our living situation over the next few decades.  As compared to most here I seem to take the longer view and think that reaching the collapse point will take another 40 years or so.  In the time between now and then the amount of resources available per capita is going to go down dramatically until the system eventually breaks.  How is it in any way possible in those circumstances to bring the affluence level of a very large segment of the global population up to an acceptable standard?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on July 29, 2013, 11:32:01 PM
Minimizing the effect of religion on the population levels is great for being politically correct but it is surely ignoring a big factor.  People constantly dance around religion if it relates negatively to any issue.  Religion almost always gets a free pass because if you don't do it you get loudly and quickly beat to death.  Here in the US it is almost impossible to even discuss family planning, contraception or abortion.  We are much more restrictive now than 30 years ago.  This is the power of religious opposition.  A host of different religions from Catholics, to Mormons, to Evangelicals, to Muslims are extremely opposed to even making fertility a choice much less ever agreeing to dramatic reductions in population.  In times of great stress and growing poverty, which seem certain to occur, the power of religion tends to increase.  Not to mention authoritarian forms of government (look at the US lately).
Don't get me started on religion. Suffice it to say that when women have sufficient education and access to contraception they start using it, whatever the priests say. Majority Catholic countries such as Spain, Italy and Poland, for example, have some of the lowest birthrates in the world, well below replacement. Same goes for Qatar, as mentioned in Rosling's talk.

But you're right about fundamentalism. From this side of the pond we watch with incomprehension as state by state American women are losing the battle for control of their own bodies.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: prokaryotes on July 29, 2013, 11:58:55 PM
We simply 'have' to dramatically reduce the global population quickly in order to change the numbers to ones which we can live with. 
But is this even possible? I don't think so! All the sick ways you could imagine to bring down populations haven been tried in one way or another before, and they do not work! They only cripple and degenerate the society and make things worse.
 

We talk all the time about how different factors in play are going to worsen our living situation over the next few decades.  As compared to most here I seem to take the longer view and think that reaching the collapse point will take another 40 years or so.  In the time between now and then the amount of resources available per capita is going to go down dramatically until the system eventually breaks.  How is it in any way possible in those circumstances to bring the affluence level of a very large segment of the global population up to an acceptable standard?

But it depends on how you run resource management in the first place. We need to entirely change the way how we treat nature - how we think about our impact. We need to radically reduce our CO2 footprints and must replace resources (think logging), we need to stop slash and burn, adopt CO2 negative practices(biochar), stop over fishing, stop polluting the environment, ban CO2 emitting cars in cities, recycling everything, etc etc -  become smart with resources and our environment!

And then you have education and 1 child per family on top of this, and benefits when you "not" reproduce, and then later in 50 years we start with terra forming mars and then in 100 years living on mars might be even nice - once we established an underground environment with forests and ecosystems! Seriously but this is the only way how you can control populations - to aim for the stars.


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 30, 2013, 12:22:16 AM
Seriously but this is the only way how you can control populations - to aim for the stars.

Disagree strongly.

If we're moving off world because we filled up the Earth and 100% utilised it's resources - how much longer would it take to fill up a second world? And a third and a fourth?

That is the problem - exponential growth. Keep doubling the population and tell me how long you can find new living space?

If we can't even solve our problems in terms of a single world, I don't understand how adding an arbitrary number of worlds to the equation would ultimately meaningfully solve the problem - even if it was within our technological grasp.

It's the old thing - if a pond is being filled with algae and the population doubles every generation, and a generation is an hour - how much warning do you get that the pond is going to be full? Thereafter, how fast would you consume a second pond - and a third and fourth and so on?

Until or unless our species can manage itself rationally on the macroscopic scale, moving off world is futile. It only represents the blowing up of an ever bigger bubble for an ever bigger crash. By temporarily boosting carrying capacity using modern technology - and not adapting our behaviour to be macroscopically rational - we have created a situation today where a whole planet with billions of excess lives can crash all at once. That's the recipe for the worst total conflict in human history when we crash...
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: prokaryotes on July 30, 2013, 12:29:16 AM
Seriously but this is the only way how you can control populations - to aim for the stars.

Disagree strongly.

If we're moving off world because we filled up the Earth and 100% utilised it's resources - how much longer would it take to fill up a second world? And a third and a fourth?

That is the problem - exponential growth. Keep doubling the population and tell me how long you can find new living space?
Unfortunately we have to do this in order to survive (climate change is not the only problem)


Stephen Hawking: How can the human race survive the next hundred years?
Stephen Hawking: How can the human race survive the next hundred years? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur27W9F2kPw#)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 30, 2013, 12:33:34 AM
Unfortunately we have to do this in order to survive (climate change is not the only problem)

Very long term I agree - but only because sooner or later this planet won't be habitable or a mass extinction event beyond our control or ability to manage will arise.

Moving off planet for resources or to disperse population would only assure the expansion of the human cancer out into the rest of the universe. If we can't be good citizens of our own home - I think that would be a very bad thing. Our survival is not necessarily the most important thing - if we were going to go to the stars as a gang of resource plundering world destroying maniacs in the mold of western civilisation - I'd be just as happy seeing us extinct personally.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 30, 2013, 07:08:14 AM
If we utterly destroy the precious jewel of a planet we were granted, do we really deserve to be given another, do you think?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on July 30, 2013, 04:26:38 PM
On the subject to broadening human survival probabilities by establishing colonies on other planets I will offer the following as a life long fan of science fiction.

1.  We are still very far from the sophistication of technology needed to accomplish this.

2.  We are currently under severe resource  constraints which are going to quickly get much worse.  We simply can't devote the massive resources needed to colonize any other planet or we push ourselves into collapse even quicker.

3. As to deserving anther home I must say deserve has nothing to do with it.  The universe has no feelings and in matters not, in the great scheme of things, whether humans are around to watch the show or not.  It only matters to us.

4.  We fix our problems here on Earth or we have no other options.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 30, 2013, 05:24:27 PM
ccg wrote: "it's wealthier middle class westerners (who have colossal resource footprints and who reflect the "rich" of the planet) who express the sentiment that population is the problem."

I would go further and say that it is often privileged, relatively wealthy, educated, white, men who tend to turn toward population as the ultimate problem, and they often see it as the fault of under-privileged, poor, un-educated, colored women; i.e. their polar opposites on nearly every front, and those at the very bottom as far as opportunity goes, while they/we are near the top.

I think the discussion here is more nuanced than that, but, as a relatively well off white dude, I try to keep this in mind--it is just too easy to say that all the worlds problems emanate from people who are as different from myself as is humanly possible. Kinda let's us off the hook a bit.

I also think it is important to see who benefits from overpopulation--religious leaders have been mentioned already; but business leaders also are always looking for an ever-larger new pool of ever-cheaper labor. If over population was really seen by TPTB as a major threat to capitalism, all sorts of resources would be thrown at it till it was 'solved' IMHO.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on July 30, 2013, 05:36:46 PM
I also think it is important to see who benefits from overpopulation--religious leaders have been mentioned already; but business leaders also are always looking for an ever-larger new pool of ever-cheaper labor.
This, absolutely. Not just pools of labour, but markets! Markets! It feels as if we are living inside a giant Ponzi scheme.
If over population was really seen by TPTB as a major threat to capitalism, all sorts of resources would be thrown at it till it was 'solved' IMHO.
That's assuming that people are rational, and that they care about the future (http://www.answers.com/topic/eat-drink-and-be-merry-for-tomorrow-we-die).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on July 30, 2013, 05:41:05 PM
Prokaryotes

We simply 'have' to dramatically reduce the global population quickly in order to change the numbers to ones which we can live with. 
But is this even possible? I don't think so! All the sick ways you could imagine to bring down populations haven been tried in one way or another before, and they do not work! They only cripple and degenerate the society and make things worse.

Yes it is possible.  A version of Wili's and my's idea above would work.  And it would not qualify as 'sick' in any way.  Just very difficult to accept even though necessary.  But when you have no choice...you have no choice!  Even if we sit on our asses and do nothing we are making a choice.  That choice certainly IS sick as it condemns future people to massive suffering and pain when they are not responsible for the cause.  WE should take responsibility and make the choice and suffer the consequences ourselves.  (now is the point when someone should repeat to me a version of one of my favorite sayings.  But that would require us to be 'fair' and fair has nothing to do with it.)
 
We talk all the time about how different factors in play are going to worsen our living situation over the next few decades.  As compared to most here I seem to take the longer view and think that reaching the collapse point will take another 40 years or so.  In the time between now and then the amount of resources available per capita is going to go down dramatically until the system eventually breaks.  How is it in any way possible in those circumstances to bring the affluence level of a very large segment of the global population up to an acceptable standard?

But it depends on how you run resource management in the first place. We need to entirely change the way how we treat nature - how we think about our impact. We need to radically reduce our CO2 footprints and must replace resources (think logging), we need to stop slash and burn, adopt CO2 negative practices(biochar), stop over fishing, stop polluting the environment, ban CO2 emitting cars in cities, recycling everything, etc etc -  become smart with resources and our environment!

Well I understand the frustration I see in your comment, but you know as well as I do that even if we were to improve the way we use resources by a huge factor that adding 2.4 billion more people still requires the consumption of a vast amount of resources which could have been better used to get out of our dilemma.  It is the Red Queen problem.  We just end up running faster to stay in the same place.  Adding population guarantees it will be much harder (impossible??) to solve our problems.  And we are already 4-5 times our carrying capacity so adding 1-2 times more is insane.  There are a thousand things we need to fix in how we use resources and a hundred ways in which we need to change our fundamental nature of behavior.  But, if we don't reduce population dramatically, while changing resource use patterns (a very expensive and resource consumptive thing to do) we still have to maintain in functioning order the current infrastructure until it is no longer needed (a very expensive and resource consumptive thing to do) and we would have to devote very critical resources to the extra 2.4 billion people (for whom it would be immoral to not give them substance?).  On top of that you would be requiring that we have to (starting about 30 years in the past), in the timeframe of instantly, completely overhaul our basic human nature which evolved over a couple of million years?  All of this is an impossible feat IMHO. 

We have to choose between a managed collapse and an unmanaged collapse; there are no longer any other options feasible.  Managed collapse can only succeed if there is an immediate program to dramatically reduce population while working to maintain a much smaller functioning (sustainable??) civilization.  It is the only way we end up having enough resources to make the conversion while leaving enough for our surviving descendants.  I strongly suspect we are choosing the unmanaged option.

The possible success of BAU approaches which ignore AGW and our other problems, essentially, are entirely based upon the divine intervention of God or the religion of Technical Progress.  Miracle based thought processes are at play.  I don't share their faith!

The possible success of Progressive BAU approaches which accept AGW and our other problems, essentially, are based upon ignoring the population problem and assuming a complete overhaul of basic human nature.  Another form of miracle based thought processes is at play here too.  Once again, I don't share their faith!

The stars?  We live in the here and now.  We solve our current problems or we don't get the option of reaching higher.  We deal with reality or reality deals with us.


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on July 30, 2013, 06:16:47 PM
Wili

ccg wrote: "it's wealthier middle class westerners (who have colossal resource footprints and who reflect the "rich" of the planet) who express the sentiment that population is the problem."

I would go further and say that it is often privileged, relatively wealthy, educated, white, men who tend to turn toward population as the ultimate problem, and they often see it as the fault of under-privileged, poor, un-educated, colored women; i.e. their polar opposites on nearly every front, and those at the very bottom as far as opportunity goes, while they/we are near the top.

I think the discussion here is more nuanced than that, but, as a relatively well off white dude, I try to keep this in mind--it is just too easy to say that all the worlds problems emanate from people who are as different from myself as is humanly possible. Kinda let's us off the hook a bit.

I also think it is important to see who benefits from overpopulation--religious leaders have been mentioned already; but business leaders also are always looking for an ever-larger new pool of ever-cheaper labor. If over population was really seen by TPTB as a major threat to capitalism, all sorts of resources would be thrown at it till it was 'solved' IMHO.

As you and ccg have shown it is easy to come up with all sorts of reasons to get suspicious of someone's motivations and opinions based upon assumptions of wealth, class and race (witness the Trayvon Martin debacle).  Often these assumptions are accurate and do have an effect on one's opinions; whether conscious or subconscious.  For example I am now a fairly affluent white man who lives in the US and I have lots of advantages though I was not born with money and grew up in a very tough place that was full of racism and close-mindedness. In my close relations there are whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.  There are Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals, Mormons, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, and Agnostics.  There are criminals, clergy, businessmen, some have devoted their lives to workers rights, and the environment, their country, but most just live like everyone else.  In my life and work I have traveled to about half the places on earth and directly witnessed many things most people only talk about.  Perhaps I am biased as all people are and often don't even realize it.  Most people form their opinions on what our problems are using their subconscious and basic human nature reactions. That explains most people regardless of how wealthy they are or where they are from.  People everywhere are pretty much all alike. BTW I did not take offense with the above but felt I should respond anyway.

There are, of course, many who will benefit in the short-term from growing populations.  In the short-term.  But what is the strongest response of basic human nature.  Short-term considerations.  We discount the future rapidly.

But tell me how the arguments about population don't stand on their own rational foundation.  What is the carrying capacity of the earth for any given level of per capita consumption.  We are well past any reasonable number.  Perhaps 5 times.  And we are planning on adding a couple more times.  The world cannot support 5 billion much less 9 billion.   So we better fix it.  Right?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: prokaryotes on July 30, 2013, 06:19:57 PM
We have to choose between a managed collapse and an unmanaged collapse; there are no longer any other options feasible. 
I like to read more about it.

Dr Jospeh Tainter points out the rapid collapse of societies - rapid simplification in this video
http://climatestate.com/2013/05/14/collapse-of-complex-societies-by-joseph-tainter/ (http://climatestate.com/2013/05/14/collapse-of-complex-societies-by-joseph-tainter/)

I don't study collapse but to me it seems with BAU we end up in a kind of post apocalyptic scenario where are many small isolated groups fighting on their own, for survival. But if we approach this situation in the developed world, there will be no way we can reduce emissions and advance clean technologies.

We would need a international society with strict rules - to enforce sustainability and low CO2 per capita.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on July 30, 2013, 08:51:46 PM
Perhaps I am biased as all people are and often don't even realize it.  Most people form their opinions on what our problems are using their subconscious and basic human nature reactions. That explains most people regardless of how wealthy they are or where they are from.  People everywhere are pretty much all alike. BTW I did not take offense with the above but felt I should respond anyway.

I certainly wasn't accusing you of approaching it from the knee jerk simplistic blame "someone else" attitude that is popular amongst a certain segment of the comfortable western population - after all - population is a very rational problem. Where it becomes irrational is - as wili says - when people take the viewpoint it is the only problem (or even the biggest problem, more on this later) and that they can continue to live as usual deferring all the blame onto exploding populations in (for example) Africa.

But tell me how the arguments about population don't stand on their own rational foundation.  What is the carrying capacity of the earth for any given level of per capita consumption.  We are well past any reasonable number.  Perhaps 5 times.  And we are planning on adding a couple more times.  The world cannot support 5 billion much less 9 billion.   So we better fix it.  Right?

I can certainly agree they do stand on a rational foundation but the truth is more nuanced. The world could arguably support 10 billion+ if we all live with a low enough resource footprint, stop wasting food, mostly eat plants, etc. - I'm pretty sure that's scientifically possible to predicate a population on that level on this planet for at least some time (enough time to get population down with less dramatic measures than trying to totally stop reproduction).

The problem here is that said affluent people who jump on this single issue overlook the consumption side of the equation. The overconsuming westerners in the equation would need to live more like people in poorer African nations to make this population viable for any period of time. The world faces many problems due to the large number of people present but most of those problems are regionally specific - habitat destruction (leading to loss of species), deforestation (does have some global impact I grant) and so on. The biggest and most immediate problem we face, as far as I can see, is abrupt climate change - mostly caused by the prolific spewing into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. The responsibility for that lies (in historical terms) very strongly with a minority of the global population. Had they not done this, we would have had more time to resolve the population issue - if the population boom had even occurred in the first place without this grossly stupid exploitation of fossil fuels (which I question, as the short term burst of cheap energy from fossil fuels and agrochemicals is arguably what enabled the current ridiculous population boom).

So by two measures - the abuse of fossil fuels to exceed long term carrying capacity, and the direct damage to the earth system through alteration of atmospheric chemistry - the most immediate problem is arguably not a result of gross population numbers but of the behaviours of a minority (albeit significant) section of the population. Worse - their selfish and destructive behaviour has become an infectious meme, an aspiration for the massive numbers of people who do not enjoy the short term benefits of their abuse.

So can the world support 10 billion people? I would argue that anyone prepared to argue that the collapse of civilisation can be deferred by decades on account of "slack" in the agricultural system (ie, you  ;) ) - is also arguing that it can - as there is already sufficient capacity to feed them, if only it were managed properly (not withstanding that technical ability and actual outcomes are very different things, on this I think we agree).

In this vein - if we were to prune billions from the global population and leave perhaps only 1 billion people living in the western lifestyle - we would still be nowhere near sustainable, and still ultimately be facing a planetary crisis. How many people can the planet sustainably support with a carbon footprint of 17.2 tonnes/year/capita (recent US figure) and associated other resource footprints?

My contention is that the answer is considerably less than even just the populations directly causing the immediate problem today and accordingly anyone taking that viewpoint is therefore also living in an overpopulated society (yes, I mean the western nations). Thus a logical pursuit of the argument brings the chickens home to roost anyway.

I'd like to stress I do not think you are selling population as the sole problem, I am not responding to that imagined argument - merely detailing why I think the population problem is capable of being emphasised too strongly and why one must take care to avoid the risk of it distracting from other critically immediate problems (a planet undergoing abrupt climate change).

So what could one do?

Your suggestion (while admittedly impractical and highly unlikely, as unfortunately any suggestions may well be) is a total cessation of reproduction for a couple of decades. Mathematically it works - but look at the issues raised in China even where people are permitted 1-2 children?

I would argue strongly against this solution. It may be palatable to those who already had the chance to raise a family - but by what basis does anyone have a right to deny reproduction (a fundamental tenet of life) to another? For me, as a relatively younger person, it falls in the same category of being preached at to eat less meat. For anyone affluent to tell me I should sacrifice (having had a fairly austere life on the whole, extremely austere by the standards of the UK) reeks of hypocrisy.

Mathematically this problem has been provable for decades now, and hence as with eating meat - I should want to see some penalty for those who did it anyway, before I could agree to it being reasonable for me to comply with a solution.

This gets down to one of my strongly held beliefs that a lot of the population problem arises from social injustice - the inability of humanity to protect the weaker and poorer members and ensure through force of international law a basic minimum living standard as a solid human right.

The most effective way to cut fertility rate is to alter the incentives that drive peoples actions. In poorer nations families are numerous for a number of relatively easily influenced factors:

And one key difficult to influence factor:

Demographic transition is an effective way to lower fertility rate for at least some time (and I don't think the upper limit is really known - as too many countries start to provide incentives for having children once they're concerned their population is falling)

Additionally by prolonging the amount of time in education and increasing the difficulty of starting a family financially you can also reduce fertility further. I don't like this myself - young people of my age or younger suffer a great deal compared to their parents in western societies thanks to the adverse economic conditions - but it is nonetheless effective at postponing families.

Finally there is one other aspect - and it's going to sound rather cold and heartless - but we shouldn't underwrite other peoples reproductive choices too heavily. There is a class of people in the richer societies who have children in the expectation everyone else will pay to support them. They are the people who usually have the most numerous families and they are why I am skeptical about the long term prospects of the demographic transition.

This is a subtly different argument from saying we shouldn't support people in adversity - in that I am strongly in favour of the idea of a welfare state, but provided that people are behaving in a reasonably responsible and ethical way.

I realise it is very politically incorrect to say that there is a class of people willing to live and reproduce spending their whole lives underwritten by the taxpayer - but I have met (and got to know) some people who fall into exactly this category in the UK in the past. They really do exist, and they represent dead weight on a society (in fact, my father essentially falls into this category, although it isn't he I was referring to having known).

By the same token, if we are sending international food aid on a regular or permanent basis to other nations - something is wrong. We are then establishing a larger problem than we are solving. In some cases, of course - this is not due to the nation in question being above carrying capacity - I think serious questions ought to be asked about the rush for African farmland, for example.

I would summarise this down very simply though - is there any good reason any region on the planet should be operating far above it's own local carrying capacity? Is it not then becoming a drain on other regions and distributing vulnerability beyond it's own borders? This definition would include my home nation - the UK - that uses it's wealth to import a significant portion of the food it consumes. It is above carrying capacity - and hence overpopulated.

Finally, this respect to the welfare argument (while again emphasising that I am in favour of supporting people through hardship) I should note I am the oldest of 8 children. We grew up in poverty in rural Scotland. My family was heavily subsidised by the UK taxpayer. In a sense, the UK taxpayer fed, clothed and sheltered me (albeit in a rather meagre way on all counts) as a child.

Am I grateful? I am not sure. If my family had not been underwritten by the taxpayer, there are several outcomes:

In our case, it would've been likely been the last option - earlier disintegration. My mother left my father to return to England and to re-establish a career in medicine - with 8 children. By considerable hard work on her part and a very difficult uphill climb from her position quality of life for the youngest few children was raised to more normal levels for the UK. Had this happened sooner, less children would have been produced and the life outcome would have been better (ironically the trashed economy has slightly inverted ultimate life outcomes to date as adults).

While it is equally possible that by withdrawing the support from the taxpayer for this set of arrangements - or somehow enforcing some responsibility - that we would have known even greater hardship, I am not sure that is a given. There is a very real possibility that by facilitating this irresponsible behaviour by these two adults that not only were more children produced - but the relative hardship of their lives was prolonged by the minimal support of the state.

Of course, I don't believe anybody should have having 8 children. 2 ought to be plenty.

Apologies for rambling.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 30, 2013, 10:52:45 PM
I will try to respond to the thoughtful postings in more detail when I have a bit more time. For now, may I emphasize that I do think that this is generally a much more nuanced discussion here than I have had elsewhere on the web where the kind of projection I was talking about is quite blatant. I do think that population is a fundamental problem, but one that is secondary for most of us on blogs like this to consumption, since we are (presumably) doing more of the latter than the former (though I could be wrong about that).

It is also of course an inherently more difficult thing to address directly. Just think about trying to have a conversation with your neighbors: They may well think it intrusive if you ask why they have such a big car, eat so much meat, buy so much crap...But they will definitely think it more than intrusive if you start asking how often they plan to have unprotected sex in the coming years--in fact you may find your self getting punched in the nose.

And this is a neighbor--presumably someone you share vast amounts in common in terms of culture, language, nationality, race, class... Now picture walking up to someone in a different country who speak a different language, is of a different race, class, and culture from you...and asking prying questions about how much sex they have, why they have it as often as they do and in the manner they do...good luck with that.

But back to the main point, here is the first thing I came to doing a quick search that deals with the consumption vs population issue by putting some hard numbers on things that put it in some perspective:

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F%5Burl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fpublic.wsu.edu%2F%7Emreed%2F380American%2520Consumption_files%2Fimage002.jpg%5Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fpublic.wsu.edu%2F%7Emreed%2F380American%2520Consumption_files%2Fimage002.jpg%5B%2Furl%5D&hash=f9b4eee00e9b5df531e1c8b34f734708)

http://public.wsu.edu/~mreed/380American%20Consumption.htm (http://public.wsu.edu/~mreed/380American%20Consumption.htm)

Quote
World's poorest 20% consume 1.5%

World's richest 20% consume 76.6%
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on July 31, 2013, 12:12:04 AM
wili......

I like your perspective and have a bias for data based evaluation.....

Lets look at two of the largest world economies, both of which are held up as major contributors to global warming.

The U.S., in 2010, had a per capita GDP of $42,777. China had a per capita GDP of $7,027 or 16% of the U.S. This is not entirely accurate regarding per capita consumption as a large portion of the product made in China is exported and the U.S. is its largest trading partner.

If the world is going to address global warming in a meaningful way, the U.S. is going to have to cut down on its appetite. I am not optimistic we are up to the task. I live in the U.S. where greed is considered a virtue.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 31, 2013, 02:35:59 AM
Thanks, SH. I like your perspective, too. I live in the US, too. I know essentially no one else who has taken reducing their carbon footprint enough to give up carbon-powered long distance travel, a a "sacrifice" that is essentially painless. Especially now that you can see what all of your favorite far flung friends and relatives are having for dinner every evening on facebook.

It is hard to conclude anything other than that we are totally and utterly f'ed.

On more quote from the above article:

"The poorest 10% accounted for just 0.5% and the wealthiest 10% accounted for 59% of all the consumption." IIRC, the proportion get more and more skewed the more you go down and (especially) up the wealth scale.

In other words there could be a major 'die off' of the poorest billion or so people, and it would barely be noticed in terms of global resource use and pollution--a few more stakes and an extra trip or two a year by the richest would obliterate the difference completely.

A die off of the top billion consumers on the other hand... ::)

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 01, 2013, 02:18:10 AM
ccg


Scottish huh!  On my fathers side the first to come to America were Scotts in 1822.  The family consisted of poor farmers for most of a 100 years.

Quote
...The world could arguably support 10 billion+ if we all live with a low enough resource footprint, stop wasting food, mostly eat plants, etc. - I'm pretty sure that's scientifically possible to predicate a population on that level on this planet for at least some time (enough time to get population down with less dramatic measures than trying to totally stop reproduction).
 

Even on theoretical terms I am not sure this is accurate in a meaningful sense if we are going to leave any part of the world for other species to live in.  Primitive hunter gatherers populated the majority of arable lands on earth (and some that were not).  Their populations only totaled around 15 millions yet they exterminated dozens of large mammalian species.  Add in agriculture and the population rose to 700 million by 1700.  By then huge areas of land had been essentially destroyed for agriculture purposes by poor irrigation techniques (still practiced in many places), deforestation and pollution.  It seems pretty clear that at that time world population had reached, or slightly exceeded, carrying capacity and population would not have risen much further without our resorting to fossil fuels.  I would guesstimate that, even when taking into account current knowledge and possible adaptations of technology, a true sustainable carrying capacity which allowed other species to coexist with humans is not above 1 billion.  Which is, of course, more than enough people.

Now in the unsustainable fashion we are currently operating in we can undoubtedly run the population quite a bit higher...for a time.  But we are burning the candle at both ends already, as they say, and adding significant numbers just means we run into the hard limits quicker.  Is there much question about those hard limits?  Forcing population declines extends out in years the time when we run into the hard limits.  And possibly gives us time to adapt to the new world we are creating.

Quote
The problem here is that said affluent people who jump on this single issue overlook the consumption side of the equation. The overconsuming westerners in the equation would need to live more like people in poorer African nations to make this population viable for any period of time. The world faces many problems due to the large number of people present but most of those problems are regionally specific - habitat destruction (leading to loss of species), deforestation (does have some global impact I grant) and so on. The biggest and most immediate problem we face, as far as I can see, is abrupt climate change - mostly caused by the prolific spewing into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. The responsibility for that lies (in historical terms) very strongly with a minority of the global population.

I fully accept the arguments from you and Wili that the rich and affluent are primarily responsible for the damage that has been done and is currently being done.  But even in the poorest places in the world they are living above their carrying capacities.  This is the lure of wealth and the downside of capitalistic economies which only seem to work when in a state of constant growth.  I have spent a lot of time in Africa (especially West Africa) which is one of the poorest places on earth.  They are using up their natural resources, depending on fossil fuels, destroying their arable land, and receiving lots of charity from wealthier countries and adding more mouths to feed all the time.  There is no place rich or poor where the trends are not pointed towards catastrophe.

But once again, as always seems to be the case when discussing population, the discussion drifts back to descriptions of ideal human behavior and how we 'should' behave and that if we did then things would work out.  But we are not ideal beings and we are not going to behave altruistically.  All the people on earth who are not rich want to be rich and live like them.  Even if they understand that what us rich folks are doing is wrong they want the same opportunity to make the same mistakes.  It is human nature.  No one wants to live in a fashion that is truly sustainable.  That is a rough existence and humanity has spent thousands of years of thought and effort to avoid doing so.  No one wants to go back there.  So, not only are rich people not going to willingly downscale like is needed all the poor people are not going to stop trying to figure out how to get richer and consume more  themselves.

I am under no illusion that the technically possible solution I laid out is actually something that is more than a remote possibility.  Forcing cooperation would be practically impossible and most people would never voluntarily follow such a plan.  Not to mention that most religions would arm up and come after you if you even tried such a thing.  I just mention it to point out that there actually is a possible solution out there.  But, as much as any such idea can be fair, I think it is pretty equitable.  Rich and poor would suffer the same.  I submit that it is a better plan than the one we are executing now which is to run the population up until the system just collapses.  A far more inequitable solution as those who will suffer most in that scenario are certainly not the rich and powerful.  We are, in a way, making the most unethical and immoral choice we could possibly make short of some form of genocide.


If a solution like mine were implemented (just for discussions sake) in 20 years we would be at 3.2 billion.  Let's round that up to 50% of what we have now or 3.6 billion to account for less than 100% success with implementation.  That would mean that we would be under the current UN projection of 8.6 billion in 2033 by 5 billion people.  We would have as a result of the population reduction, and assuming steady state per capita global resource consumption (which could be worked on at the same time if we were smart), a resource foot print 42% of the size of where we are headed to in 2033 and 50% of what we are at now.  Sounds pretty nice doesn't it?  Frees up a lot of resources to work those techno fixes.  Additionally, by 2033 sea level rise and worsening storms will have likely required the migration of untold millions of people.  We now have a lot of partly empty cities in better locations where there would be the option of moving them.  And we would not have to be building entire new cities for the people migrating at the same time as we would be building new cities for the added population under the rapidly growing population option we are pursuing at this time.  There would also be a lot of infrastructure no longer needed due to the large population reduction that could be cannibalized for other uses that would save the energy and environmental destruction required of building from raw materials.   

 

Lastly for today, I do not agree that climate change is the primary problem.  I firmly believe it is population.  AGW is arguably the problem spinning out of control the fastest and I would not argue with that description (though I still think it will be decades before collapse as I define it occurs  ::)  But it would not even exist as a critical problem at this time if we were not over so overpopulated and all the different fixes people talk about cannot work long-term with continuing  stratospheric levels of population.  I keep harping on it, but even if we implemented all the interesting techno fixes people propose and got carbon emissions to net zero we would still be living way past the carrying capacity in an unsustainable fashion and reach a collapse point anyway.  But we do not have time to execute all those techno changes, for a variety of reasons, before critical components of the system start to fail.  Humans are going to consume.  We are never going to not exploit the earths resources nor does anyone want to live like a hunter-gatherer.  People are going to behave like people always do.  I write that we have to find possible solutions that fit within the confines of basic human nature or people will not cooperate.  The above is the best I have been able to come up with in terms of trying to work within those guidelines and remain in an ethical/moral position.

As mentioned earlier, we humans have this curiosity to expand our experience and knowledge; to see the stars; to live on other worlds.  I have always had those types of dreams too.  We are close to driving that type of dream into the ground for a thousand years or maybe forever.  I would really hate to see that happen, though I am sure the Universe could care less.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Glenn Tamblyn on August 01, 2013, 10:52:43 AM
Many years ago, during the 'heyday' of discussion about population explosions in the 1970's, Isaac Azimov wrote a great essay about exponential population growth and what it meant. Essentially an exploration of the math of exponential growth.

Isaac essentially said:

Lets assume that we can remove all limits to growth of the population. ALL LIMITS. That somehow Homo Sapiens can find an answer to every single thing that limits our population expansion. All but one thing. We can never travel faster than the Speed of Light. No FTL Drives, no Warp Speed. But every other limit can be overcome. EVERY LIMIT.

What would be the ultimate outcome.

Starting with the population in the 70's and assuming 3% growth a year, he calculated that there would still be a limit to our population in the future.

That limit would be reached when the human race had become a ball of solid flesh, something like 200 light years in diameter, with the outer surface of that ball of flesh expanding outwards at the speed of light (ignoring relativistic effects).

But the interesting calculation was how far into the future that would be.

5000 years!

5000 years ago the earliest civilizations were still new. 5000 years into the future we have become The Blob.

Take home message.

Nobody 'gets' the Compound Interest Law. Nobody!
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Glenn Tamblyn on August 01, 2013, 11:24:45 AM
JimD

I think there are some flaws in your plan. I wish that weren't the case.

You aren't asking people to delay having children. You are asking a generation to not have any children. If 'birth' is suspended for 30 years then someone who is 20 today would be 50 before births are allowed again - essentially to old to reproduce. 10 year old's today would be 40 and so on. A child born the day before the freeze would be 30 when births are allowed again.

So when birth restarts all parents would be 30 or older. And they would also be the workforce that runs the world, grows the food etc. As well as raising the children. All without the assistance of those in their late teens and 20's who do a significant part of the work. All while also caring for all those older folks who haven't died yet. When their children are 10 the youngest parents would be 40. And their parents 60-70. And so on.

And this restart to birth would require doctors, nurses, midwifes etc who are 55 and older to handle the medical side of birth. How long before there is a shortage of people who have any experience of reproductive medicine. How would a doctor who is 54, and who has gone through their entire medical training with zero exposure to any part of reproductive medicine apart from reading books handle this?

It would be nice to think that such extreme measures could solve the 'population crisis' in a way that would still be 'civilized'. But it just ain't so. The inertia of demographics, of time, works against that.

Even if we went to 1 child per couple, world wide, for several generations, we still end up with a demographic pyramid that has some very really ugly social implications. Consider:

Generation 0 - 1 Child
Generation 1 - 2 Younger Adults
Generation 2 - 4 Older Adults
Generation 3 - 8 Elderly

How many people available to do the work, grow the food, run the economy, build shelter, do the caring, maintain civilization, etc compared to those who need to be cared for?

6 people supporting 15 people. That does not compute Will Robinson!

A 1 child per couple world is one where the elderly die bad deaths. Unavoidable, inexorable maths. And those elderly?

That's US.

So now try and sell that idea as a voluntary program to the world.

Unfortunately the population programs the world needs today had to happen in 1950. As the Baby Boom kicked off the governments of the world should have been shouting 'Whoa, hold them horses'. They didn't, nobody thought that way then.

Population planning needs to happen on 50-100 year lead times. 
 
Demographics is the most brutal branch of mathematics. While population is definitely the problem, all the answers to the problem are terrible.

Humanity now has to find the least terrible path. There are no good paths left. To avoid a population crash demographic nightmare we need to lower population slowly. But resource consumption/depletion means that to avoid a population crash nightmare we need to lower population rapidly, which would still be a population crash demographic nightmare.

Sorry to be so bleak. Maths isn't an optimistic discipline.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 01, 2013, 02:10:14 PM
Good points, GT.

I think Jim's maths were intended as a rough approximation of the consequences of successfully instituting a one-child-per-couple-but-only-after-they're-over-thirty policy.

What would actually happen under such a program (if wildly successful, which is wildly unlikely) is that births would drop to a trickle, since most people today who are over thirty have already had at least one kid if they wanted one. But then gradually increase through the coming years, though never getting near replacement level.

But that does mean that population would start dropping immediately, without outright killing anyone, or depending on mass starvation.

The problem of who would support the aging population does point up the bottle-neck we have gotten ourselves into. It is what Japan and some other countries are starting to experience.

This problem or worse, as you say, is one of the inevitable crunches we have set ourselves up for.
But Japan, who has in essence in fact voluntarily chosen something like this path, is not Rwanda. They have problems, but it is not utterly nightmarish having an aging pop. (There are nightmares there, but more because of devotion to a lethal combination of badly designed nukes and corporate corruption.)

The longer we put off this crunch, of course, the worse it will be when it does come.

That seems the worse choice, to me.

More later, but I've gotta go, now.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 01, 2013, 06:08:51 PM
Glen

There clearly are flaws with the plan, but largely not the ones related to your figures as you misread my numbers.  The birth ban was 20 years not 30 years.  Big difference.  A generation we can skip without impossible hurdles being generated.  30 years might be too large a gap.
 
Quote
So when birth restarts all parents would be 30 or older. And they would also be the workforce that runs the world, grows the food etc. As well as raising the children. All without the assistance of those in their late teens and 20's who do a significant part of the work. All while also caring for all those older folks who haven't died yet. When their children are 10 the youngest parents would be 40. And their parents 60-70. And so on.

And this restart to birth would require doctors, nurses, midwifes etc who are 55 and older to handle the medical side of birth. How long before there is a shortage of people who have any experience of reproductive medicine. How would a doctor who is 54, and who has gone through their entire medical training with zero exposure to any part of reproductive medicine apart from reading books handle this?

All the above numbers are 10 years less.  This would mean that anyone in between the ages of 0 and 20 years old when the birth cessation started would still be in the child bearing years when the ban ceased.  By todays figures that would be a population of approximately 2.4 billion people. Plenty enough. 

Your figures in the 2nd para are not talking into account that a large percentage of all professionals like doctors, nurses and such are going to come from that group of 1.8 billion people who start this process in the age range from 5-20 years.  It is not like we would quit educating the young.  In fact, this group being relieved of the family issues for a very long period of time would likely be by far the most educated group of people in human history.  It would be essential. 

BTW you overestimate the difficulty of assisting in the birth of children.  The vast majority of time one needs almost no experience at all and when births started you would still have almost all the medical professionals alive who were in between the ages of 25 and 45 at the time the birth cessation started.  Plenty of direct experience.  Easy money.

Being an old person (sort of anyway) I also think we are more capable of being useful than most realize.  A lot of people would appreciate something meaningful to do and would be quite capable of taking care of each other and performing a host of tasks.  Just like they used to do in all societies and still do in many.  I really do not see a huge burden created in taking care of the old.

I do agree that the figures are bleak when one looks into them.  But inaction on the issues gives far more bleak numbers than action does!  You mention that we need to lower population slowly in order to not crash into those bleak numbers.  But, as you know, that ship sailed long ago and it is no longer an option.  There is no time left for slow decline.  We are choosing fairly rapid population 'growth' vice any kind of decline in any case.  That leads to numbers that overwhelm the word bleak and are more appropriately characterized as apocalyptic.   By far the least painful option we have is to lower population quickly and equitably.  However, I do not have any confidence that we will even try let alone succeed.

We are in a damned if you do damned if you don't scenario.  But not all bad outcomes are equal.  As an example when I was about 10 my entire family was in our station wagon coming down a very steep narrow mountain road in Wyoming.  As we came around a corner the master brake cylinder on our car blew and we lost all brakes.  Naturally we started to pick up speed quickly.  Down the road about a 1/2 mile was a 180 degree switchback. Pretty much certain death to go off the  cliff.  What to do??  One option was to keep trying to slow the car down as much as possible and hope to survive the wreck.  For wreck was certain as the curve in question required a speed of about 15 mph (and there were lots more curves below it).  Likely the reason I am here today is that my father immediately made a hard right-hand turn into a boulder about 4 ft in diameter.  Thus destroying the car, banging us up a bit (he screamed to hold on about 2 seconds before we hit it), and likely saving all our lives.  As they say where I grew up, sometimes you just have to "Cowboy Up!!",  you spit out the blood, tell everyone you're fine, get back on your horse and get back to work.  The world collectively needs to man up a bit as it is paralyzed just like a deer looking into the headlights.





Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ritter on August 01, 2013, 06:35:11 PM
Logan's Run.

Interesting discussion, all. So many unpalatable options. I can't see a way that any would be accepted by the populace, so crash and burn it is.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 01, 2013, 06:37:45 PM
Now in the unsustainable fashion we are currently operating in we can undoubtedly run the population quite a bit higher...for a time.  But we are burning the candle at both ends already, as they say, and adding significant numbers just means we run into the hard limits quicker.  Is there much question about those hard limits?  Forcing population declines extends out in years the time when we run into the hard limits.  And possibly gives us time to adapt to the new world we are creating.

On reflection, I think I'll partially cede to agree that it probably isn't sustainable longer term to run with 10 billion even if their resource footprint is relatively tiny. Your basic arguments are sound - and it's altogether too much work to try to work out precisely where the population limit would lie with low resource foot print. You do mention hunter gathering - I submit that more primitive living styles are not automatically more resource sustainable. Agriculture uses much less land to support a similar population - the problem is just that then we've expanded to fill the available space (and let population skyrocket).

That does make me wonder though - if one is going to operate a reasonably technologically advanced civilisation with a corresponding footprint (and there will always be one) - what do you think the maximum "sustainable" population would be (and why)?

If one is saying 1 billion people might work with a low resource allocation per capita - presumably well under a billion? Or would you predicate the theoretical situation upon solutions to problems that do not undermine natural capital quite so heavily?

I fully accept the arguments from you and Wili that the rich and affluent are primarily responsible for the damage that has been done and is currently being done.  But even in the poorest places in the world they are living above their carrying capacities.  This is the lure of wealth and the downside of capitalistic economies which only seem to work when in a state of constant growth.  I have spent a lot of time in Africa (especially West Africa) which is one of the poorest places on earth.  They are using up their natural resources, depending on fossil fuels, destroying their arable land, and receiving lots of charity from wealthier countries and adding more mouths to feed all the time.  There is no place rich or poor where the trends are not pointed towards catastrophe.

Agreed. Even poorer societies are generally destructive - my only argument here is that they are at least generally more locally destructive, destroying their own habitat without so much adverse impact on the habitat of other people not engaging in their local behaviour.

That is the sort of viewpoint I was arguing from in expressing the opinion that we ought to be "containing and isolating" unsustainable pockets of population. They would destroy their own local environment - and then collapse - without bringing down the rest of the planet. In other words, the way the death of civilisations historically usually happened.

I am under no illusion that the technically possible solution I laid out is actually something that is more than a remote possibility.  Forcing cooperation would be practically impossible and most people would never voluntarily follow such a plan.  Not to mention that most religions would arm up and come after you if you even tried such a thing.  I just mention it to point out that there actually is a possible solution out there.

If you remove the requirement for mass consent, I think it is actually possible and if civilisation took decades more to collapse - gradually more likely. My reasons for this are predicated on the assumption that genetic engineering technology is continuing to advance and it would be at least theoretically possible for a small motivated wealthy group to create a highly infectious disease that would render a high proportion of those it infected sterile, without other serious effects. There would be some details to work out in terms of how you avoided the effect continuing further than intended - and some level of risk (but still moderate compared to the known risks of inaction?)

Lastly for today, I do not agree that climate change is the primary problem.  I firmly believe it is population.  AGW is arguably the problem spinning out of control the fastest and I would not argue with that description (though I still think it will be decades before collapse as I define it occurs  ::)  But it would not even exist as a critical problem at this time if we were not over so overpopulated and all the different fixes people talk about cannot work long-term with continuing  stratospheric levels of population.

Well - it's spinning out of control the fastest - to me that makes it the primary problem, although if you're looking at the root behaviour you're back to the consumption and population function.

Suppose population was substantially lower - around 1 billion.

We might not yet be triggering a climate catastrophe, but if that 1 billion was the more affluent nations today - I submit we wouldn't be that far behind the curve.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 01, 2013, 06:42:13 PM
Generation 0 - 1 Child
Generation 1 - 2 Younger Adults
Generation 2 - 4 Older Adults
Generation 3 - 8 Elderly

How many people available to do the work, grow the food, run the economy, build shelter, do the caring, maintain civilization, etc compared to those who need to be cared for?

6 people supporting 15 people. That does not compute Will Robinson!

Simple, don't support the elderly.

From where I am standing, the modern idea of a comfortable cosy 1-several decades of retirement is a sick twisted fantasy. I have every expectation of working (in some form) until I drop dead, probably in a collapsed world with a quality of life lower than most westerners today could meaningfully contemplate.

So why do all these older people today expect an automatic right to support in their old age? They have the most accumulated responsibility for destroying any possibility at all for my generation (or later) to enjoy the same - thus why should we support them?

In any case, their earlier demise would accelerate the population correction as a lot of population growth is currently occurring from postponing mortality - and since this happens more in the more affluent and resource intensive societies, this would also help with consumption.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 01, 2013, 06:51:15 PM
Interesting discussion, all. So many unpalatable options. I can't see a way that any would be accepted by the populace, so crash and burn it is.

Maybe mortality could be promoted by facilitating enjoyable but unhealthy behaviour?

Plenty of people already engage in unhealthy behaviour that other people to pick up the tab for - eg smoking, overeating, drugs, etc.

If one stopped picking up the tab but started facilitating the unhealthy behaviour, plenty of people would enjoy themselves to death all the faster I suspect. It would be an individual choice and be a little less distasteful than most other approaches to cutting population.

I might be half joking, I haven't decided yet.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Laurent on August 01, 2013, 07:07:01 PM
If we want to restrain the population, it has to be done localy (less than 10km) because the number of people that a land can sustain may vary a lot from one place to an other.
Global incentive may work also but I won't like a dictatorship like China !
It has also to be implemented with a solution for elders. The solution we have in France concerning elders may be one of them but alone it won't be sustainable for a long time because of the baby boomers. (the whole working class support the elders above 60 (65..67...well I don't know anymore, that does change every 2 years)). that systeme is already in Jeopardy because there is less and less workers and more and more elders ! If a collapse occure I have no clue how this will settle !!!
We should tax the robots and other automatism...don't know !
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 01, 2013, 07:19:58 PM
While I've taken a brief hiatus from active blogging in the past week, I've still found time to lurk and read this most important and interesting thread.  Now for a few of my thoughts.

With the current state of international tensions, impending severe climate disruptions and rapid resource depletion, I do not expect the global population  to ever reach 9 billion.  I believe the die-off will begin as early as 2040.  There will be few if any humane efforts to gradually reduce population growth, hence the commencement of mass deaths due to a combination of starvation, pandemics, natural disasters and warfare.

The rate of population decline will determine the ultimate carrying capacity of the earth along with the amount of arable land and natural resources left to sustain humanity.  Depending on how much of a technological and knowledge base survives until the climate again stabilizes will determine the standards of living as well as the social constructs of  future civilizations.

Under no circumstance do I foresee a viable carrying capacity of greater than 1 billion people.  With some modicum of comfort, adequate infrastructure and technological advances the eventual carrying capacity may be as low as 300 million within 200 years.

That's my SWAG (Shitty Wild Ass Guess).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 01, 2013, 07:43:56 PM
AAAAAGH


Not eldercide! As an elder I'd resent that. - Besides we've got all the money and enough of the vote to quash any such notion.

Loved the Asimov quote - that takes me back to my youth when Zero Population Growth was fighting against the religious for such things as access to contraception. Even in the early boomer years there was an awareness of the problem.
China has succeeded in limiting population growth so I'm not sure why we'd want to reinvent that particular wheel. It might not be a policy that everyone is comfortable with & some of the negative side effect are being seen, but overall it has worked in a country that once was the poster child for runaway population growth.
CCG's infectious sterilizing program could be carried out easily enough I suppose, but something like the 1918 influenza or one of the plagues that decimated Europe would speed things up by a generation.
Unlike Jim I think the ramifications of AGW will strike sooner rather than later & population won't have time to expand. If the global population is increasing, or even remaining static in 2050 it would indicate to me that we'd have solved a huge number of problems that seem to me at least to be unsolvable. Somehow we would have saved hoards of Bangladeshis, Vietnamese and Island Nations from SLR. We'd have figured out how to distribute whatever food we're still capable of growing in a manner that staves off mass starvation and avoided any nuke attacks wiping out major population centers.

Overpopulation may well become the major problem, but only if we've solved a bunch of other problems first.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 01, 2013, 07:45:21 PM
Under no circumstance do I foresee a viable carrying capacity of greater than 1 billion people.  With some modicum of comfort, adequate infrastructure and technological advances the eventual carrying capacity may be as low as 300 million within 200 years.

Might be substantially lower again if anthropogenic activity and natural feedbacks really boost global temperatures over the next few centuries. Worst case - a planet only viable for humanity to survive in polar regions and niche habitats doesn't seem impossible. I'd hate to try to work out a consequent carrying capacity - but lower than 300 million.

http://www.livescience.com/28219-holocene-epoch.html (http://www.livescience.com/28219-holocene-epoch.html)

Quote
Beginning about the first century A.D., humans began to sidestep these restraints.  Agriculture had increased the number of people that could be supported by the environment; we were the first animals to increase the carrying capacity of our existing habitat. Population slowly began to rise. There were approximately 170 million people on Earth at the end of the first century; by 1800, the population was over 1 billion. The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century allowed human populations to grow exponentially. Industrialization, improved sanitation and medical care caused death rates to decline, while birth rates continued to climb in most parts of the world.

Hence - even within the Holocene - it isn't normal for us to have billions - or even hundreds of millions. Take away the nice cosy Holocene and assume substantial technological regression (hopefully not more than a couple thousand years worth) - I have trouble picturing a carrying capacity greater than some tens of millions and potentially only millions given the serious restriction of habitat implied by long term scenarios.

Also quoting from here:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/10k.html (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/10k.html)

10,000 years ago:
Quote
First evidence of plant domestication.
Wheat and barley developed in Near East. Barley becomes a daily food staple.
-An estimated 5 million people inhabit the entire planet.

We've got used to the notion of hundreds of millions or billions, that doesn't mean we can expect our normalcy bias to be correct.

Therein lies a flaw with the argument Jim made for a theoretical solution - his argument predicates itself on relatively modest population drops?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 01, 2013, 10:09:01 PM
Quote
Therein lies a flaw with the argument Jim made for a theoretical solution - his argument predicates itself on relatively modest population drops?

Well I guess I have progressed if my numbers are now considered modest ;D  Lots of interesting  comments.

Re the sustainable carrying capacity number.  That is a really tough question.  Answering it would presume that we have quantified with some exactitude how much damage we have done to the environment.  I doubt we have a good handle on those types of numbers.  And then we would have to specify a timeframe also.  The carrying capacity now, 2100, 2300, etc.  It is going to be going down over time for a long time.  The effects of our continuing our current civilizational practices will do further damage and the effects of AGW will not be fully manifested for hundreds of years.  Lastly we would have to agree on a definition of what it meant by carrying capacity in the first place.  Almost everyone has their own definition.  Does sustainable mean that we could get along with civilizational practices which allow us to exist for 1000 years, 10,000, 100,000, 1 million, etc.  Where does that leave us?  Personally I would be happy with a number in the 20,000 to 30,000 year span.  If we can't figure out how to get off this rock and go wandering about the stars by then we will have wasted the opportunity.  the universe does not care if we turn the earth into a wasteland and then move on to another place.  But one better get that sequence in the right order.  To a number and dates together?...looking out 300 years I would guess around a billion, 2100 I would guess 2-2.5 billion.  Many are likely to think my 2100 number is high but I would think that the remnants of the big die-off of the previous 50 years would still have access to a significant amount of technology and lots of infrastructure to cannibalize.  This would allow them to continue living above any carrying capacity for some time, but eventually numbers would have to come down...I think.

I think Terry was joking about eldercide.  But there is certainly precedent for this kind of behavior in hunter-gatherer societies.  When one is so old and infirm that they become a risk to the rest of the tribe there is certainly logic in their departing the scene.  If survival of all is at stake what is the difference between that and asking a soldier to spend his life for others?  Duty carries burdens.

Like you OLN I do not actually think we will make it to the 9.6 billion number in 2050 that the UN projects.   Too many things can go wrong in between now and then to see that happening. But the fact that the population projections are rising when they should be going down is crazy stupid.

Quote
That is the sort of viewpoint I was arguing from in expressing the opinion that we ought to be "containing and isolating" unsustainable pockets of population. They would destroy their own local environment - and then collapse - without bringing down the rest of the planet. In other words, the way the death of civilizations historically usually happened.

In a way that is what will be occurring when we reach the point that charity food and such are no longer available.  When locations are allowed to fend for themselves when they cannot pay in the future they will undergo local collapse.  Of course, their local collapse will be bleed over into their neighbors and there will be other ripple effects as usual.  I think this may be the difference between my projected date of collapse and OLN's.  I don't count the above 'local' collapse's as qualifying for what I term "significant' collapse.  A large part of the world will remain fully functional with ongoing 'local' collapses until we reach a point that decline is triggered across the board.  One could make a reasonable argument that the Arab Spring (though artificially triggered by the food for ethanol program) is the first incident of local collapse.  As it plays out we are going to get an interesting picture of collapse dynamics in the modern world.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 02, 2013, 03:59:21 AM
Terry, you mention the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, but note that, as horrific as it was for those involved, it doesn't even show up as a blip on long-term world population charts. Neither do either of the World Wars. The Black death does barely manage a blip, but not a long one in the grand scheme of things:

https://www.google.com/search?q=world+population+chart&client=firefox-a&hs=k25&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=yRD7Ueu3FIe8rQGpmoGIAQ&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1214&bih=617#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=TegVtqpfhip1KM%3A%3BFdvnTKpIfLwlYM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F1.bp.blogspot.com%252F-Eu_3GPpjxiM%252FUI9cUxkjSCI%252FAAAAAAAAAAs%252FxS8k7MR5NKk%252Fs320%252Ftotal-world-population-chart-inline-400.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmankindvsmachines.blogspot.com%252F2012%252F10%252Fcan-technology-save-us-two-part-series.html%3B320%3B242 (https://www.google.com/search?q=world+population+chart&client=firefox-a&hs=k25&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=yRD7Ueu3FIe8rQGpmoGIAQ&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1214&bih=617#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=TegVtqpfhip1KM%3A%3BFdvnTKpIfLwlYM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F1.bp.blogspot.com%252F-Eu_3GPpjxiM%252FUI9cUxkjSCI%252FAAAAAAAAAAs%252FxS8k7MR5NKk%252Fs320%252Ftotal-world-population-chart-inline-400.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fmankindvsmachines.blogspot.com%252F2012%252F10%252Fcan-technology-save-us-two-part-series.html%3B320%3B242)

We "kudzu monkeys," as a poster on another site likes to call us, are just too good at making more of ourselves.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on August 02, 2013, 04:44:07 AM
"6 people supporting 15 people. That does not compute Will Robinson!"

Actually, I think it does.  Though I agree with most other aspects in this discussion.
Note that decades ago, a middle-class worker might have a wife at home, a brood of half a dozen kids or more, maybe a maiden aunt living in the attic, maybe a paid housekeeper.

Now, kids cost more to raise these days.  But the ability of a working population to support a number of non-workers is directly related to "productivity."  We don't appreciate how productivity has been going up year after year, because the proceeds have been going to CEOs and shareholders.  But in any rational system of taxation and distribution of benefits, there shouldn't  be a problem with one productive worker, on average, supporting perhaps ten or more non-workers.

Lot's of "if's" there, but when we're talking about how to deal with runaway population growth, some serious "if's" are going to have to happen if civilization is to keep going without a crisis.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Glenn Tamblyn on August 02, 2013, 02:38:36 PM
CGWM

"Simple, don't support the elderly."

That is actually the default position in any 'collapse scenario'. Along with 'don't support the young'.

What matters (apart from the human suffering implications of accepting the above) is what is lost over and above just loosing people - doesn't maths promote a beautifully clinical brutality.

The young are the continuous revitalization of a society. They aren't just extra bodies. They are a wellspring of optimism and energy that can sometimes surmount problems.

And the elderly are the wisdom and knowledge of a society. They have seen enough to have LOTS of perspective. And they are at a point in life where giving their knowledge back is a major part of what makes life meaningful for them. They are a societies library.

So for a society to function, to be functional, it needs the balance of youthful energy, mid-life solidness and elder wisdom. It is the balance of these things that makes any society viable, vibrant and valid.

And it is exactly this generational balance that the demographics of population and climate change is likely to tear apart. Human Civilization may be able to survive the coming century.

But Demographics will drive it to it's knees.

Those things that increase our survival chances in terms of resources, energy, population levels etc - the point of Jim's original post, work against our survival chances in terms of the social/cultural/knowledge retention impacts of demographics.

We, and the next few generations truly are like cats on a hot tin roof.

Go too far in the direction of supporting one development, and a countervailing development will get us. Everything now depends on how we navigate through deeply conflicting currents and shoals

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Laurent on August 02, 2013, 06:59:31 PM
"In Africa, when an old man dies, it's a library burning." 1960 at l'UNESCO
Amadou Hampâté Bâ

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadou_Hamp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amadou_Hamp)âté_bâ
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 02, 2013, 08:53:17 PM
"it is exactly this generational balance that the demographics of population and climate change is likely to tear apart."


Beautifully put. But any sense of balance was thrown out the window a couple centuries ago.

We will have to do a lot of things that seem 'imbalanced' to even come close to restoring the balance that was utterly destabilized with the introduction of industrial civilization.

That being said, I think a lot of what needs to happen could be done by introducing policies that are in fact much more humane than most of the current ones, at least those in advanced countries.

Something like 60% of ones medical care expenses come in the last 6 months of peoples lives in industrialized countries, iirc. But most of that either just prolongs suffering or prolongs vegetative states.

Going back to an ethic of dying with dignity--rather than pushing every last technically feasible heroic down fragile, dying peoples throats, sometimes quite literally--would help reduce the number of people on the planet, make dying more dignified and serene (especially if easily producible opiates like morphine are freely available), and leave a lot more money available for care for kids and others in need.

I can pin numbers on this and find sources, but I hope you get the general gist.

But medical corporations are making too much $$$$$$$ on such heroics for there to be much of a change in the current deeply inhumane 'heroicism' for things to change much without some kind of major revolution in that area. (One of many revolutions that need to happen yesterday for us even to have a glimmering chance of avoiding vastly horrendous futures.)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 05, 2013, 09:25:28 PM
China is preparing to end it's one child policy according to news reports.

No official announcement, but the below link provides enough info to think that the reports are likely to be true.  Note the link comes from the blog Zero Hedge so one has to be very cautious as it is a very ideological place and all info is strongly filtered.

If this turns out to be true it will have a big impact.  I note that a lot of the figures used in the link (quoted form Bank of America) are out of date.  Numbers quoted for the UN are 2 years back.  Current UN projections for China's peak population are 100 million higher.  Maybe they knew this was coming and built it into the figures.  In the post above we talked about countries like Russia promoting an increase in their birth rate so this kind of report should not be too surprising.  Just disappointing.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-04/china-ending-its-one-child-policy-here-are-implications (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-04/china-ending-its-one-child-policy-here-are-implications)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 06, 2013, 05:06:37 AM
Additional considerations impacting this complicated question include the following:

- By ~ 2040 robotics will have advanced to the state where robots will be replacing large numbers of people in the labor force; which implies that societies that can afford large numbers of robots can consume more; with even less need for labor from societies that cannot afford robots.  This trend has already begun and will continue to accelerate for many decades to come.

-  Technology besides robots (e.g. 3D printers connected via the internet to programs that can print drugs, food, durables, etc)  will allow more people to live longer (including lower death rates); and to consume more thus increasing the anthropogenic footprint.

- Increasing economic imbalance will fuel conflicts which will further consume resources and increase AGW; while the increasing numbers of poor and displaced populations will need to increase their birthrates to make sure that enough children survive to take care of the parents in their old age.

- Studies indicate that up to 10% of business leaders are sociopaths; who are likely to gain even more economic and political power during times of stress (e.g. Hitler or Stalin); which would like increase waste and insensitivity to both climate and to the population at large.

- Most modern river deltas are highly populated (Nile, Rhine, Mekong, Mississippi, etc) and formed during the Holocene and thus are almost all at the same sea level.  The US military recognizes that the most likely sea level rise by 2100 will be between 1 and 2 m's; which will induce large migrations of people (many into concentration camps) and the destruction of large quantities of farm land and economic infrastructure.

Many of the trends cited above will allow increasing numbers of people to live under increasingly stressful conditions; while accelerating the climate towards a tipping point.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 06, 2013, 06:32:39 PM
AbruptSLR

All good points.

One that catches my attention all the time is the development of robotic capabilities. It is not just the displacement of blue collar workers we are talking about but also middle class skills and eventually highly educated positions like doctors. 

A particular area where this kind of technology will have an impact as collapse approaches is in the military arena.  I am not just talking about the use of various types of drones by the US military.  Though the progress in this area will eventually eliminate the need for human pilots.  Witness the US Navy has large drones doing carrier landings now.  The capabilities in infantry weapons will eventually have a game changing effect in close in combat and those who posses the new infantry technology will be unbeatable if their opponents do not have equivalent technology.  US Special Ops forces already have programmable rifle grenade weapons which range the target and program the grenade to go off in an air burst at exactly the right distance.  This allows targeting personnel who are behind cover.

Field testing is underway on sniper weapons which compute all the factors one must take into account when shooting long distances; i.e. distance, elevation, wind, humidity, spin drift, etc.  Once a target  is selected the computer in the weapon locks onto the target, calculates the factors and signals it is ready to fire.  The operator then depresses the fire mechanism and when he manages to put the cross hair's on the target the weapon fires automatically.  In testing people who have never fired a weapon in their lives have put their 1st round center target at 1500 meters.

As a person who has some familiarity with the above  world (and I hope you don't) it is hard to overstate the implications of such a technological development.  A variety of infantry, vehicle, and airborne systems can readily be envisioned based upon this technology which would result in weapons which would be orders of magnitude more lethal than those now fielded.  Their deployment would also dramatically reduce the militaries personnel requirements.  I predict that elite US military units will have a range of such technologies available to them within 10 years and larger more complex systems within 20 years.  This has big implications as collapse approaches.
 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 06, 2013, 08:00:22 PM
Jim
The weapons systems you mention sound as though the "enemy" will have little choice but to capitulate, or nuke our command centers.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 06, 2013, 11:01:22 PM
................................  I am not just talking about the use of various types of drones by the US military.  Though the progress in this area will eventually eliminate the need for human pilots.  Witness the US Navy has large drones doing carrier landings now.  ........................

JimD,

Before my retirement, I worked directly for a retired Assistant Secretary of the Navy who had at one time been responsible for all aircraft and missile procurement for the Navy and Marine Corps.
At least 10 years ago, he told me that aircraft carriers and piloted aircraft were obsolete.  Our guided missile technology has allowed us to build airframes that are so maneuverable that the G-forces are many orders of magnitude higher than any human body can withstand.  Why put a pilot in the cockpit when for less money you can build a smaller, faster, more maneuverable airframe that can go farther and deliver a larger payload??
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 07, 2013, 03:18:27 PM
I agree that robotics will probably be the most disruptive technology over the next few decades; and that the military applications of robotics will be at the cutting-edge of this megatrend; nevertheless, I would like to raise still another megatrend; which is the increasing importance of the market place at the expense of governments.  For example:

- In the USA a few multi-millionaires can provide sufficient campaign support to elect sufficient numbers of congressmen to block congress from providing effective federal government; while the federal government has passed so much of its prior responsibilities to local governments that now major cities such as Detroit have gone bankrupt and some states are close to this condition.

- Multi-nationals now have accumulated over a trillion dollars of relatively liquid assess that can be rapidly shifted around the world and are increasingly being applied to applications previously addressed by governments (including: infrastructure; prisons, water supplies, higher education [including massive open online courses], mass communication and the internet/IT).

- Mao roughly said: "Power comes from the barrel of a gun", and if by 2050 private businesses have a very large number of robots that could possibly reprogrammed/up-graded for military applications (first defensive) then effectively the international private market place would have private robotic armies at its disposal as the collapse/singularity approaches.

International governments have already shown their inability to address the climate change/over population challenges; and as the world becomes an increasingly stressed place to live; I believe that more people will look more frequently aware from governments for answers and more to the market place (including Public Private Partnerships) to find the security that they want; which in my opinion will likely delay the collapse but will likely make the consequences worse when it finally comes home to roost.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 07, 2013, 06:06:49 PM
AbruptSLR

......- In the USA a few multi-millionaires can provide sufficient campaign support to elect sufficient numbers of congressmen to block congress from providing effective federal government; while the federal government has passed so much of its prior responsibilities to local governments that now major cities such as Detroit have gone bankrupt and some states are close to this condition.

This comment implies that you are not aware of how the US Constitution was structured (likely you are not an American?).  Following our independence from Great Briton there was a convention to draft a constitution. There were two powerful factions competing for dominance.  One was strongly oriented towards a dominant federal government with no meaningful power left with the states, and the other was for a very weak federal government and wanted States to have most of the governing power.  The Federalists had to give major concessions to the anti-Federalists or there would have been no agreement, no United States, and each state would have become a separate country.  Americans, then and now, have a strong distrust and in many cases a hatred of strong federal control.  Even today this division is a major factor in US politics.  So it would be fair to say that a weak federal government and strong state government in the US is a 'feature' not a bug.  I fully expect that sometime after we are well into collapse that the US will have states and/or regional blocks running autonomously from the federal government.

Quote
-  Mao roughly said: "Power comes from the barrel of a gun", and if by 2050 private businesses have a very large number of robots that could possibly reprogrammed/up-graded for military applications (first defensive) then effectively the international private market place would have private robotic armies at its disposal as the collapse/singularity approaches.-

That transition is already underway in my opinion.  The rich and powerful are not going to forget their own security.  In the US our laws allow corporations and individuals to own much of the types of military technology available.  If you want to pay the licensing fees a private individual can purchase a fully automatic weapon (I know a number of folks who own them).  Current laws would allow someone to own the sniper rifle I mentioned above and I know many who own the current state of the art sniper weapons.  Not to mention that where I live large numbers of folks own semi-automatic assault rifles and such.  I am certain that private citizens have in their possession many times the light infantry weapons that the US military possesses.  This is another deliberate "feature" built into our constitution as our founders were very concerned with the government becoming authoritarian (our experiences with the British again) and we wrote our constitution in a way to ensure that the populace would always have the weaponry to overthrow the government should the need arise.   


Quote
-  International governments have already shown their inability to address the climate change/over population challenges; and as the world becomes an increasingly stressed place to live; I believe that more people will look more frequently aware from governments for answers and more to the market place (including Public Private Partnerships) to find the security that they want; which in my opinion will likely delay the collapse but will likely make the consequences worse when it finally comes home to roost.

If you are saying that federal governments will break down in the future and that various kinds of corporate governments and regional power blocks will take over government functions I pretty much agree.  Collapse implies that our government structures will devolve along with the rest of civilization.  I expect authoritarian quasi-feudal governing structures to dominate when current government structures cease functioning.

But we are getting off topic a bit so I will stop.  Maybe we should start a thread on future forms of governing structures? 


 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 08, 2013, 06:59:57 PM
"we are getting off topic a bit"

Well, if the topic is population control, really we've just drifted into another definition of that term. ::)

I don't think people will be more secure from their government and its military because they are all armed to the armpits. Remember that drones can also be tiny--insect size. And even without high-tech stuff, when the gov orders everyone to give up guns or agree to a house search, who will be the one to shoot back when a tank shows up to your house, and if you resist, your residence will be quickly turned to rubble?

But mostly, the wealthy will do what they have always done and are continuing to do--set one group against the others.

Most of the gun-toters are already convinced that the main threat they face is from 'illegal aliens,' urban gangs of various colors, and 'librals.' They will gladly turn their guns in the direction of any of these when convinced that they are the real threats to their God-given rights.

Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on August 08, 2013, 08:27:29 PM
Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.

So true. (Who is monitoring this board?   :-X)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 08, 2013, 09:29:32 PM
Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.

So true. (Who is monitoring this board?   :-X)

I think Neven's intent is for these boards to  be self-moderating.  Unless something is flagged or reported to Dungeonmaster or Neven, we are on are own with little or no adult supervision!

As to whether we need a separate topic regarding the various forms of government needed, desirable or probable in the ensuing decades, I believe that it would warrant it's own thread.  I'm not going to start that thread, however, will read it and comment as I feel appropriate.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on August 08, 2013, 11:24:54 PM
Remember that many of the revolutions in the former Soviet bloc did not require an armed citizenry--just a common understanding of who the real enemy was.

So true. (Who is monitoring this board?   :-X)

I think Neven's intent is for these boards to  be self-moderating.  Unless something is flagged or reported to Dungeonmaster or Neven, we are on are own with little or no adult supervision!
Eh, I wasn't referring to moderation but to who else is listening in. Let's not flatter ourselves, but when NASA is so regularly citing Neven's blog, members of this forum can't assume invisibility.  ;D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on August 19, 2013, 03:12:58 AM
partial quote
~~ "What will be done during the next century (100 years) to reduce population?" ~~
Questioned originally posted July 29, 2013.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2013, 04:42:06 PM
JimD Thanks. Well done.
The real root of the cause for Arctic Sea Ice melting, = PEOPLE (too many)

What will be done during the next century (100 years) to reduce population?
IMHO = not much, so it gets worse.

Jack, as you seemed to answer your own question in your post above I just kind of assumed that it was rhetorical and that your opinion was that nothing would be done.  I did not mean to ignore you.

I agree with your conclusion.  The problem is so fraught with emotional and religious issues that it likely is unaddressable in today's environment.  Will that change over the next 20-30 years?  Perhaps, but at that point it probably will not matter much.

A lot of people hope that rising affluence and educating women will continue to lower birth rates but data has shown that in many places and cultures there seems to be a bottom to this kind of change that does not result in a low enough birth rate.  A number of countries which have achieved lower birth rates are now trying to raise them again for various social, religious and security reasons (I just yesterday read an article promoting raising the birth rate in the US).

As your question had a  timeframe out to 100 years my guess would be that there will never be a global coordinated effort to rapidly reduced global population in a humane way.  Individual countries may, when their in-country population becomes catastrophically bad, try and institute some kind of program.  Perhaps.  But the more time that passes before serious efforts are made the more likely the only serious population reductions that will take place will take the form of genocide, famine or disease. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on August 20, 2013, 05:29:43 PM
~~ "the more time that passes before serious efforts are made the more likely the only serious population reductions that will take place will take the form of genocide, famine or disease" ~~
genocide, famine or disease works

Where you have talked about birth/fertility rates for population control - reduction,
especially the 20 year none - 20 year limited via number running is good.

I will again add Genetic Testing to determine which limited number of people will be allowed to reproduce and sex of offspring added in.

Cold and cruel perhaps, but barring a catastrophic event such as a super-volcano or massive asteroid reducing population numbers to less than one or two billion, I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner.

What a psychologically painful world that would be to live in.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2013, 06:47:57 PM
~~ "the more time that passes before serious efforts are made the more likely the only serious population reductions that will take place will take the form of genocide, famine or disease" ~~
genocide, famine or disease works

Where you have talked about birth/fertility rates for population control - reduction,
especially the 20 year none - 20 year limited via number running is good.

I will again add Genetic Testing to determine which limited number of people will be allowed to reproduce and sex of offspring added in.

Cold and cruel perhaps, but barring a catastrophic event such as a super-volcano or massive asteroid reducing population numbers to less than one or two billion, I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner.

What a psychologically painful world that would be to live in.


(Just kidding now) on the genetics point I hope they can put some effort into better looks as there sure seems to be a lot of homely people where I live.   ;D

Question:  Why do you think

Quote
....I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner....

that us homo-sapiens will work to 'the end' to prevent such things?  We certainly have a long track record of doing the opposite for various reasons.  Why not in the future?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 20, 2013, 08:24:35 PM
"Genetic Testing"

Criteria?

By rights, it seems to me that the peoples least responsible for the mess we've gotten ourselves into should have the most rights for reproduction. That would be mostly the poorest and the few traditional small-scale societies that haven't been utterly destroyed.

But I'm guessing that may not have been the criteria you had in mind?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on August 20, 2013, 09:24:00 PM
It would be great if people could think in terms of refugees as replacement population. In my dreams.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on August 21, 2013, 02:57:17 AM
Question:  Why do you think

Quote
....I believe homo-sapiens will work to the end to prevent genocide, famine or disease unless the numbers go down in a controlled manner....

that us homo-sapiens will work to 'the end' to prevent such things?  We certainly have a long track record of doing the opposite for various reasons.  Why not in the future?

#1. There is no profit motive in allowing the end to occur.

Verbose ramblings

One theory may be as good as another.  Holes can be "poked' in everything I say here (exceptions made).
My "Crystal Ball" may not be as powerful and clear as others.
 
1.  Genocide:
I believe there will be some genocide in small areas, such as occurred in the Balkans during the 1990's, or central Africa,,, etc... I do NOT believe it will occur widely, flowing - jumping from one major region - continent to another.  As for allowing such as the WWII European Jewish Holocaust - if we ever go that low again we deserve having some loony-bin, frying us all, by launching the first missile to start a world wide nuclear conflagration for mutual assured self destruction (MAD). Outside MAD eliminating Five Billion or more, I would rule genocide out. Should I adjust my thinking to include MAD as Genocide?
Russia eliminate the Chinese? China eliminate the Indians or Pakistanis? USA - Europe - South America - Africa - Australia into the equation?

Without the use of nuclear weapons how would I implement genocide to remove 5-billion people?   


2.  World Wide Famine: (WWF - is that copyrighted?) - has it ever occurred?
I believe a reduction in easily obtainable (affordable) food will result in a population decline but not decimation (I'm optimist about the future).  Do we have tropical foods sustaining great numbers of people within the lower (hotter) latitudes? How many people could survive without temperate climate cereal grains?  Will we, as a population, demand genetically modified organism foods (GMO) if they prove to be adaptable and productive?  If we can get enough un-polluted water (fresh or rain) for irrigation on arable lands we will continue widespread agriculture for profit, (it may not be our traditional crop areas or types of food). 
 
Anyone for Lady-Fingers (okra) cooked in Palm Oil?  Does man live by bread alone?     


3.  Disease:
The great baffling one to me. Does the USA Center for Disease Control (CDC) say there are virus strains that are unstoppable and they have samples in isolation. To recognize and collect a sample, why did the sample not infect - kill all people on a continent? Somebody had to report it for the "barrier white suits" to collect.

What organism could or will be spawned in the future is unknown to me. My speculating is a waste of time and I am aware of the medieval plague - "black death."

I'm admittedly very shallow on any theory or argument for or against disease decimating over 50%.  Until proved impossible, should it remain a topic for laymen?

Too many people will cause AGW to continue.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on August 21, 2013, 03:08:16 AM
"Genetic Testing"

Criteria?

By rights, it seems to me that the peoples least responsible for the mess we've gotten ourselves into should have the most rights for reproduction. That would be mostly the poorest and the few traditional small-scale societies that haven't been utterly destroyed.

But I'm guessing that may not have been the criteria you had in mind?
Hey wili,

True that's not my theoretical criteria.

Verbose rambling:

As redundant or perhaps oxymoronic as it sounds, no excess population - probably no AGW.
Reduced or no demand = supply not abusing the precious resources of the Earth.

In the context that AGW must be reduced, or I could say reversed, with the A being for anthropogenic (man = people = population) and a belief that switching to and making renewable energy successful will probably make it likely there will be more people and thus more problems.

Cold and cruel sounding. When and if the population hits or is pushing ten billion (10B) or so, do we believe the demographers at 9.7B our species will start to decline in numbers.  Decline to what level, two billion as put forth by JimD, in what time frame?

What if the birth rate produces a stable level of 8 or 9 Billion?
Is there another thousand years of carrying capacity in the Earth at an increased level?
I doubt there will be an extended stable period of population. Increasing or decreasing.

Cold and cruel again, I hope the criteria is not who lives or dies to save the species.
For those "selected" not to reproduce, I believe sterilization will occur at birth.

So called "genetic predictor" of good health for criteria.
Perhaps later breed in a short successful life span.

Nazi and super-race I've heard enough about.  Chinese single child likewise.
Let's skip these two and various problems of each.

If we can't wait for natural or catastrophic decimating events,
should it become necessary to reduce the population of the Earth, how would you do it?

If it's not necessary - I still enjoy this Forum and your posts.
 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 21, 2013, 11:05:48 AM
I hate to keep harping on this, but, while I agree that a world populated by 10 billion people is not likely to be sustainable under any circumstance, a world of 2B could easily also be unsustainable.

Recall that the top billion or so are currently responsible for about 80% of the CO2 emissions (and much of the rest of the destructive behaviors). So at US-levels of consumption, even fewer than 2B is likely unsustainable.

So if we are talking massive population reduction, we really want to start most aggressively with the top consumers. By the time you get down to remnant small-scale traditional communities like the Australian Aborigines or Aka (Pygmies), well, reducing their numbers won't help much since they don't consume much. (And they're cultures are exactly the ones most likely to create a new society that is not bent on utter destruction of the living world.)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on August 21, 2013, 12:39:30 PM
~~ "10 billion people is not likely to be sustainable under any circumstance, a world of 2B could easily also be unsustainable" ~~
~~ "population reduction, we really want to start most aggressively with the top consumers" ~~
10B is a predicted number from the UN I stumbled on.   
2B is supplied by the originator of the topic/thread.

If we say a number in between, such as 5B (rounded for convenience).  We're already 40% above that.  We're looking at a tremendous number of people to be removed-reduced-eliminated.

Whether the top (over) consumers are selected to go first is something we can discuss.

Primarily, my thoughts so far have been on how to reduce - eliminate.   NOT who - which.

If it's necessary to reduce the population of the Earth, for fear of famine, then:

Birth Rate Control (with genetic selection - testing) receives my vote for reduction;

Eliminating by types of events we control is terrible, even though famine and disease could occur in spite of our work.  Genocide I don't know if I can talk about it.
Barring an asteroid or super-volcano how should it be done?

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 21, 2013, 04:10:45 PM
I guess my point is that famine is most likely to take out the poorest first. And since the problem is really pop x consumption, losing even billions of the poorest isn't going to move you very far toward lightening the load of supporting the remaining population.

So the most likely ways that population will be 'naturally' reduced are going to be the least effective, if the goal is to reduce the pressure that humans place on the planet.

Another approach would be to go for reducing both population and consumption, especially the highest impact kinds of consumption. The most fundamental physical needs of all humans are food and water. Meat consumption is enormously wasteful of both. If your rapidly reduce meat consumption while also reducing population (again, with greatest focus on the high consumers), you will go a long way toward reducing the likelyhood of massive famine, providing the grain and water freed up is properly distributed (a big 'if,' that).

A big challenge for both liberals and conservatives with this kind of discussion is that it is fundamentally about limiting humans. This goes against fundamental Western ideologies that grew out of the enlightenment that are all about unleashing the potential of humans, not limiting them.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: silkman on August 21, 2013, 06:09:16 PM
As a scientist who had a long career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries the lesson I took from the 2009 swine flu pandemic was a simple one.

The ultimate impact of the epidemic was fortunately modest though devastating for those who lost young relatives and friends who had less resistance than the more elderly. The flu strain proved to be somewhat less transmissible than predicted and though it caused severe illness it was rarely fatal.

The frightening thing about the experience was that the pandemic spread across the globe within a few weeks, totally outpacing the efforts of governments and big pharma to develop, manufacture and distribute an effective vaccine to halt it.

This happened, not in 1918, but in a world capable of sequencing the viral genome and bringing the latest development and production techniques to bear.

The simple takeaway message is that the global inter-connectivity of the modern world totally trumps the advances we've made in the understanding and treatment of viral infections. 2009 swine flu lacked the transmissibility and lethality to create a global disaster but if you put those two factors together, despite new developments such as DNA vaccines, there would be nothing we could do to stop it.

Today we have a virus in the Middle East that seems to emanate from camels but causes 75% mortality in the few unfortunate folk who have become its victims. Add human to human transmission and you have a very ugly answer to AGW.

The science seems to say that its not a question of if, but when.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 21, 2013, 06:39:20 PM
Jack

I don't think we are that far apart on those factors after all.  I also do not see global scale genocides (or anything like the Holocaust) being very likely in the future.  What I see are local/regional situations that pop up all over the place where a combination of genocide, famine and disease all occur together and dramatically worsen the death rates.

For instance we have seen all of those factors at play in central Africa in the not too distant past.   As collapse dynamics worsen in locations like that one can predict that somewhere on the continent that is very over populated will suffer a major drought/crop failure.  If we are then at the point that free bulk grain supplies are no longer available we will see famine.  With famine in a badly overpopulated location with either ethnic or religious conflicts it is easy for a Rwanda type of genocide to ignite.  Drought, famine and large numbers of dead folks equals disease.  A very large number of people can die very quickly in circumstances like that.  And I think it pretty certain that equivalent situations will occur in lots of places in the world in the next 40 years.

Situations like the above can reduce populations much faster that any non-nuclear war. 

Another type of genocide that could occur is exemplified by the Bangladesh/India/Myanmar situation we were discussing in the future government thread.  Eventually most of Bangladesh is going to have to migrate as the country will be unlivable.  India and Myanmar likely cannot and will not let them migrate in their directions.  There is, of course, no where else for them to go.   India is already shooting on sight any illegal border crossers.  I expect genocide at that location in a big way at some point.

Realistically I don't think anyone expects, in the early years of collapses around the globe, that there will be any major population reductions in the current high consumption countries.  They are just too wealthy and powerful to allow that to happen to them.  It seems certain that the vast majority of the first couple of billion deaths will occur in the poorest and weakest locations.   And the comment that these deaths will not significantly reduce consumption is accurate, but how else could it happen.   Unless we achieve the highly unlikely voluntary global rapid population reductions discussed up thread, we have to expect the normal historical trends in which the weak and powerless suffer first and the most.

The great Black Swan in all of this is disease.  A modern plague.  The reason governments spend so much on organizations like the CDC and global disease monitoring/vaccination programs is that the global population is still very vulnerable to large scale deaths due to a virulent and lethal pandemic.  We are at all times one step away from 10's of millions of deaths (or more) due to a rare mutation in one of the swine or bird flu strains.

The double Black Swan is when someone decides to engineer their own deadly pandemic.  This is technically quite feasible and there is a wealth of open information out there on how to do it.  A terrorist group with a few well trained scientists and access to enough resources that they could build a university level biology lab (or even a lot less than that) could have a good probability of accomplishing such a task.  Then the whole global dynamic would change.  Or even worse, suppose a government decided to do such a thing.  Create the virus, grow it in quantity, vaccinate those you want to keep around and smoke everyone else.   There are many countries which could easily succeed at this task.  Desperate people do desperate things.  Smallpox anyone?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 22, 2013, 06:16:33 AM
If this ever happens, it is likely decades or centuries away. But eventually, if we continue to burn up every bit of carbon we can lay our hands on, we could end up with a world where many of the currently most heavily inhabited are unlivable.

I don't mean just sea level rise, though that will kill and displace more and more people in the coming years and decades. GW, besides obviously increasing average global temperature, also increases average humidity (about 5% increase so far iirc).

Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html (http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html)

https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg (https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg)

Keep in mind that many of the places that don't show high wbt will be too dry to support human life (yes, ironically, even as average humidity increases, some areas will become more and more dry).

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 22, 2013, 06:45:53 AM
Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

...

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.

Our agriculture will bite the dust long before we would in that scenario. I very much doubt most of the human population will live to see the final state of the planet when all this settles (and the subsequent restriction of humanity to niche habitats).

The probable timescales for climate change to settle down properly (which is certainly at least centuries, though the frequency of major shocks might tail off after some decades is my feeling) are such that when those days come it's questionable if any (or many) remaining humans will still maintain enough education and knowledge to understand what is happening - or to deploy anything we would recognise as technology to try to fight it. Our numbers will have already crashed long before those days come - with the associated depletion and loss of availability of resources and the destruction wrought by conflict (and possibly a significant amount of high technology conflict - ie especially nasty stuff).

However bad it may seem though - it's effectively a transition stage - after civilisational collapse and especially once the climate reaches equilibrium, I would suggest that the experience of being alive on the planet should start to improve again. Given not only that, but also that nobody can be absolutely certain how this plays out - I still don't think there is a case for defeatism.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 22, 2013, 07:08:33 AM
I missed any reference to defeatism, but since you rightly point out that "nobody can be absolutely certain how this plays out," it seems to me legitimate to consider the full range of possibilities.

Once the new equilibrium is reached, it may lead to replenishment of the earth. But it will likely be at global (and many local) temperatures that humans have never experienced.

For life in general, it may be the beginning of a rapid re-speciation: hot temperature encourage small species, and more kinds of small species can fit into more ecological niches than can large species.

But it might be that we burn up enough fossil carbon and feedbacks from permafrost and subsea methane are large and long enough to extend the heating for a very long time and to a very high degree. And of course we have many other ways besides GW that we are driving the current great extinction event--habitat destruction, introducing 'exotic' species, hunting/fishing/harvesting (sure to increase as famine kicks in), radiation from all the Fukushimas yet to come, nuclear and other types of wars, massive amounts of chemicals (many very toxic) that have never existed in the natural world, plastics that keep killing organisms even when they are broken down into tiny fragments...don't get me started on GMO and nano-particles...

Anyway, the sources of extinction are manifold and many very long lasting. These factors are likely to increase the recovery time, but by how much, no one knows. Other extinctions have had recovery periods of millions to tens of millions of years. Will our super-sized, multi-sourced extinction require double that? An order of magnitude more? If the latter, we are talking about hundreds of millions of years, and that is pushing us toward the point where, whatever the atmospheric C content is, the sun will get too hot for the earth to be able to sustain life.

In any case, I see scant chance that anything like humans as we know them will be around to see things stabilize and then start to turn around (unless we miraculously suddenly stop all further emissions of carbon and find effective ways to suck the carbon that's in the atmosphere back out very quickly and on a massive scale, again, without using ff to do it).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 22, 2013, 07:27:05 AM
I missed any reference to defeatism, but since you rightly point out that "nobody can be absolutely certain how this plays out," it seems to me legitimate to consider the full range of possibilities.

I was pre-empting that response from anyone, not countering it per se.

Anyway, the sources of extinction are manifold and many very long lasting. These factors are likely to increase the recovery time, but by how much, no one knows. Other extinctions have had recovery periods of millions to tens of millions of years. Will our super-sized, multi-sourced extinction require double that? An order of magnitude more? If the latter, we are talking about hundreds of millions of years, and that is pushing us toward the point where, whatever the atmospheric C content is, the sun will get too hot for the earth to be able to sustain life.

In any case, I see scant chance that anything like humans as we know them will be around to see things stabilize and then start to turn around (unless we miraculously suddenly stop all further emissions of carbon and find effective ways to suck the carbon that's in the atmosphere back out very quickly and on a massive scale, again, without using ff to do it).

I seem to recall reading that the end Permian may have taken around a million years for life to really recover from. I just stumbled over this:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/2/l_032_04.html (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/2/l_032_04.html)

Quote
The typical rate of extinction differs for different groups of organisms. Mammals, for instance, have an average species "lifespan" from origination to extinction of about 1 million years, although some species persist for as long as 10 million years.

Quote
And while the fossil record tells us that biodiversity has always recovered, it also tells us that the recovery will be unbearably slow in human terms -- 5 to 10 million years after the mass extinctions of the past. That's more than 200,000 generations of humankind before levels of biodiversity comparable to those we inherited might be restored.

I'm unclear why we should expect much worse than the end Permian?

The most hopeful outlook I have, is that whatever the final state of the changed climate settles at - it may be theoretically possible for long term human activity to accelerate the process of pushing the climate back to a more habitable state (by carrying out activities over thousands of years that help sequester carbon from the atmosphere). The planet is likely to eventually sequester the carbon again otherwise I should think - from rock weathering and by forming new coal and oil (the irony).

However, I very much doubt we can do anything to restore lost biodiversity. Only a few million years can fix that. In a few million years I should think our species will either be gone, or have turned into another species. It seems a valid question to me to contemplate if people would ever permit biodiversity to increase? We've pushed the world into a mass extinction even before climate change is properly factored into things... If our range was restricted to niche habitats and most of the rest of the world was barren - would we really let nature take it's course with a sizeable chunk of our precious habitable area?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 22, 2013, 08:22:39 AM
"I'm unclear why we should expect much worse than the end Permian?"

I didn't mean to imply that "expected" it. Only that I don't think we can rule out a worse extinction event and a slower recovery than in the end Permian.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I recall there was no plastic during the Permian, nor other massive quantities of chemicals that have no biological way to be broken down. Recall, that, if not exposed to sunlight for a very long time, plastic only 'breaks down' mechanically into smaller and smaller pieces. At each stage those pieces are hazardous or lethal to the organisms that ingest them. There are a host of other chemicals that have no known way to be broken down by natural systems, some of them quite toxic. These will continue to do damage for a very long time.

Again, I may be mistaken, but I don't believe that in the Permian there were planes, boats, trains, busses, cars...all busily transporting fungi, bacteria, invasive plants and animals across continents and oceans, introducing them to areas where they never existed and so have evolved no biological controls for them.

Perhaps there were lots and lots of nuclear warheads and power plants in the Permian, but somehow I don't think so.

GMOs and nano-particles represent yet more potential threats that the natural world has evolved no means to cope with, and in the former case, they are self replicating--a chemical plant you can shut down if you decide you don't like what it is producing. But an actual plant, if it gets into the wild and is producing something that ends up to be toxic to you or to a species you don't want to disappear, can be very hard to get under control.

And as I said, as famine becomes ever-more widespread, humans are going to eat everything they can lay their hands on. And we can be quite clever when it comes to figuring out how to kill things so we can eat them. SLR also will not only wipe out habitats, but will force millions to billions to move to new places, building new towns and cities, displacing whatever wildlife had been there.

I could go on, but I hope you now get my point. Maybe the natural world will 'figure out' how to deal with all these many insults/assaults in a timely fashion. But we are conducting a massive experiment on the only fragile planet we have, and early indications are that the patient is not responding well to our 'treatments.'

Just because end-permian was really, really bad doesn't mean we can't manage to do even worse. We certainly are trying hard.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Csnavywx on August 23, 2013, 01:30:12 PM
If this ever happens, it is likely decades or centuries away. But eventually, if we continue to burn up every bit of carbon we can lay our hands on, we could end up with a world where many of the currently most heavily inhabited are unlivable.

I don't mean just sea level rise, though that will kill and displace more and more people in the coming years and decades. GW, besides obviously increasing average global temperature, also increases average humidity (about 5% increase so far iirc).

Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html (http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html)

https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg (https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg)

Keep in mind that many of the places that don't show high wbt will be too dry to support human life (yes, ironically, even as average humidity increases, some areas will become more and more dry).

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.

Have you ever experienced a WBT of 28C+? I have. In fact, when I was stationed in Bahrain, we had several instances of a 30C WBT in the morning (before sunrise), and even one morning with a WBT over 31C (it was 95F with an 86F dewpoint at our station).

Let me tell you from personal experience, it's absolutely miserable. On the morning mentioned above, I was almost completely soaked in sweat from head to toe after walking just 6 blocks. I'm certain that it wasn't survivable in clothing more than an hour or two. Anything above 27 is basically intolerable to live in without significant usage of AC.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 23, 2013, 04:17:48 PM
If this ever happens, it is likely decades or centuries away. But eventually, if we continue to burn up every bit of carbon we can lay our hands on, we could end up with a world where many of the currently most heavily inhabited are unlivable.

I don't mean just sea level rise, though that will kill and displace more and more people in the coming years and decades. GW, besides obviously increasing average global temperature, also increases average humidity (about 5% increase so far iirc).

Eventually, the combination of heat and humidity (called "wet bulb temperature") makes conditions unlivable for humans--we basically start to cook in our skins, since we cannot effectively cool ourselves even sitting still naked in a high wind. This happens at about 35 C wbt.

http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html (http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html)

https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg (https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2010/huber-future.jpg)

Keep in mind that many of the places that don't show high wbt will be too dry to support human life (yes, ironically, even as average humidity increases, some areas will become more and more dry).

So if nothing else kills off the billions, that is likely to do a pretty good job of it.

Have you ever experienced a WBT of 28C+? I have. In fact, when I was stationed in Bahrain, we had several instances of a 30C WBT in the morning (before sunrise), and even one morning with a WBT over 31C (it was 95F with an 86F dewpoint at our station).

Let me tell you from personal experience, it's absolutely miserable. On the morning mentioned above, I was almost completely soaked in sweat from head to toe after walking just 6 blocks. I'm certain that it wasn't survivable in clothing more than an hour or two. Anything above 27 is basically intolerable to live in without significant usage of AC.

This should not surprise us since a 35C wbt results in death in 6 hours for any human being. In 35C wbt, everyone dies. It does not matter how much water you drink or how much of a breeze there is. If exposed to 31C wbt for long enough, many will still die, especially if you are trying to do any kind of work outside or live in an apartment without air conditioning where the wbt can be much higher than outside.
 
My wife worked nights in a level one trauma center in Chicago during the 1995 heat wave which killed nearly 1000 people. The first night of heat, there was no indication of a problem. By the third night they were bringing 10 bodies an hour into ER. Many were dead, the rest died while being treated. Death from heat is not a pretty sight. The body starts forming and throwing blood clots and organs shut down.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 23, 2013, 04:19:59 PM
Good point. Many will die long before we get anywhere close to 35wbt.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 23, 2013, 06:56:30 PM
This should not surprise us since a 35C wbt results in death in 6 hours for any human being. In 35C wbt, everyone dies. It does not matter how much water you drink or how much of a breeze there is. If exposed to 31C wbt for long enough, many will still die, especially if you are trying to do any kind of work outside or live in an apartment without air conditioning where the wbt can be much higher than outside.

According to an online calculator (not sure how accurate it is), it reached 31-32C web bulb here a few weeks ago (relatively warm spell - same calculator gives 26-27C for today, which makes me think it's probably fairly accurate). I had the bad timing to be out in the sun (mostly) for 1.5 days welding (in full clothing) and by midday on the second day (as I was finishing the item in question) I was starting to get symptoms of heat exhaustion pressing enough not to ignore. The heat really impairs ones ability to do even light manual labour - heavy manual labour for any length of the time becomes out of the question. Just standing up produces a noticeable increase in sweating compared to sitting down.

Without the option of air conditioning (I don't have that option), all one can do is sit in front of a fan in as cool a spot as one can find. If one didn't have electrical power or fans, one couldn't even do that...

Long term, maybe Antarctica is the place to be! (given where ultimate global warming could leave things)

http://news.discovery.com/earth/plants/antarctica-going-green-110405.htm (http://news.discovery.com/earth/plants/antarctica-going-green-110405.htm)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 23, 2013, 07:05:08 PM
"in front of a fan" And when you reach 35 degrees C wbt, even the strongest fan won't help you.

Long term, yes, Antarctic is the land mass that will still be habitable for quite some time. But it is currently not (without lots of support from the rest of the planet). So timing would be tricky. The farthest north parts of North America and Eurasia and associated islands could be other refuges (as suggested by the movie "The Age of Stupid").

The Age of Stupid - trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZjsJdokC0s#ws)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 23, 2013, 07:30:30 PM
"in front of a fan" And when you reach 35 degrees C wbt, even the strongest fan won't help you.

Coming from a place originally where summer day time highs are still cooler than night time lows where I'm at right now, I've come to appreciate the virtues of the humble fan (even sleeping in front of one). I very much doubt most people will live to see such high wet bulb temperatures as 35C on a regular basis - too far to go to get to that point and too many other things to go wrong. We'll see increasingly substantial mortality from heat waves and the new extreme end of the weather spectrum long before such conditions become common (and just for the adding sting in the tail - excess heat can affect electricity distribution and generation - good to have a battery bank and to be off grid!).

Long term, yes, Antarctic is the land mass that will still be habitable for quite some time. But it is currently not (without lots of support from the rest of the planet). So timing would be tricky. The farthest north parts of North America and Eurasia and associated islands could be other refuges (as suggested by the movie "The Age of Stupid").

For quite some time? Or indefinitely? I'm not aware of credible predictions for even the polar regions becoming categorically uninhabitable.

The timing issue you identify is a definite issue though - currently the future habitable regions are mostly not, and it's likely to take time (centuries) before they really become suitable (for example, consider how fast topsoil formation proceeds), leaving a very awkward interval as the existing areas start to leave habitable specification. In that interval the habitable niches presumably will be smallest, with people squozen from both sides.

In that interval population must necessarily reach a minimum value (hopefully greater than zero), no matter how it does so.

Plausibly speaking though, given we have yet to even achieve a static population - is there any credible pathway to get from where we are now to such a minimum, in an organised and socially acceptable fashion? I don't see how...
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Vergent on August 23, 2013, 07:54:33 PM
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia4.s-nbcnews.com%2Fj%2FMSNBC%2FComponents%2FPhoto%2F_new%2Fg-cvr-091210-kenya-8a.grid-6x2.jpg&hash=037df04dbc14d1bae78cc0ce6855b2ad)
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34462971/ns/weather/t/east-africa-drought-leaves-millions-need/#.UheQfdLTMSY (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34462971/ns/weather/t/east-africa-drought-leaves-millions-need/#.UheQfdLTMSY)

Most of the crops and animals we feed ourselves with are less heat tolerant than we are. Food will be a crisis long before temperature. In Africa this is already true. The vast majority of deaths in the heat waves are the soon to die, the ill and the elderly. The added stress just hastens the inevitable.

Vergent

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on August 23, 2013, 09:52:35 PM
< excerpt -/- snippet >

Plausibly speaking though, given we have yet to even achieve a static population - is there any credible pathway to get from where we are now to such a minimum, in an organised and socially acceptable fashion? I don't see how...
With so much information about "renewable energy" being a savior from GHG
surely
we'll soon be seeing various controlled methods proposed to reduce population
without resorting to genocide.

IMHO, as the fossil fuel industry seems to oppose total conversion to renewable's
what - which segment of society will oppose population reduction?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 24, 2013, 12:49:05 AM
(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia4.s-nbcnews.com%2Fj%2FMSNBC%2FComponents%2FPhoto%2F_new%2Fg-cvr-091210-kenya-8a.grid-6x2.jpg&hash=037df04dbc14d1bae78cc0ce6855b2ad)
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34462971/ns/weather/t/east-africa-drought-leaves-millions-need/#.UheQfdLTMSY (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/34462971/ns/weather/t/east-africa-drought-leaves-millions-need/#.UheQfdLTMSY)

Most of the crops and animals we feed ourselves with are less heat tolerant than we are. Food will be a crisis long before temperature. In Africa this is already true. The vast majority of deaths in the heat waves are the soon to die, the ill and the elderly. The added stress just hastens the inevitable.

Vergent

And even for those that are as tolerant, they can't retreat to air conditioned houses.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 24, 2013, 01:12:50 AM
Does anyone know the maximum wet bulb temperatures that most common farm animals can withstand?
 Terry

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 24, 2013, 06:47:54 PM
Terry,   interesting question

My hunch is that the maximum wet-bulb temperature that any animal can tolerate is directly related to what their normal core temperature and what their upper core temperature limit is.  Also many animal cannot perspire and cool themselves via expiration.

Normal core temperature for an adult pig is 102.5 F (39.2  C). 

Animals in general have core temperatures between 100 F and 103 F (37.8 - 39.4 C) this includes all farm animals as well as cats and dogs.

So, as usual, us humans seem to be the weaklings in all this nature stuff.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on August 24, 2013, 07:48:53 PM
Terry,   interesting question

My hunch is that the maximum wet-bulb temperature that any animal can tolerate is directly related to what their normal core temperature and what their upper core temperature limit is.  Also many animal cannot perspire and cool themselves via expiration.

I think there's an important additional corollary (though the inability of some animals to sweat is a pretty big one!), and that is that larger animals will struggle to shed metabolic heat efficiently. Heat production in an organism is a function of volume and loss of heat is essentially a function of surface area.

Therefore as you approach the limits of heat, I would expect you will find that smaller animals will do better, if all else remains constant.

Humans might be weak in many ways, but one of our strengths is our ability to increase or shed clothing - most animals get at most an ability to grow a different coat for winter than summer.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 04, 2013, 09:07:00 PM
The Real Population Problem

An article by Tom Murphy professor of physics UCSD

This article is full of graphs and data and arrives at some surprising numbers (the US for instance is NOT the highest per capita emitter of CO2 it is 8th on the list) and just lots of other good data.

The prime conclusion, which largely does fit everyone's assumptions, is that the US is easily the most impactful in terms of climate change and China and India are the only other countries which really matter (unless you count Western Europe as a single entity - which is fair).

Quote
But the answer to the question: who’s population growth is having the largest effect on global energy demand?—it’s the U.S.

Quote
...For many thousands of years following the end of the last Ice Age, human population rose steadily and slowly, at a rate of about 0.032% per year—translating into a leisurely doubling time of some 2000 years....

....Plotting global population in the last thousand years (below), we see a few breaks in the slope. For most of this period, we saw a modest 0.12% growth rate, amounting to a 600 year doubling time. Around 1700, the rate stepped up to 0.41%, doubling every 170 years. The next break happens around 1870, jumping to 0.82% and 85 years to double. Then around 1950, we see another factor-of-two rate jump to 1.7% and an impressively short 40 year doubling time. -
...The bounty of fossil-fuel-turned-food encouraged an explosion in birth rates, as happens for virtually all organisms given similar circumstances

Quote
....Looking at the above graphs, we can learn something important about adding people to the planet. Adding a person in Africa has very little impact on energy use and (therefore) CO2 emissions compared to adding a person to the U.S., by a factor of 20. Picture an American baby 20 times bigger than an African baby. A Quatari towers 45 times higher than a typical African citizen when it comes to CO2...

And here is a big kicker that I have tried to point out before to those who argue that rising affluence will trigger long-term reductions in the fertility rate.  This is not borne out be the data.

Quote
...First is the growth rate against average income. We have a clear correlation at the left edge: poorer countries have high growth rates, but rapidly dive to lower—and even negative—rates by about the time average earnings reach a quarter of those in the U.S. Then a funny thing happens: the cluster turns up again! This narrative-busting truth made me sit up straight, I’ll tell you. ...

Interesting comment on the moral dimension.  An internal discussion I have also had.

Quote
It makes me question the global benefit of increasing population by providing food assistance. I once contributed to such funds, but now find myself confused: what’s the plan, here? I get the humanitarian urge to support starving populations—really. This universal sympathy is part of human nature, but may become one of the forces that binds us to the railroad tracks leading to overpopulation and eventual collapse. That’s my concern. By supporting starving populations now, are we only doubling down so that the number of ultimate sufferers is larger? Is the bad news inevitable? Until I have a clearer picture, I’m somewhat paralyzed in my intrinsic desire to offer support.


A great quote that I fully intend to steal (I struggle to be civil with optimists in general)

Quote
I try to be careful not to convey certainty about the future—which I note is not a behavior i often witness from optimists.

Quote
Population, as a reflection of human nature, may well be the mother of all challenges.

The one item he does not bring up is where future population reductions are likely to occur first.  Even though the numbers indicate that the US should be first, followed by China and India, I think it pretty certain that actual events will play out differently.

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem/ (http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem/)

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on September 06, 2013, 05:40:45 PM
Well at least Prof. Murphy puts it upfront or very close
Quote
resource use, environmental pressures, climate change, food and water supply, and the health of the world’s fish and wildlife populations would all be non-issues if Earth enjoyed a human population of 100 million or less.
The subject is taboo for a few reasons. The suggestion that a smaller number would be nice begs the question of who we should eliminate, and who gets to decide such things. - See more at: http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem/#sthash.23jbanKL.dpuf (http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2013/09/the-real-population-problem/#sthash.23jbanKL.dpuf)
Again, did not read anything about how to purposeful eliminate excess population.

Also of note, is his use of "population of 100 million or less"
0.001428571% ~ of current versus number of around 1 billion,
what a reduction that would be for what I would refer to as "sustainability."

Who and How - not so simple I guess.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on September 07, 2013, 08:11:38 PM
My vote for half of one of those hundred million would be the various peoples commonly known as "Pygmies." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_peoples)

Another quarter million or so might be another group who arguably has contributed among the least to the current insanity, the various tribes that speak languages commonly identified as KhoiSan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koisan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koisan)

There are probably a few more groups in and outside of Africa that one could make an argument have participated least in the current anthropogenic mass extinction event that might be included in this number as well.

These seem most appropriate to be on the list both in terms of mere justice, and because it would seem wise to repopulate the earth with people least likely to go down the same path as modern industrial society has (and to varying degrees, nearly every group that left Africa, though some learned the lessons of extinction sooner and more completely than others.)

Other nominations (besides "me, mine and us").
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on September 08, 2013, 04:58:02 PM
wili,

For the sake of dialogue,
I am going to agree with you about saving the  "Pygmies" and "KhoiSan."

O.K. - two votes now about who NOT to eliminate.

If we wait for natural - catastrophic events, can their survival be ensured?

The other Six Billion, how could they be purposeful eliminated?
Before destroying the "Pygmies" and "KhoiSan."
I vote for Genetic Testing and Sterilization to eliminate reproduction by the 99% remaining population.  Is that also taboo?




Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 08, 2013, 05:28:39 PM
Quote
I vote for Genetic Testing and Sterilization to eliminate reproduction by the 99% remaining population.  Is that also taboo?

I have a better idea!  Well select on who's the best looking!  No sense starting the race over with ugly people.  I'll pick the girls you can pick the guys.  I think that sounds fair   ::)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 08, 2013, 07:05:43 PM
Quote
I vote for Genetic Testing and Sterilization to eliminate reproduction by the 99% remaining population.  Is that also taboo?

I have a better idea!  Well select on who's the best looking!  No sense starting the race over with ugly people.  I'll pick the girls you can pick the guys.  I think that sounds fair   ::)

Or we'll just have people fight to the death as a selection strategy, killing two birds with one stone - genetic selection and population.

I realise that's rather close to the default outcome of all this - but - I wager one could make pretty popular reality TV out of it if it were controlled (my first thought was "no way most people would enjoy watching that" and my second thought was "but it worked just fine for the romans to provide entertainment in live slaughter").
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on September 09, 2013, 03:18:28 AM
Jack, one quick way to go about getting rid of the prime culprits is a universal, permanent strike of all garbage collection. Those who consume the most will quite quickly drown in their own trash.


Meanwhile, another scientist weighs in on the likelihood of human extinction in the not-too-distant future:

http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/web-of-life-unravelling-wildlife-biologist-says-1.605499 (http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/web-of-life-unravelling-wildlife-biologist-says-1.605499)

Web of life unravelling, wildlife biologist says

Quote
Wildlife biologist Neil Dawe says he wouldn't be surprised if the generation after him witnesses the extinction of humanity.

All around him, even in a place as beautiful as the Little Qualicum River estuary, his office for 30 years as a biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, he sees the unravelling of "the web of life."

"It's happening very quickly," he says.

A recent news report focussed on the precipitous decline of barn swallows on Vancouver Island.

That is certainly true, says Dawe, who starting in 1978 worked on the Royal BC Museum's four-volume Birds of British Columbia project, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

People will focus on the extinction of a species but not "the overall impact," he says. When habitat diversity is lost, "it changes the whole dynamic."
...

The loss to the food web is a loss to the web of life, he says, and people are a huge part of that web.

Indeed, it's an overabundance of people, perhaps by five-fold, which is driving resource extraction and consumption beyond a sustainable planet, he says.

"Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology," he says. "Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. "If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us."

He isn't hopeful humans will rise to the challenge and save themselves.


"Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things," he says. "Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 09, 2013, 05:44:34 AM
barnacles
TITLE: barnacle (crustacean)
...fungi. Females parasitize decapod crustaceans (crabs and allies) by sending rootlike absorptive processes through the host’s body; this intrusion inhibits the host’s reproductive development ( parasitic castration). Parasites of the order Ascothoracica, the most primitive of cirripedes, are cyprislike as adults. An example is Laura, found imbedded in cnidarians and echinoderms.

It's the words in parenthesis  that were a shocker the first time I heard them.  Alas they aren't a threat to humans.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on September 09, 2013, 04:01:45 PM
As much I agree the JimD,  the originator of this topic/thread, about excess population.

I guess it is unreasonable for me to pose a question such as
"How to purposeful eliminate 90% of the population"
without having to wait for an extinction event.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on September 09, 2013, 04:20:07 PM
Jack, one quick way to go about getting rid of the prime culprits is a universal, permanent strike of all garbage collection. Those who consume the most will quite quickly drown in their own trash.


Meanwhile, another scientist weighs in on the likelihood of human extinction in the not-too-distant future:

http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/web-of-life-unravelling-wildlife-biologist-says-1.605499 (http://www.oceansidestar.com/news/web-of-life-unravelling-wildlife-biologist-says-1.605499)

Web of life unravelling, wildlife biologist says

Quote
Wildlife biologist Neil Dawe says he wouldn't be surprised if the generation after him witnesses the extinction of humanity.

All around him, even in a place as beautiful as the Little Qualicum River estuary, his office for 30 years as a biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service, he sees the unravelling of "the web of life."

"It's happening very quickly," he says.

A recent news report focussed on the precipitous decline of barn swallows on Vancouver Island.

That is certainly true, says Dawe, who starting in 1978 worked on the Royal BC Museum's four-volume Birds of British Columbia project, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

People will focus on the extinction of a species but not "the overall impact," he says. When habitat diversity is lost, "it changes the whole dynamic."
...

The loss to the food web is a loss to the web of life, he says, and people are a huge part of that web.

Indeed, it's an overabundance of people, perhaps by five-fold, which is driving resource extraction and consumption beyond a sustainable planet, he says.

"Economic growth is the biggest destroyer of the ecology," he says. "Those people who think you can have a growing economy and a healthy environment are wrong. "If we don't reduce our numbers, nature will do it for us."

He isn't hopeful humans will rise to the challenge and save themselves.


"Everything is worse and we're still doing the same things," he says. "Because ecosystems are so resilient, they don't exact immediate punishment on the stupid."

Great article. The author's mention of the importance of "habitat diversity" as crucial to the health of an ecosystem is spot on. In fact "diversity" is the single most important feature of any resilient system, no matter what the system is. The most resilient systems are highly diverse and can withstand shocks to it. Systems with low diversity are extremely fragile and minor perturbations can severely disrupt or destroy these systems.

In economics, it is common knowledge that highly diverse urban economies are more resilient than economies that are dependent on a few critical industries. Detroit is an example of how a low diversity urban economy can collapse when rapid change occurs.

Look at the environment of a healthy gut. The healthy human gut has hundreds of distinct bacteria, each critical to a healthy gut and healthy human. When a few bacteria grow to dominate this environment, the health of the gut declines rapidly as does the health of the human.

You cannot look at any system and find that a lower diversity system results in a more resilient system. The opposite is always the case.

For most of the last 10,000 years, humans have been reducing the diversity of the bio-system. In most cases, this has been unintentional, a natural side effect of our success as a species. Some of the most dangerous reductions in diversity have been intentional and are often pointed to as technological achievements. The agricultural revolution is such an example. Industrial agriculture, in general, has focused on a very few specific types of grains, cattle, poultry etc. and have virtually ignored the variety of these species that form the genetic diversity needed to support the very existence of the species. This deliberate selection has already weakened these foodstuffs which now require enormous amounts of pesticides, herbicides and/or antibiotics to ensure a healthy output. Anyone who has an organic garden (I have been gardening for years without any herbicides or pesticides with amazing results.) is well aware of how diverse such a garden is. My garden has hundreds of resident praying mantis, a carnivorous insect that eats many times its body weight in pest insects. These carnivorous insects are the first to disappear when a pesticide is used, exposing your crops to pests.

Here is the key to understanding and identifying resilient (highly diverse) systems and non-resilient (low diversity) systems:

Everything is a system embedded in ever larger systems. When looking at any distinct system, assess the diversity and evaluate its resilience within the larger system.

The human gut is a system embedded in the larger system, the human body. Individual humans are systems embedded in a variety of larger systems (familial, economic, national, etc.).

An extended family, spanning generations and linking siblings and their offspring, is a far more resilient family unit then the nuclear family.

A resilient human is one who has a highly diverse set of skills where a non-resilient human has a very narrow specialized skill. If our complex society is severely disturbed by AGW (and it will be) the resilient human's chance of survival is far higher than someone who is a specialist. That financial genius who makes a fortune on complex derivative trades is doomed. That farmer, living in rural Wisconsin, stands a far better chance of survival.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on September 09, 2013, 05:53:49 PM
Well put, HS. I would just add one caveat--what may seem to increase diversity can reduce or destroy diversity in the longer run.

Some of the most diverse natural environments are on the borders between two bio-systems. Not only do you get species that predominate in each system, you also tend to get species that specialize in just these kinds of 'edge' environments.

But this could be seen as a reason to accept the building of roads into otherwise undeveloped areas--each road creates an 'edge' on either side of it that tend to promote a wider variety than the more uniform areas without such disturbance. New organisms are also generally introduced along these roadways, which can at first further increase the level of diversity along the roads.

But of course, long term, building lots of roads through otherwise undisturbed areas is not generally a great prescription for increasing resilience of the area.

In general, though, you are very right. And monocultures of all types tend lead to possible or actual collapse, once some critter figures out how to take advantage of the uniform food-stuff monocultures represent. This again operates on many levels--monocultures of corn, the monoculture of nearly every 'well groomed' lawn, but also "Monocultures of the Mind" (to use Vandana Shiva's phrase).

And to bring the conversation all the way back to human population, humans themselves can be seen as an enormous monoculture. IIRC, human flesh now represents the single largest uniform food source on the planet.

Some critter is surely eventually going to come along and figure out how to effectively 'exploit' such a vast, uniform food source. The CDC can only stay one step ahead of them for so long.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 09, 2013, 06:05:30 PM
With so much information about "renewable energy" being a savior from GHG
surely
we'll soon be seeing various controlled methods proposed to reduce population
without resorting to genocide.

IMHO, as the fossil fuel industry seems to oppose total conversion to renewable's
what - which segment of society will oppose population reduction?


As much I agree the JimD,  the originator of this topic/thread, about excess population.

I guess it is unreasonable for me to pose a question such as
"How to purposeful eliminate 90% of the population"
without having to wait for an extinction event.

Jack

Even if we all agreed that population reduction was critical (and there are many people who do not feel this way) I highly doubt that any reduction program which would result in significant drops in population could ever be agreed upon.  The reasons for this is that there is no painless and fair way to rapidly reduce population levels and many people will naturally try to ensure that their group does not suffer this fate equally with others (its human nature).

Up thread we discussed the most fair and least painful program I could think of and I believe that it is also so painful that I cannot conceive of ever getting a global agreement to implement it.  That program would requires that we skip an entire generation of children; in other words no woman anywhere in the world would birth a child for 20 years.  Pretty fair, also pretty painful, and no violence required.

Outside of voluntarily not having children I am not aware of any way to quickly reduce population levels that does not require a vast scale of violence.  Sorry.

I won't propose any specific type of violence to accomplish this as circumstances will likely lead to most any method you can think of anyway.  All will likely occur pretty much simultaneously as the climate continues to destabilize and food and resource shortages become endemic.  We are likely just going to have to wait for it to happen.  I think it most likely that we will just drift into the situations where rapid population loss happens, but it is also a reasonable possibility that some entity will precipitate it on purpose.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on September 09, 2013, 06:17:19 PM
I reckon the Four Horsemen could achieve their mission without any help from us heathen.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 09, 2013, 06:51:48 PM
Anne

That is my bet as well.  But then again..genocide (War) is one of the Four which requires heathen assistance.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Anne on September 09, 2013, 06:53:12 PM
Jim

But no one from this forum, I trust.  :o
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 09, 2013, 08:52:17 PM
Well I'm a Pagan so that leaves me out...I think.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on September 09, 2013, 11:05:41 PM
Jim

But no one from this forum, I trust.  :o

My nym should give me away.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on September 10, 2013, 06:11:21 PM
snippet ~ "Even if we all agreed that population reduction was critical (and there are many people who do not feel this way) I highly doubt that any reduction program which would result in significant drops in population could ever be agreed upon." ~ 
Yes - I agree, there will not be an agreement.
I hope a solution is not needed.
But, that does not preclude you talking about running the numbers on no births for 20-years or my 99% not allowed to reproduce.

Hopefully, the UN demographers are correct in that 9.7 Billion will be max achieved and then decreases.

So nothing will be done about public enemy number one.

Was it a waste of time to have this topic-thread?

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 10, 2013, 06:33:16 PM
Jack

More coffee!   8)

Quote
So nothing will be done about public enemy number one.

Was it a waste of time to have this topic-thread?

While a few people here probably have some hope that these discussions we have on the forum will result in educating some people and maybe making a small positive change, I suspect that most of us are just  very interested in the entire process and find it intellectually stimulating to work our way through all the complexity of what is going to happen.  It is a more interesting version of turning on the  movie and cooking up the popcorn. 

So all topics have some value I guess and the number of reads and responses show the interest in talking about them.  But I, for one, have no expectations of making any difference via my posts.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on September 10, 2013, 07:04:38 PM
snippet ~ "Even if we all agreed that population reduction was critical (and there are many people who do not feel this way) I highly doubt that any reduction program which would result in significant drops in population could ever be agreed upon." ~ 
Yes - I agree, there will not be an agreement.
I hope a solution is not needed.
But, that does not preclude you talking about running the numbers on no births for 20-years or my 99% not allowed to reproduce.

Hopefully, the UN demographers are correct in that 9.7 Billion will be max achieved and then decreases.

So nothing will be done about public enemy number one.

Was it a waste of time to have this topic-thread?

It is not a waste of time.

I agree with the conclusions drawn here. Humans collectively are very unlikely to take ethical action to address the issue of over-population. The decision to reproduce is a very personal one. I have a degree in economics and believe in the "economic" human in so far as personal decisions are based on maximizing utility for the person making a decision. A decision to reproduce is made based on the personal desires and values given to having a child. Religious Christians will choose to have many children due to their desire to be "fruitful and multiply". Agrarian cultures with relatively high mortality rates will result in more children. Wealthy nations with the associated high costs of raising children will have relatively low fertility rates. U.S. fertility rates have dropped to historical lows since the recession of 2007 as couples delay the decision to have children. This delay will have a decades long impact in U.S. population growth but the decisions were made individually.

Since no collective decision can possibly affect this personal decision to reproduce, we should expect that war, famine and disease will be the most likely methods used to halt and reverse the growth in population. Discussing this is not useless as it allows us to grapple with the issues that such a future presents.

This discussion also provides us with the ability to at least partially approach the issue of population growth from the perspective of public policy. Nations could choose to enact policy that influences the decisions that individuals make about having children. This does not need to be draconian prohibitions such as China's "one child" policy. It would simply need to be policy that cause the decision to procreate to be less attractive on the margins. Such policies still allow for the individual to choose but will cause all individuals to make this choice in an environment of the "declining marginal utility" of children.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 10, 2013, 08:28:31 PM
So nothing will be done about public enemy number one.

Was it a waste of time to have this topic-thread?

Not a waste at all, it's a key part of the problem and well deserving of the highlight as it's often sidelined and conveniently ignored by many people.

The absence of obviously ideal (and viable solutions) notwithstanding, identifying a problem is still a prerequisite to attempting to come up with solutions.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 16, 2013, 07:38:34 PM
Here is an interesting article that caught my eye.  As I was reading it the thought occurred to me that this is one of the impacts of technology which has the potential to eliminate vast numbers of jobs in the 3rd world while at the same time reducing the foreign earnings of those countries.  Which would put many of them much closer to the line where they no longer had the money to pay for food they could not grow. 

"3D Printed Guns Won't Hurt You - but Jobs of 50 Million Women Could Be in Danger"

Quote
The gushing is infectious. "3D printing could essentially eliminate the fashion manufacturing industry entirely," apparel industry rag Fashionista enthuses...

.... For if the fashion industry's wishes come true, 3D printing jeopardizes jobs for around 50 million women, spread across every continent, and in most countries of the world. That's a full fourteenth of the world's population - one woman in every seven - out of work. ...

(note the articles math sucks as 50 million is 1/144th of the worlds population and thus
about 0.7%, but 50 million jobs is not chicken feed either)

We may not be all that far from the point of many people being able to manufacture their own clothes in their walk in closet.  High end clothes first. 

I must admit I have very mixed feelings about the ultimate social value of robotics.  If we replace peoples jobs with robotics then we have to guarantee them a living minimum level of subsistence whether they work or not.  If you do not do this eventually the society will collapse.  However, none of our governmental/economic systems or cultural patterns are geared towards ever implementing a system which supports people who do not work.  And this is not a socialistic/communistic concept, even Friedrich Hayek recognized the need for such a system.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18622-the-3d-printed-guns-wont-hurt-you (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18622-the-3d-printed-guns-wont-hurt-you)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 17, 2013, 05:24:43 AM
I must admit I have very mixed feelings about the ultimate social value of robotics.  If we replace peoples jobs with robotics then we have to guarantee them a living minimum level of subsistence whether they work or not.  If you do not do this eventually the society will collapse.  However, none of our governmental/economic systems or cultural patterns are geared towards ever implementing a system which supports people who do not work.  And this is not a socialistic/communistic concept, even Friedrich Hayek recognized the need for such a system.

Well, in theory robots could do a lot of dangerous or boring jobs and free up human labour resource for more fulfilling work - or to free up potential to help our species advance efficiently. Unfortunately at the moment, the dominant paradigm (free market thinking, albeit strongly constrained in favour of the rich and powerful) seems to view an unused labour pool as an acceptable outcome - even a necessary outcome.

To me, this has the same feel of nations where women are unable to become educated - massive amounts of human potential are squandered and large amounts of suffering inflicted on people by other people for ideological reasons (counting both religion and the free market myth as such).

In the UK for example - I think there are plenty of things unemployed people could do that would positively contribute to society. The towns are dirty, graffiti ridden and litter is everywhere. Old people receive a bare minimum of care from the society in which they live. Even for people not possessed of remarkable intelligence or ability - there are plenty of potential jobs they could be doing that robots cannot yet do - but there isn't enough money to fund those jobs. There is however enough money to pour into failed banks (hardly a free market to do so!), or to fund various military adventures etc - so this represents a value judgement rather than an absolute limitation (and hell, money is essentially imaginary).

At the higher end of ability and skill I wonder how much talent and intelligence is simply squandered due to the market not assigning any value to the use of it. That is to say that when money drives everything - where is the incentive to spend large amounts of effort finding answers to the increasing shortage of antibiotics? When we let the market drive that - we have to wait until suffering increases to a point that it is profitable to do so - as opposed to trying to do so simply because it makes sense. In the modern world someone can have multiple degrees and be flipping burgers just to get by. They are again being underutilised - and there is a cost to society from that.

Likewise - suppose a company that makes a lot of money selling HIV drugs (which must be taken for the rest of a lifetime and are not cheap) found a cheap cure for HIV (speaking hypothetically). How can it possibly be in their interests to bring this to market if they stand to make a lot more money selling people medicine for life?

Where I'm really going with all this - if we accept the reasonable assertion that population is currently much too high and a sustainable population would be substantially lower, we need to consider what the shape of human existence then becomes. I think a high population is a significant driver of innovation and hence the high technology we currently possess. There is a statistical certainty that with more people there will be both more geniuses and more good ideas floating around.

Given that population must be constrained and assuming that we want our members to enjoy a basically comfortable existence, and think it worthwhile to try to answer the big questions (like where did the universe come from and how does it work) - I would argue that we need to do a lot better at utilising our potential. We need to not squander people and potential, and potentially that means robots (and other things - like educating all members of the species, not letting poverty or the market discard potential, etc).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on September 17, 2013, 05:47:13 AM
"there are plenty of things unemployed people could do that would positively contribute to society. The towns are dirty, graffiti ridden and litter is everywhere."

Hey, are you the former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil? He gave empty bags to the homeless, and then gave them food for returning them filled with street trash, thus cheaply cleaning up the streets and relieving the most desperate needs of the poorest at the same time.

He did a lot of other things that were pretty cool that you might want to look into.

But, then, he was a commie so we can't pay any attention to him, right? :)

In other news, people seemed to have missed the NYTs piece that seemed to claim that the earth has unlimited carrying capacity. The author really seemed to mean that the carrying capacity was not easy or perhaps possible to define, but it seems to me he is trying to get attention by sounding polemic. Here's one of his responses to questions about his piece:

Quote
it is possible, though challenging,  for both humanity and biodiversity to thrive in the Anthropocene. 

"It is possible though challenging" could, of course, be said about any number of highly improbable outcomes, for example, "It is possible though challenging for monkeys to fly out of my butt." The prospects of the latter being pretty much on a par with the prospects of biodiversity thriving in the Anthropocene, especially in the presence of a few billion more people, and especially if they are using resources at even higher rates than we are now.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/an-ecologist-explains-contested-view-of-planetary-limits/#more-50615 (http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/an-ecologist-explains-contested-view-of-planetary-limits/#more-50615)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 17, 2013, 04:26:52 PM


Where I'm really going with all this - if we accept the reasonable assertion that population is currently much too high and a sustainable population would be substantially lower, we need to consider what the shape of human existence then becomes. I think a high population is a significant driver of innovation and hence the high technology we currently possess. There is a statistical certainty that with more people there will be both more geniuses and more good ideas floating around.

Given that population must be constrained and assuming that we want our members to enjoy a basically comfortable existence, and think it worthwhile to try to answer the big questions (like where did the universe come from and how does it work) - I would argue that we need to do a lot better at utilising our potential. We need to not squander people and potential, and potentially that means robots (and other things - like educating all members of the species, not letting poverty or the market discard potential, etc).

I agree.

Fantasizing for a moment that we somehow manage to dramatically reduce population without civilization disintegrating, and also to retain a level of technology to support complex robotics, maybe we could free up enough of the trapped human creativity our current system results in that we would not lose that critical mass of creativity and innovation you speak of.

Our vast collection of human beings certainly has allowed us to access that well of human creativity to some extent.  But at what level of efficiency?  I have always thought that, given our huge population, we should have at any given time at least a few humans running around with an IQ comparable to Newton's, Da Vinci or Einstein.  But where are they?  I think they are out there but our civilizational structure does not allow them the opportunity to rise to the top.  Statistically speaking they must be out there unless modern society is decreasing human abilities significantly (I know people who claim this is the case and I think it true in certain respects).

If we had the capacity as a civilization to allow humans to seek out their interests and expand to their natural capacities I don't think we actually would need all that many people to continue to develop at an intellectual level.  In an ideal world where we could use technology to improve the human condition (rather than just orient it towards making someone richer) then robotics could free up that trapped human creativity which we cannot access today.  But we would have to have a structure in place that provided some reasonable form of subsistence that would allow them to be able to focus on their abilities and not the fact that there were no jobs.  I note that for a period of time a very large number of great minds thrived in ancient Greece at a time when populations were relatively small so unless we are much stupider than they were we should be able to accomplish equivalent things..

A perfect example of our current situation are the very large numbers of people one runs across who are clearly extremely intelligent but are stuck in some dead end job or situation where they have no opportunity.  When I ran my farm I would get a lot of young folks applying for work who had college degrees and were sort  of romantically enamored with the ideal of organic farming.  But almost all of them were some form of frustrated artist (music, art, pottery, etc) and what they really wanted to do was their art.  fBut there is just no way to make a living doing art for almost anyone.  Now I must admit that only one of the ones I hired ever had any significant amount talent (a gifted classical guitarist), but my point is that our next Einstein might be one of those poor migrant farmers trying to cross the Rio Grande and if we found him we would not need to have a large population and just hope he fell out of the crowd into our lap. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: NevB on September 17, 2013, 05:53:05 PM
Here's a brief left field comment from a bystander,

Make smaller people. Not possible in this or the next generation but perhaps after then....
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on September 17, 2013, 10:31:03 PM
Welcome, NevB.

IIRC, there is actually an organization committed to this goal. I'll see if I can hunt down a link.

But of course even very small people can operate very large machines that can do an awful lot of damage. I've seen some fairly tiny people clamber out of some pretty large Hummers and other SUVs, for instance.

If everyone were using the least they could use anyway, more small people of that type would fit on the planet with less long-term damage than us large types. But ultimately it is rate of total consumption of all resources (and therefore rate of effluents into the environment) that must be reduced, and that has only an imperfect with the size of the population and the size of the individuals that make up that population.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on September 17, 2013, 11:03:34 PM
Make smaller people. Not possible in this or the next generation but perhaps after then....

Actually, it could be started almost right away.

Put America (and some western european nations including the UK) on a diet! (preferably after altering agricultural policy/subsidies so that farmers had incentives to produce healthy food rather than bulk cheap calories - as I think this is a key reason for obesity being far more prevalent amongst the poorer section of the population).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on November 03, 2013, 04:44:38 PM
Another aspect of population, and especially the increasing numbers of people and growth in urbanization, is the generation of waste.

Quote
Human waste production has multiplied tenfold in the last century....

...The average person in the US throws away his (or her) own body weight in rubbish every month. The detritus linked to modern living has not only grown tenfold in a century; by 2025 it will double again....

...Landfill sites near Shanghai, in Rio de Janeiro, and in Mexico City typically receive 10,000 tonnes of waste a day.  The world now has more than 2,000 waste incinerators, some able to burn 5,000 tonnes a day, creating attendant problems of ash and air-polluting fumes.

Landfill waste is of course also a notorious source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas...

....By 2000, there were 2.9 billion people in cities – 49% of the world’s population – creating more than three million tonnes of solid waste per day. By 2025, it will be twice that = enough to fill a line of rubbish trucks 5,000 kilometres long every day....

...Hoornweg and Bhada-Tata are the authors of a 2012 World Bank report in which they projected a world dustbin collection of 6 million tonnes a day by 2025. They calculate that under a business-as-usual scenario waste will grow with population and affluence as the century wears on, with increasing growth in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and by 2100 it will exceed 11 million tonnes a day ...

While projecting BAU to infinity does not make sense, and the 2100 numbers will surely be overtaken by events, it is not hard to imagine the 6 million tonnes per day happening and maybe even more before all the negative feedbacks kick in and turn the curves downwards.  A doubling of waste generation rates in the next 12 years or so is a staggering thought.  It strongly implies a more than doubling in negative effects as our ability to manage such amounts will be coming under increasing stress due to all the other negative factors of a growing population, worsening climate change, and crumbling financial systems.

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/11/where-on-earth-will-the-waste-go/ (http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/11/where-on-earth-will-the-waste-go/)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 03, 2013, 06:22:26 PM
While projecting BAU to infinity does not make sense, and the 2100 numbers will surely be overtaken by events, it is not hard to imagine the 6 million tonnes per day happening and maybe even more before all the negative feedbacks kick in and turn the curves downwards.  A doubling of waste generation rates in the next 12 years or so is a staggering thought.  It strongly implies a more than doubling in negative effects as our ability to manage such amounts will be coming under increasing stress due to all the other negative factors of a growing population, worsening climate change, and crumbling financial systems.

I think the question you need to ask yourself - even as to the viability of doubling waste production in a mere 12 years - is - what is all this waste and which holes in the ground in which countries must it dug up from and what regions must it be shipped through?

To me a doubling of waste implies a doubling of consumption (and if you look at the growth rate in China that seems a reasonable assumption - at their current rates of economic growth they will more than double their resource consumption in a decade).

So where are the extra planets?

How can business as usual even continue for another decade?

Even if we don't hit the rate and severity of collapse that I think we will (my opinion being predicated heavily upon rapid agricultural decline heavily assisted by other key stress factors like this) - it's hard not to see anything other than major economic instability, resource warfare and grinding deterioration in living conditions within a decade (in western nations especially, much depends how successfully China can wrest resource control to itself as to the distribution of problems between societies - but western nations still have a much higher branch to fall from). Inasmuch as many finite resources (including some near, at or past peak) are needed for agriculture, this alone represents a very serious threat without additional input from abrupt climate change.

My feeling is with hindsight we will recognise the period in which we live now as the beginning of the end - barring a rapid succession of near miracles. Around 2007 - in more ways than one - we started our descent in earnest.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on November 04, 2013, 04:18:00 PM
Well, since you folks introduced a near topic item, let me say "Remember the Mobro"
http://retroreport.org/voyage-of-the-mobro-4000/ (http://retroreport.org/voyage-of-the-mobro-4000/)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on November 04, 2013, 05:25:18 PM
A Real-Time Map of Births and Deaths

This simulation gives an eerily omniscient vantage on the world as it fills.

Did I mention I love maps?  Pretty awesome.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/a-real-time-map-of-births-and-deaths/280609/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/10/a-real-time-map-of-births-and-deaths/280609/)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on November 04, 2013, 05:27:35 PM
Well, since you folks introduced a near topic item, let me say "Remember the Mobro"
http://retroreport.org/voyage-of-the-mobro-4000/ (http://retroreport.org/voyage-of-the-mobro-4000/)

I remember that!  Chump change by todays standards.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on November 04, 2013, 08:59:33 PM
Jim, since you like maps, here's a similar one, but with indications of GHG release as well as births and death, and with the added benefit of slightly creepy sound effects.

http://www.breathingearth.net/ (http://www.breathingearth.net/)

The pulsing beat of births in India is quite...impressive.

On the issue of the transformation of waste, has anyone said it better than:

Patti Smith - 25th Floor (full song) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKqpaWUFHdo#)  ?

(She really gets into it at about the three minute mark.)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on November 04, 2013, 10:20:34 PM
~~
I remember that!  Chump change by todays standards.
~~
Remember, 26 years ago really doesn't show our ages.

"Chump Change by Today's Standards" - Regardless of the amount, which I think is immaterial to the story, was it a wake-up-call for recycling as stated in the article ? Debatable IMHO !

Quote
"a sensational fiasco, but it ended up fueling the modern recycling movement"

Other than aluminum cans, what was recycled in your neighborhood prior to 1990?

I can remember recycling glass bottles during the 1950's, for a refund. (Coke, 'soda-pop' etc)

How about WWII metals recovery? ( before my time)

But, recycling to conserve land-fill space !

Got to admire the Swedes,
http://www.pri.org/stories/2012-06-26/sweden-imports-waste-european-neighbors-fuel-waste-energy-program (http://www.pri.org/stories/2012-06-26/sweden-imports-waste-european-neighbors-fuel-waste-energy-program)
"When it comes to recycling, Sweden is incredibly successful. Just four percent of household waste in Sweden goes into landfills. The rest winds up either recycled or used as fuel in waste-to-energy power plants"
Except for the dioxins and heavy metals in the ashes,
can the rest of the world make it as near a non-issue as they have?

Is it another matter, such as population control, which nothing will be done about?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on November 07, 2013, 09:40:21 PM
JimD, since you notice things such as garbage, in the State of South Carolina, USA
we ACTUALLY have a BILL introduced in our Legislature to prevent other states from shipping
their garbage to us.

http://www.dontdumponsc.com/news (http://www.dontdumponsc.com/news)
Quote
Taxes In, Garbage Out: The Need for Better Solid Waste Disposal Policies in New York City
http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_SolidWaste_053312012.pdf (http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_SolidWaste_053312012.pdf)
“…the final destination for Staten Island waste is 660 miles away in Bishopville, South Carolina.”
8% of New York City refuse in 2010 was disposed of in SC
Staten Island Waste Transfer Station Does Dirty Work of Mayor’s Trash Plan – September 27, 2011
http://www.ny1.com/content/147975/staten-island-waste-transfer-station-does-dirty-work-of-mayor-s-trash-plan (http://www.ny1.com/content/147975/staten-island-waste-transfer-station-does-dirty-work-of-mayor-s-trash-plan)
Staten Islanders are grateful that landfill is not on the borough. Instead, it is in South Carolina.

And Atlanta wants our water.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on November 08, 2013, 04:15:38 PM
Jack

That garbage issue pops up over and over again.  A good 20 years ago there were lots of news items about states getting upset with garbage being shipped in.  Many places near the heavily populated big cities have just about run out of landfill space and finding a rural area that will create a landfill and take their garbage is a big deal.

If we had more poor people we could just stack the stuff in the street and let them use it up like they do in Africa.  Problem solved  ;)

The water wars are just getting started is my guess.  They should be quite entertaining in a macabre sense. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on November 10, 2013, 01:53:55 AM
The water wars are just getting started is my guess.  They should be quite entertaining in a macabre sense.

Money talks - if fracking out oil is more profitable than growing food in Texas... anyone want to bet on food winning? I think many of the outcomes will be predictable. A bigger question is to what extent water will prove capable of acting as a driver of military conflict.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ggelsrinc on November 10, 2013, 09:11:12 AM
The water wars are just getting started is my guess.  They should be quite entertaining in a macabre sense.

Money talks - if fracking out oil is more profitable than growing food in Texas... anyone want to bet on food winning? I think many of the outcomes will be predictable. A bigger question is to what extent water will prove capable of acting as a driver of military conflict.

I'll take that bet, because what you said doesn't make sense. Both energy and food are necessary and economics isn't determined by a limited money supply seeking the most profit. How much oil are people who have died of starvation going to buy?

The limiting factor on water is energy, we live on a planet with plenty of it. People learned long ago to collect the water and grow crops in arid areas. We have already developed technologies to make fresh water available to areas that don't naturally receive it, without fossil fuel pollution. Greening deserts simply requires the will to do so and that will doesn't exist when it's easier to produce food a different way.

Necessity is one of the mothers of invention and the mother of economics, so Edison had it half right. Many great inventions have been shelved, because the economic realities don't presently exist to implement them. Economic realities change with time.

Always remember, it ain't over until it's over! 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on November 12, 2013, 07:10:18 AM
"it ain't over until it's over"

Well, I guess that's true enough.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on December 03, 2013, 08:37:08 PM
As many readers likely felt I was disappointed when China announced it was dropping the one child policy (I think that should be the max globally at the very least - zero would be better) and suspected it was for economic  growth reasons.  Here are some takes on that suspicion.

Quote
Today, China faces a different problem: a precipitous decline in the ratio of working-age people to total population...

...This is bad news for the economy as a whole — working-age people are the engine of any economy

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/11/15/245470830/chinas-going-to-get-old-before-it-gets-rich (http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/11/15/245470830/chinas-going-to-get-old-before-it-gets-rich)

Quote
...A preference for boys – not least because they can earn more to support their   parents – means endemic illegal sex-selective abortions and the abandonment   of baby girls. The sex ratio is estimated at 120 boys for every 100 girls,   far above the global average and leaving the country with 50m fewer women   than men.....

http://johnib.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/chinas-economic-boom-may-be-ending-due-to-lack-of-women/ (http://johnib.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/chinas-economic-boom-may-be-ending-due-to-lack-of-women/)

A desperate measure to remain in a growth mode?  But, by the time this policy could have any effect, a period of a generation, they and we are going to be overcome by events and they are going to wish they never opened this box.  20 years from now the globe is going to be largely past the growth economy stage and deep into the growing effects of dwindling resources, worsening climate and the struggle to produce enough food.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on December 03, 2013, 11:19:13 PM
One can't help but feel rather appalled by the prospect of selective abortions based on sex. But that will end up helping put a damper on any future population growth.

This is more clear if you take it to extremes--

A village with one male and 100 (fertile, willing, child bearing age) women, could increase its population in theory by about 100 kids a year for many years (if the one man was a busy boy  ;)).

A village with one woman and 100 men could only produce about one child per year, no matter how busy the boys are.

The difference is less extreme in most real life cases, though, but still significant.

I think China will not be able to spur a new baby boom, so I'm not all that worried about it. But as you point out, it is rather short sited, in many ways.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on December 04, 2013, 05:07:40 AM
Another issue having 50 million men with no prospects of having a family is that it creates a situation ripe for trouble.  What kind of demands will they put on society?  How do you keep them as productive members of society when they will be unable to participate in a great many of the benefits.  Extremism is born in such situations.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on December 04, 2013, 06:18:08 PM
Yup. The context where I first heard of the effect of female infanticide was a talk on the Vikings. The claim was that one reason they ended up going all over the world was that they were so short of women because female infanticide had become so widespread a practice.

Kinda puts a new perspective on "rape and pillage." The poor guys were just horny (pun intended; and yeah, I know, they didn't really wear horns on their helmets) as hell, looking for a little lovin'.  :)

It has been noted before that, sometime after the invasion, near takeover,  and widespread settlement of the Vikings in England, the language evolved that the term for male spouse "husband" came from Old Norse while the term for female spouse "wife" came from Anglo-Saxon.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 04, 2013, 06:34:40 PM

It has been noted before that, sometime after the invasion, near takeover,  and widespread settlement of the Vikings in England, the language evolved that the term for male spouse "husband" came from Old Norse while the term for female spouse "wife" came from Anglo-Saxon.

File in "fun facts and interesting things" to be used to dazzle family and friends for the holidays. I have to admit, I enjoy reading your comments as you bring a wealth of intellectual disciplines in your arguments.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on December 04, 2013, 06:43:02 PM
Just wait till I start in on the Picenes, the Palasgians and the Paphlagonians! :D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on December 31, 2013, 04:33:24 PM
Here's one of those articles that just makes you grind your teeth.

I see a little blurb to an article which says "Depressing news about population growth".  One would assume that somewhere the population is growing faster again right.  Well no...some moron is upset that the population growth rate in the US last year was the lowest since 1937.  That's bad??!!  Idiots!

Quote
America's population is growing at its slowest rate in decades, and the sluggish economy is mostly to blame, according to one expert.

The U.S. population grew by just 0.72 percent in the year ended July 1, 2013, the Census Bureau reported Monday. That’s the slowest growth rate since 1937. Population growth has hovered at super-low levels for the past few years, according to William Frey, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan research organization. The trend is "troubling," Frey said, and is due largely to the weak economy...

...Indeed, this recent period of economic malaise has been plagued by low birth rates, fewer marriages and limited mobility, especially for America’s young people. Typically in a strong economy, workers and immigrants travel to where the jobs are, but the Census data show they’re not really moving, Frey said....

Can anybody get this guy fired?

For those not aware the Brookings Institute is a centrist to slightly liberal (by US standards) think tank.  It is considered the most influential think tank in the world.  And they "think" that low birth rates and slowing population grow in the US are bad.  Green-BAU anyone?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/population-growth-rate_n_4520485.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/30/population-growth-rate_n_4520485.html)

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on December 31, 2013, 06:03:16 PM
That really is sick. Given its high consumption rate, it is exactly places like the US that need to crash their populations fastest (and of course it would help if they crashed their consumption rates as well).

Meanwhile, globally, there really is bad news. Latest figures show that the World Population Growth Rate just ended its three year decline and is now going up slightly again.

http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=24&c=xx&l=en (http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=24&c=xx&l=en)

Year     2000   2001   2002   2003   2004   2005   2006   2007   2008   2009   2011   2012
WPGR    1.3   1.25   1.23   1.17   1.14   1.14   1.14   1.17   1.19   1.13   1.09   1.1

The rate change is probably statistically indistinguishable from flat, but it certainly does not reflect the kind of drops in growth rate seen from 2008 to 2011 and from 2000 to 2004. Of course, a growth rate of 1.1 still represents a lot of growth, especially given the massive numbers involved.

The world populations counter shows us at over 7.137 billion, probably hitting 7.2 later this year.

http://www.census.gov/popclock/ (http://www.census.gov/popclock/)

http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=21&c=xx&l=en (http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?v=21&c=xx&l=en)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on December 31, 2013, 06:50:15 PM
wili,
All is not bad news: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports;

U.S. home electricity use declines for 3rd straight year
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/u-s-home-electricity-use-declines-for-3rd-straight-year-1.2479249 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/u-s-home-electricity-use-declines-for-3rd-straight-year-1.2479249)

the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)  http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/index.cfm (http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/index.cfm)
"The growth of electricity demand (including retail sales and direct use) has slowed in each decade since the 1950s, from a 9.8-percent annual rate of growth from 1949 to 1959 to only 0.7 percent per year in the first decade of the 21st century"  http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MT_electric.cfm (http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MT_electric.cfm)

 predicts 28% increase by 2040

Win Some - Lose Some - Expect Some to Get Rained Out .
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 31, 2013, 11:17:49 PM
Maybe the Shakers had the right idea.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakers)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on January 03, 2014, 11:22:27 AM
Thanks, Jack. Now we need to turn 'reduced rate of growth' into rapid radical reduction, especially of ff-based electricity, of about 10%. Where might those reductions come from?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JackTaylor on January 03, 2014, 06:59:49 PM
Thanks, Jack. Now we need to turn 'reduced rate of growth' into rapid radical reduction, especially of ff-based electricity, of about 10%. Where might those reductions come from?
wili - we can forget a true reduction - unless something catastrophic occurs - we can only hope their 28% predicted increase by 2040 is too high.

Big Money must believe there will be an increase of energy use because of continual investments.

Until non-ff ( renewable's ) become profitable for investors - we're just making idle talk,
(barring catastrophic again)
but, perhaps renewable's will help keep the cost (competitive threshold) down for the low to middle level consumers.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Laurent on January 18, 2014, 02:19:00 PM
Who is culprit ?
Germany and UK are bad boys compared to their size and the population !
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129523.100-the-seven-deadly-sinners-driving-global-warming.html?cmpid=RSS (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129523.100-the-seven-deadly-sinners-driving-global-warming.html?cmpid=RSS)|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|environment#.Utp-cqFKHUJ
Well ok France is just behind  :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Buddy on January 18, 2014, 03:16:14 PM
<<Until non-ff ( renewable's ) become profitable for investors - we're just making idle talk,
(barring catastrophic again) but, perhaps renewable's will help keep the cost (competitive threshold) down for the low to middle level consumers.>>

Remember.....the easy picking fruit of fossil fuels has already been picked.  The cost of pulling oil out of the ground will continue to climb....and the cost differential continues to shrink.

The other "large issue" with fracking (for both oil and nat gas) still lurks.  Anyone with any common sense KNOWS that fracking poisons groundwater (sprinkling pixie dust on it does not work:).  It's just a matter of time.

The oil and gas companies will do ANYTHING to protect their hen house....so this is a VERY LONG GAME.  Record annual temperature records will continue to be set around the world........wild fires will continue to grow......the oceans continue to rise.......and the ice sheets continue to melt.

The truth NEVER goes away.  Sometimes it takes MUCH LONGER for people to see.....especially when money is being stuffed in their pockets.  But it is CITIZENS JOB to (a) call out those people at EVERY TURN, (b) vote for people in office that have some semblance of ethics, (c) be determined in your everyday lives in showing people WITH FACTS what is actually happening.  You can't eat an elephant....especially a very large elephant.....with one bite. 

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bligh8 on January 18, 2014, 03:42:14 PM
 
[/quote]


Likewise - suppose a company that makes a lot of money selling HIV drugs (which must be taken for the rest of a lifetime and are not cheap) found a cheap cure for HIV (speaking hypothetically). How can it possibly be in their interests to bring this to market if they stand to make a lot more money selling people medicine for life?


[/quote]

Jim, medical treatment/life and death in the medical field has/was become all about money. The CDC estimates that their are 150 million folks world wide the have hepatitis C, a disease that's not always fatal, but is chronic and aggressive,  costing society untold billions in health care cost.

In 1998 they, the medical industry or more accurately big pharmaceuticals started treating folks with hep C utilizing the interferon family of drugs, with a dismal cure rate-about 9%-.
Over the years they refined interferon better to suit their hundred thousand dollar "cure" to a 44 percent cure rate.  This was for folks with good insurance or those who could afford to outright buy the drugs.

Now in 2014 with the patent rights expiring on interferon. The pharmaceutical industry magically came up with a new family of drugs with an 85 to 95% cure rate for most geno type's of the Hepatitis C virus. These new drugs will be widely available starting next month. Wide spread phase three testing showed even the most difficult to cure geno types, were responding at over 90%.

So now, instead of interferon injections per week, which 50% of the folks that tried could not finish because of the terrible side effects or their bodily systems crashed and did not respond to rescue drugs, they take two pills a day, costing a $1000 per pill for 12 weeks with little or no side effects.

Sadly this has been the state of medicine/pharmaceuticals. In this case Hep C, this, if successful
will be the first time in human history that we have eradicated a virus from humans. Some doctors/mathematicians are dubious of this outcome, as the success of treatment/reinfection depends of a hypothesis developed in the 1950's called Error Catastrophe, now called lethal mutagenasis, mutates a viral strand to the point where it can not replicate. The problem is the sneaky little virons mutate ahead of the curve and you now have a drug resistant strain. Should a reinfection occur a entire new family of drugs would be necessary to again try to treat folks to a sustained viral response -(cure)-.

HIV has proven to be more difficult than Hepatitis, however, utilizing many of the same type of anti viral drugs, they, the pharmaceutical company's have been able to extend life but not cure HIV.











Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on March 21, 2014, 08:01:33 PM
A great little utube video which really brings home why having a large population (and growing) just leads us down the road to disaster. 

Population growth and climate change explained by Hans Rosling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxbprYyjyyU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxbprYyjyyU)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Lord M Vader on March 21, 2014, 09:16:56 PM
As newbie I have only read some of the posts, but it's an important scope that really few politicians are dare to talk about. But I don't think that we'll have to worry too much about the population issue in the long run. This is because we have some really worrysome threats that are impinging  upon us. Here are some of them, though not ranked:

1) Antibiotica resistance. The number of resistant bacterias are growing for every year and getting harder and harder to cure. This will lower the population in the future.

2) Chemicals and pollutioning. We're seeing it more and more. Chemicals are affecting us much more than most of us would like to believe. Just for example, here are the effects from Argentina where people are getting sick: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/10/agrochemical_spraying_in_argen.html (http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/10/agrochemical_spraying_in_argen.html) Even if we are not directly exposed to them we are still eating those foods...

3) GM - food. While we are touting ourselves as the smart human animals who have the ability to choose avoids GMO's. Why would they avoid them if they are safe? I know there was a study where the hamsters became sterile over three generations after being fed GM - food.

4) New diseases. As we have seen, new flu viruses have recently developed with high mortality. Given our globalized world it would be very difficult to limit spreading of a flu virus. The recent flu strain H7N9 have a death rate of about 30%. so far it hasn't been able to infect humans easily. Next time a flu strain pops up we may not be that fortune.

5) Global warming. We know that the consequences of our emissions of GHG will alter the planets condition but we humans are just as inert as the oceans in taking actions for the future. That will also affect. For example, there are countries today that will get really big problems in a soon future as their water reservoirs are going to disappear. In Saudi Arabia the ground water will be gone in about 50 years or so if I remind a news article correct...

If we are summarizing all this I am rather confident that there is just a matter of time until the average age of people are starting to turn down.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on March 22, 2014, 03:27:51 PM
Welcome.

All fair points.

Many of us expect that big population declines will be the first irrefutable manifestation of collapse.  One can make the argument that we are already seeing small effects all the time, but that is more debatable.  The last time we had significant population declines was the Black Death or perhaps when the European diseases swept through the New World and killed somewhere near 100 million.  Right in line with your ideas.

Disease or famine.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 22, 2014, 05:11:46 PM
Welcome.

Disease or famine.

Disease and famine while humans will help out with war.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: jai mitchell on March 25, 2014, 06:39:53 PM
Regional populations restore themselves to sustainable levels when education and economic self-determination among women allow them to choose to have children later in life.  It is a sociologically studied fact, duplicated all over the world.

In some countries they have changed government subsidies to convince women to have children earlier in life because they are afraid of a dwindling workforce.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on March 26, 2014, 04:21:31 AM
" ... when education and economic self-determination among women allow them to choose to have children later in life"

Sing it. The one thing that will save us is educating the little girls.

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on March 26, 2014, 05:55:17 PM
Are we F**ked?

Simple answer?  YES!  Absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably f**ked!

Does that mean the things are hopeless?  No, but we have to stop being stupid.  And that is really hard to do.

I have been trying for sometime to point out a path that possibly leads out of the mess we are in.  An admittedly hard painful frightening path.  But one that careful thought about over a long time seems to avoid all the deadend pitfalls inherent in various forms of BAU approaches.  Once again, the objective is survival, the problems are AGW and achieving 'sustainability'. 

I will freely admit that I hold these views very strongly and frequently lose patience with those who cannot think  through the obvious pitfalls of the favorite approaches, admitting of course that I also am likely to be missing a few pitfalls myself - feel free to point them out.  But, I also understand that clear thinking in times of stress is not a generally common human skill and even understanding what I think are clear explanations of the various pitfalls is not going to be easy for people who are fundamentally very frightened.  Not to mention that it is clear to me that my understanding of what is going on is far and away beyond my ability to articulate that understanding.  I am not going to win the Pulitzer Prize any time in the near future.  So....?

So, I am going to turn to an alternate explanation of part of the problem which I have tried to work out the solution to many times in the past in the Population thread and others.  There are way to many people to ever fix the problem.  Now I am sure some will get a chuckle seeing my selection of an alternate way of saying what I am trying to get across, being as it comes from a PhD physicist from Harvard, as my obvious general view is that physicists cannot explain their way out of a box and understand less of human nature than the average guy in a sports bar (snark) . (You would be amazed how many times I ended up in fist fights when I was young because my genius little brother - PhD in math, 2 masters degrees and multiple BS degrees from MIT- was incapable of understanding how to be respectful to the neighborhood boys who now spend time in those same sports bars.)

The essay however is actually very good and worth the read if you are interested in possible solutions to our big problem.  He does an excellent job of laying out the logic (supported by a bunch of mathematics) and ends up pretty much where I have been pointing.  Now you might be tempted to skip across the section on the math of population growth but I recommend at least skimming it for understanding as it blows out of the water the old canard about simply educating the women of the world and this will reduce population growth and eventually result in big population declines.  All true expect for the assumption that this process 'does not' result in those population declines occurring in a time frame that is useful (sorry Sidd).  I have pointed this out to people a hundred times but it is very hard to get across as this progressive idea (I am basically an anarchist btw) is so set in their social view that it may as well be cement.

There are a few points in the article which I think are debatable - not wrong necessarily, but not followed to their natural conclusion either - and open to some vigorous discussion,  but I will leave them out for now and just see if anyone finds the discussion worthwhile.  We can always dig into details later.

All in all this essay is an articulate description of pretty much everything I have been saying here for some time about population, energy and limits.  Everything else flows from there.

The article (essay) linked to I do not think I should copy any of it as it is a submission to a yearly contest held by FQXi.  This essay contest is for the spring of 2014 and the subject to be addressed is "How Should Humanity Steer the Future? " and it is ongoing.  Please follow the link to the essay by Dr. Alan M. Kadin titled "Just Too Many People: Towards a Sustainable Future Earth".  It is a pdf download.

Quote
Essay Abstract

Our modern civilization is built on cheap energy from fossil fuels, which produces carbon dioxide, which produces global warming. The only way to avoid catastrophe is to shift away from fossil fuels to solar and nuclear energy, well before all fossil fuel reserves have been burned. But this transition cannot be achieved with a projected global population of 10 billion (10B); we need to return to a level of 100 to 200 years ago, when the population was ~1-2B. A peaceful transition is possible only if humanity collectively takes ownership of the problem.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1993 (http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1993)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Daniel on March 27, 2014, 09:45:11 AM
Check out Hans Roslings predictions (11 billion people in 2100)

Hans Rosling Statistic of future (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSGoqw45tKI#ws)

About 19mins in.

Well Worth to Watch the whole lecture by the way, even though I don't share his optimism.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on March 27, 2014, 03:32:31 PM
Daniel

Welcome, I see it is your first post.

Thanks.  I am aware of that UN projection though I have never seen the video before.  I must admit that we have posted a lot about this and I have read a lot and I have never found anyone (including yourself it sounds like) who can figure out how they come up with the 11 billion in 2100.  They have to be ignoring all the negative feedbacks.

The resource requirements of 11 billion and the regular pollution they would generate are just to overwhelming to think this could happen even if we ignored AGW.  When AGW is thrown in the mix I think that population will have to peak sometime around 2050.  The confluence of so many negative factors by then points very strongly towards an earlier population peak.

To me this problem is indicative of what is going to happen with a lot of the other issues related to AGW, lack of sustainability, sharing of resources, equity and such.  Dealing with any of them requires international cooperation and fundamental changes in normal human behavior.  As we have already seen with all the failed climate, environmental, and political agreements, even minor cooperation and changes are almost impossible to achieve. 

To address population levels in a fashion which would make a  difference in terms of saving us from deep collapse and the worst effects of AGW would require a comprehensive global population growth agreement.  Such an agreement would have to override religious beliefs, national laws, be enforceable, and would imply almost a global governance (the dreaded One World Government so feared by conservatives).  To get comprehensive global action on AGW pretty much requires the same.

The above issue is one of the toughest requirements facing us.  And the one that makes it so hard to hang on to hope.  To succeed in preventing deep collapse requires that we change our way of life and behavior.  This requirement lies outside the scientific data and possible technological solutions.  The technically feasible possible approaches are not realistically possible if we cannot manage those behavioral changes.  And there is no evidence we are humanly capable of the behavioral changes. 

This is what drives me to keep insisting we take a different path.  Time is up and if we dither and delay waiting for changes which are highly unlikely to occur we just drift deeper into guaranteeing a deep collapse.  If we could trigger those behavioral changes today it is already way past the time when it would have been most effective, but we could proceed.  But I don't think even the strongest proponents of global cooperation would claim it is even close to occurring anytime soon.  But they fight for this idea and seem willing to ignore all the critical data while they wait for a change which is unlikely to ever happen.  Rational reasoning would indicate that we will not make those changes and should assume the worst and prepare for it by minimizing its effects as much as possible and stockpiling capabilities not needed now but essential post collapse.  Risk/benefit analysis.  But we will not follow that rational path I expect and since we are far from rational animals that is to be expected.

Now if everyone still wants that One World Government anyway I am sure the United States would be happy to step up and take on the burden for everyone.  In fact we would insist on it as it is quite obvious we are the only qualified candidate.  (snark - but reality also in that no one gets that job if it is not us - we insist) 

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on March 27, 2014, 07:37:03 PM
I wonder if removing tax deductions for children would have an effect on population growth - at least in industrialized countries.
When I was a child Canada had in place a "Baby Bonus" which was a small stipend intended to encourage population growth. It apparently wasn't successful and immigration won out.


Perhaps every woman could be paid say $100/mo. until motherhood, then $50 until the second child was born. At this point high taxes on each additional child. Welfare (to assure each child was properly fed and cared for) would have to be rethought.


Todays system was intended to encourage the large families that were once believed to be necessary to provide a growing labor base for the country but we are now aware that this is disastrous looking forward.


I don't imagine that financial pressure alone will be enough to solve the overpopulation problem, but financial incentives for having large families should end.


Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 27, 2014, 08:05:34 PM
Check out Hans Roslings predictions (11 billion people in 2100)

I hardly consider 11 billion in 2100 optimistic. While fertility rates might suggest this, dramatically increasing mortality rates through the century will prevent this.

I did, however, love the video. It was refreshing to watch a very informed individual point to so much that would cause us to have hope. I, for one, was not aware of how much of the world had moved to replacement fertility rates.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on March 28, 2014, 12:16:43 AM
" ... how much of the world had moved to replacement fertility rates."

and as rosling will tell you, this has happened exactly where women are educated and empowered

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: adelady on March 28, 2014, 03:12:46 AM
I really, really like Rosling.  But his main emphasis is on telling us westerners that our semi-colonial notion about advanced and developing countries is wrong.   Simultaneously, he has to keep the officials and politicians in lots of countries of all kinds on side.  So there are some things he doesn't emphasise enough. 

He talks - vaguely - about education and employment opportunities for girls and women leading to a reduced number of births per woman.    But he says - and I think he does this deliberately - that countries and cultures and religions don't have to change their beliefs or values to reduce the number of births per woman.

But if you want to control and reduce population you have to change some values and preferences in many places profoundly.     The biggest issue is to change - in some countries change substantially - the average age at which women have their first child.   Because even if you don't want to change the numbers of children born, you do want to change the total population, so the only avenue available is to change the average number of generations within families.   And to do that you have to change the desired number of generations in a family.

In a society where the average age of first birth is 20, you have women becoming grandmothers around 40ish, and great grandmothers at 60.   And you can have plenty of 5 generation families - my mum is 89 and that's not unusual in my family and in lots of other families.   

Whereas if the average age of first birth is 30, a woman has to live to 90ish to become even a great grandmother.     If you had neighbouring cities that started out with the same populations but with these two differing approaches to family formation although the average number of births per woman remains the same, you'd have a noticeable difference in the numbers of people the two communities had to support within 40 years.  After 60 years,  that difference would be substantial.   

My own view is that this involves several changes.  One of the biggest changes would be that many women would find out that they really aren't all that keen on having any children at all when it isn't drummed into them from day one that that's what they're obliged to do.  They'll either have one or none and that would be a direct reduction in the numbers of children born per generation.   And, most importantly, they'll have nearly a whole decade extra to contribute to their communities and workplaces unencumbered by personal obligations to care for their own children and their own health problems related to pregnancy and birth.   

But a lot of people in every country I know of would have serious issues with this being an overt policy rather than simply something that happens as a result of individual decisions as has happened in many countries already.     The idea that it would be a disgrace rather than a triumph to have a 5 or 6 generation family would be a hard one for many people to swallow.   

It's one thing for a woman to live to over a hundred, that's a good thing.  It's another thing entirely for every succeeding generation of her descendants to have turned out children at the earliest possible opportunity.  That's a social burden we can't afford. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ChasingIce on March 29, 2014, 06:31:18 AM
Did anyone point out that the worlds current birthrate doesn't support the current population in 3 generations?


this thread is sort of disturbing.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on March 29, 2014, 06:42:08 AM
Did anyone point out that the worlds current birthrate doesn't support the current population in 3 generations?


this thread is sort of disturbing.

Could you rephrase?  What do you mean to be saying?   
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ChasingIce on March 30, 2014, 12:40:14 AM
Did anyone point out that the worlds current birthrate doesn't support the current population in 3 generations?


this thread is sort of disturbing.

Could you rephrase?  What do you mean to be saying?

sure...  I believe the worlds current birthrate points to a declining population in a few generations. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 30, 2014, 05:32:11 PM
Did anyone point out that the worlds current birthrate doesn't support the current population in 3 generations?


this thread is sort of disturbing.

Could you rephrase?  What do you mean to be saying?

sure...  I believe the worlds current birthrate points to a declining population in a few generations.

Yes, Based on this talk and the underlying research, I believe that it is only Africa that will cause the final growth to a peak population of 11 billion at which point we may begin to see declines.

It is too bad this cannot occur sooner.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ccgwebmaster on March 30, 2014, 06:09:52 PM
Yes, Based on this talk and the underlying research, I believe that it is only Africa that will cause the final growth to a peak population of 11 billion at which point we may begin to see declines.

It is too bad this cannot occur sooner.

I think longer range projections of population are liable to fail as there are too many things going on. Personally - I don't see population ever reaching 11 billion - collapse will prune numbers very substantially first. 8 billion might not be impossible, for a little while.

If one is relying upon demographic transition to cut birthrates - and female choice etc - the question would be whether that is a long term effect or not - as people who tend for whatever reason to have more children will outcompete those who do not (if there is any genetic propensity for having children and lots of them we would be selecting for it).

However, it should also be noted that such societies and transitions occur typically in wealthier nations. As the factors driving collapse bite - poverty will become far more widespread, and I suspect societies will regress in these respects. Accordingly I think one might well expect to actually see an increase in birth rate - at least until the death rate starts really taking out the reproductive age adults too.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Laurent on July 10, 2014, 07:49:53 PM
A Day for Women and the World
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brune/a-day-for-women-and-the-w_b_5574631.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brune/a-day-for-women-and-the-w_b_5574631.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 19, 2014, 05:14:00 PM
Quote
World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise

New study overturns 20 years of consensus on peak projection of 9bn and gradual decline

I have made the point in every way that I can think of that that all the BAU approaches have no chance of working unless we actively address the core problem.  Population.  There is no Green-BAU technology that is going to save us.    I fully understand the fear of dealing with this issue head-on.  But there is no problem we have that can be fixed if this problem is not substantially solved.

Quote
A ground-breaking analysis released on Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.

The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and the stresses it brings, will peak by 2050 at about 9bn people.......


.........The research, conducted by an international team including UN experts, is published in the journal Science and for the first time uses advanced statistics to place convincing upper and lower limits on future population growth. Previous estimates were based on judgments of future trends made by researchers, a “somewhat vague and subjective” approach, said Raftery. This predicted the world’s population would range somewhere between 7bn and 16bn by 2100. “This interval was so huge to be essentially meaningless and therefore it was ignored,” he said.

But the new research narrows the future range to between 9.6bn and 12.3bn by 2100. This greatly increased certainty – 80% – allowed the researchers to be confident that global population would not peak any time during in the 21st century........


http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/world-population-new-study-11bn-2100 (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/world-population-new-study-11bn-2100)




Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: GeoffBeacon on September 19, 2014, 08:27:46 PM
JimD
Quote
In Ireland before the famine, potatoes, with some milk and pigs could support a population density approaching 10 people per hectare (1).

The world now has about 0.5 people per hectare.

That’s about 5% of the population density of pre-famine Ireland.

So the problem is not food (calories, protein & etc.) per. se.
http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/food-whos-right-scientists-or-amateurs/ (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/food-whos-right-scientists-or-amateurs/)

Since we are worried about climate catastrophe driven by green house gasses, perhaps we should look at the life-styles of the affluent and aspiring who

Poor people and knowledgeable green people don't do those things.   

At a guess 2 billion (at most) affluent polluters could be sustained on Earth but over 50 billion really green people could be sustained.

Let's begin the transition to a sustainable world with a carbon tax of, say, $100 CO2e rising yearly by $100 until we get a result.

The Earth's human inhabitants have an average lifestyle that is nowhere near sustainable at present because of excessive carbon intensive per capita. This is biased by the top end consumers. How do you propose cutting carbon emissions quickly enough? Are you proposing to kill off the excess population?

I would prefer a carbon tax.

Now you say

Quote
The resource requirements of 11 billion and the regular pollution they would generate are just to overwhelming to think this could happen even if we ignored AGW.  When AGW is thrown in the mix I think that population will have to peak sometime around 2050...

To address population levels in a fashion which would make a  difference in terms of saving us from deep collapse and the worst effects of AGW would require a comprehensive global population growth agreement.

Peak in 2050 with current increases in carbon intensive consumption?  Far too slow and the program of international agreement much  too difficult.

Now if the largest market in the world were to have a decent carbon tax and tax the carbon content of imports, it would force the rest of the world into line just as California did the US car manufacturers
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/californias_clean_car_rules_help_remake_us_auto_industry/2492/ (http://e360.yale.edu/feature/californias_clean_car_rules_help_remake_us_auto_industry/2492/)

But have I misunderstood you?

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 25, 2014, 03:47:47 AM
Geoff

Quote
But have I misunderstood you?

Ahh, yes...largely. 

I am sorry, but at least for the last few months and into an indeterminate future I have stopped writing extensive pieces full of details.  I am sort of letting the body of work sit there.  All of the details of what I am trying to say are buried back in the many earlier posts in this topic and the others on the forum here.  And lots elsewhere as well as before I stopped writing a few months ago I had written 250-300 thousand words in the previous year.  I stopped because I don't think it is doing any good.  People are hell bent on BAU and there is no turning them away from it.

But to briefly answer your question.

Population levels and continuing growth make it logically impossible to avoid collapse and no version of BAU or Green BAU will change that.  Educating women, solar panels, wind energy, Teslas, reducing consumption, getting the affluent to give up most of their lifestyle, and hundreds of other little topics like those are always thrown out as examples of things we could do (if we only would do them of course) and all would magically get better.  But it wont get better.  At best it will get worse more slowly.  But all roads in the BAU world lead to collapse and catastrophe.  As Einstein said, "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity."  Our civilization is insane.  And I totally include the Green-BAU people among those I consider insane.

We dramatically start population reductions immediately or else.  There is no other answer.  Unless we are depending on miracles.  But the miracle just might be getting rid of about 80% of the people.

If everyone one on Earth, no exceptions, lived with the carbon footprint of the average African global co2 levels would continue to rise at a steady rate (and that does not count in ANY positive feedbacks).  So Green BAU ideas wont solve the problem - they are technologies for post resolution of the problem  -  maybe.  Yet, we are hell bent on adding an additional 2.4 to 4? BILLION!!! people to this toxic mix?? 

Well that is about all I can stand.  I am largely ignoring the climate change topics lately.  I might pay more attention again if I start to see evidence of any commitment to effect meaningful change.   I watch the empire, war and economic issues, along with other collapse triggers.  I seek evidence which provides forewarning of such events.  But I am in the "GOT popcorn?" frame of mind right now.  I don't plan on doing anything about any of it.  No motivation.

Best of luck to you.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: GeoffBeacon on September 25, 2014, 07:38:25 PM
JimD

Thanks. I don't want to argue with any of that. I think I am only 1% less pessimistic than you.

I agree GreenBAU is futile. I've just written Greenwash from Stern?
http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/green-wash-from-stern/ (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/green-wash-from-stern/)

Sorry to have put you to that effort.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 11, 2015, 10:07:35 PM
Just to help reinforce my point I was making earlier in the other thread. 

You can't fix anything if you don't fix population.  Collapse is going to roll over us like a tidal wave. 

Quote
Today at the 2015 Joint Statistical Meetings in Seattle, John R. Wilmoth, director of the United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, had a startling report to present to a session on demographic forecasting:

The world's population will increase from the 7.3 billion people of today to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.

Quote
The UN put the probability that world population growth will end within this century at 23 percent.

Quote
The primary driver of global population growth is a projected increase in the population of Africa. The continent's current population of 1.2 billion people is expected to rise to between 3.4 billion and 5.6 billion people by the end of the century. The continent's population growth is due to persistent high levels of fertility and the recent slowdown in the rate of fertility decline, notes a statement on the report.

Asia (current population: 4.4 billion) will probably maintain its title as the most populous continent. Its population is projected to peak around the middle of the century at 5.3 billion, and then to begin to dip to around 4.9 billion people by the end of the century.

http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/world-population-likely-surpass-11-billion-end-century.html (http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/world-population-likely-surpass-11-billion-end-century.html)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OldLeatherneck on August 12, 2015, 01:08:59 AM
JimD,

I agree that the global population problem is the most prominent "Root Cause" of most of the crises we are facing today.  Re-reading the many posts on this thread reminded me of an essay I wrote several years ago, while  taking an on-line course on Sustainability.  We had come to the point of discussing the earth's carrying capacity.  Having knowledge of resource depletion (Peak Oil) and AGW/CC, I decided to write the below linked essay entitled "A 'BABY BOOMERS' Apology to Future Generations."  Before for posting here of the forum, I made some changes to the final paragraph.  Since it addresses more than population growth,  I  posted it in the Off-Topic Category.

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1359.msg60389/topicseen.html#msg60389 (http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1359.msg60389/topicseen.html#msg60389)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 12, 2015, 09:16:21 AM
There are still reasons for hope.  For instance, the Millennium Development Goals left out anything that might reasonably contribute to population control besides female education.  Their successors, the Sustainable Development Goals, are rather longer and more comprehensive, and as presented in the current Agenda, include the following (http://www.ippf.org/news/win-women-and-girls-Now-words-must-become-action):

Quote
This Agenda is a win for women and girls. ... The goals and targets require every country to take measures to ... eliminate violence against women ... ensure that everyone has access to ... sexual and reproductive health care services and the fulfilment of their reproductive rights. It will ensure that the 225 million women who want to, but cannot, access modern contraception will be able to finally make decisions about their families, their bodies and their futures.  It will help end early and forced marriage, which currently sees 15 million girls married before their 18th birthdays every year.

In principle, more access to contraception, less violence against women, and fewer early marriages should all contribute to people having fewer children over their lifetime (and having those that they have later).  Which should help further slow down population growth. 

Also, globally, we aren't that far off replacement level fertility... if you look at the worldwideNet Reproduction Rate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_reproduction_rate) (mortality adjusted number of daughters per woman), we're currently at 1.1.  All we need is to reduce that to 1.0 for long term sustainability. 

(Looking at Total Fertility Rate, which is the number of children per woman in a lifetime w/o mortality adjustment, gives the impression of being further from replacement level fertility, since it's currently at 2.5, compared to a replacement level of 2.05; however, one big thing that TFR overlooks is the greater number of boys being born than girls in China, India and elsewhere; and the number of girls born will ultimately drive how many women there are to have kids in the next generation).

EDIT: The latest UN population predictions have just had a brief but decent write up (http://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/future-world-s-population-4-charts) in the World Bank's blog, incidentally.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: anotheramethyst on August 16, 2015, 09:59:02 PM
Well I'm a Pagan so that leaves me out...I think.

hey, me too!! awesome :D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 18, 2015, 07:48:43 PM
Paddy

Quote
There are still reasons for hope.

Hope does not get anything done unfortunately. 

All of this constant making of excuses (not talking to you specifically here but about the large movement of institutions and political viewpoints which promote the kind of verbiage you have in your post) trying to find some way to say there is 'hope' and the population situation is not going to crush us leave me cold.

All one has to do it look at the data and leave out emotions and political ideology and one comes to a very different conclusion.

Falling birth rates - of all the various kinds and ways of counting - are far too slow and inconsistent to accomplish lowering the population sufficiently - if they actually would result in lowering the global population which the data does not prove.

Educating women throughout the world is (to most of us here in the developed world anyway) is a admirable ideal and goal, but the data does not show any kind of proof that is will result in population reductions in anytime frame meaningful to this discussion.  And in many local cases it has also been shown to be inconsistent in resulting in a low birthrate and in some it raises again after a time.

I won't go on with specific items to disprove as there is no real point in it.  The UN reports on expected population levels are written by demographers who are fully witting of all you write about and innumerable other pertinent details used to figure out the numbers for the projections.  In other words they are taking all into account.  And the numbers for global population they are coming up with, if they occur, will result in catastrophe long before any of the ways to get birth rates down would have effect.

If we have 2.2-2.5 billion more people on earth in 2050 as all the projections they come up with say we will have that alone will trigger a large scale collapse due to our exceeding the Earth's carrying capacity by huge amounts.  This is independent from the effects of climate change by the way.  Climate change of course is dramatically worsened by rapidly growing population and thus it will simultaneously be reducing the global carrying capacity.  This combination of issues, especially when other significant factors are taken into account, guarantees some form of collapse and population reduction. 

You mention the greater number of boys than girls being born in China and India as a positive.  You do realize the methods that are used to make that happen right?  Selective abortion and infanticide.  Some find those methods objectionable.

Our only chance of avoiding major collapse is to dramatically reduce population - not just slow the increase down a bit.  Assuming we want to avoid genocide, mass famine, plague and the like as being a bit inhumane then I can think of only one way to do it.  And I do not think we have the global will to take that path but I do think it would work.

That path would be to collectively share the cost of that population reduction among everyone rich and poor.  We must skip about a generation or a bit more of children.  That is we all agree that NO ONE gets to have any babies for a good 20-25 years straight.  That would result in a population in 2050 about 50% of what is projected to exist by the UN and others.  This dramatic lessening of the human populations impact on the biosphere and huge reduction in emissions might just allow us to avoid deep collapse.  And it does not require a miracle for it to work as all the other ways being pursued do - unless you count it a miracle to get such an agreement in place, which is a completely different kind of miracle than the other ones mentioned.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Theta on September 07, 2015, 09:47:58 PM
Podcast that illustrates the consequences of the large growth of the human population through summarising the issues related to the current Refugee crisis in Europe and how that could progressively get worse as time passes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I4baR7YiIw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I4baR7YiIw)

The most important thing to note about this video is how our current situation with the migrants is compared to the Roman Empire's problem with the Barbarians and how a wall was built to keep these people out, but after a number of centuries, the wall could not be maintained and the Barbarians invaded. It is stated in the video that a similar feet will be attempted and the result will be very similar.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 20, 2016, 05:18:22 AM
I have brought this issue up many times.  Below is someone else doing the same.  Worth reading.

Quote
....He cites a study from 2010 that looked at the impact of demographic change on global carbon emissions. It found that slowing population growth could eliminate one-fifth to one-quarter of all the carbon emissions that need to be cut by midcentury to avoid that potentially catastrophic tipping point.

Rieder's audience seems to want an easier way. A student asks about the carbon savings from not eating meat.


Excellent idea, Rieder says. But no amount of conservation gives you a pass. Oregon State University researchers have calculated the savings from all kinds of conservation measures: driving a hybrid, driving less, recycling, using energy-efficient appliances, windows and light bulbs.

For an American, the total metric tons of carbon dioxide saved by all of those measures over an entire lifetime of 80 years: 488. By contrast, the metric tons saved when a person chooses to have one fewer child: 9,441
.....

I note that this data is from way back in 2010 - that should make one shed a tear or two.

Green BAU won't save the future.  The only path to a solution runs through massive population reductions  - and then all that other stuff has value.  Absent population reductions that other stuff just results in a greater consumption of resources.

http://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/479349760/should-we-be-having-kids-in-the-age-of-climate-change (http://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/479349760/should-we-be-having-kids-in-the-age-of-climate-change)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 20, 2016, 06:13:42 PM
I agree that population is public enemy #1. Pre-industrial carrying population was at 1 billion. Given the magnificent technologogical advances of the last 200 years, I would imagine that, if we were to adopt the simple lifestyle that characterized the condition of pre-industrial human societies while applying the best of the new technologies (not all rape this magnificent planet), we might be able to arrive at an equilibrium population of between 2 and 3 billion.

If you want to imagine what this might look like, you first must explore what that simple life meant to a single human being born into the 1400's and not get trapped looking first at the application of technologies. For example, the typical human being rarely traveled any large distance and often died in the exact same area in which they were born. The items they used and consumed were rarely, if ever, brought from great distances. They were produced and consumed locally. And those things consumed supplied our needs and only a very few of our wants. In fact, we had only a few wants. I am certain there are other salient features of the simple life of the typical human being of the 1400's that need to be considered that I cannot think of.

Once this has been completed, we can turn to modern technologies to imagine how they can be applied to support this simple life while simultaneously enriching society, culture and the human experience.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 20, 2016, 06:37:53 PM
I have brought this issue up many times.  Below is someone else doing the same.  Worth reading.

JimD,

Thanks for the link to the NPR article (focused on Travis Rieder) entitled: "Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?"; and  correctly pointing out that Green BAU will not save the world.  However, regarding your statement that: "The only path to a solution runs through massive population reductions  -  and then all that other stuff has value."; I note that it is quite possible/probable that TPTB have come to the same conclusion years/decades ago but decided to use the Darwin Award approach for reducing world population when we exceed the transient carrying capacity of the Earth (see the attached image), thus leaving a drastically reduced population. Furthermore, I note that in the extract below Kukla indicates that progressive penalties on procreation would make it easier for wealthy people to have children, each with much larger carbon footprints (think an America full of Donald Trumps) than the 9,441 metric tons of CO₂ emissions that Rieder cites.  In our war on climate change we must fight on all fronts (including: population; consumption per capita; revenue neutral carbon fees; regulations; etc.) and still prepare for adapting to the socio-economic collapse that will eventually come (as we are already beyond Earth's long-term carrying capacity):


http://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/479349760/should-we-be-having-kids-in-the-age-of-climate-change (http://www.npr.org/2016/08/18/479349760/should-we-be-having-kids-in-the-age-of-climate-change)

Extract: "Kukla appreciates that Rieder's penalty on procreation would be progressive. But since it could not be so high as to be coercive, she says it would inevitably be unfair.
"What that will actually translate into is it becoming much easier for wealthy people to have children than for other people to have children," Kukla says.

An even bigger hurdle is the sheer unlikelihood of it all.

"The situation is bleak, it's just dark," he says. "Population engineering, maybe it's an extreme move. But it gives us a chance."

Still, Rieder wonders: Is it really so crazy? Scientists have proposed incredibly risky schemes to geoengineer the clouds and oceans. They're researching ways to suck carbon out of the air on a mass scale. Some have even called for overhauling the global system of free-market capitalism.
Compared to all that, Rieder says, bringing down the fertility rate seems downright easy.
"We know exactly how to make fewer babies," he says. And it's something people can start doing today."

Best,
ASLR
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 20, 2016, 06:57:12 PM
.......and still prepare for adapting to the socio-economic collapse that will eventually come (as we are already beyond Earth's long-term carrying capacity):

I have always felt we are headed for a spectacular collapse of human society (a dark ages like no other) and have argued this point on many of these threads. BAU guarantees this.

There is, however, a way out and it depends on the human species engaging in a new and rapid period of evolution, driven by necessity and one that we choose. We must embark on a rapid evolution of the human consciousness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 20, 2016, 08:19:49 PM
.......and still prepare for adapting to the socio-economic collapse that will eventually come (as we are already beyond Earth's long-term carrying capacity):

I have always felt we are headed for a spectacular collapse of human society (a dark ages like no other) and have argued this point on many of these threads. BAU guarantees this.

There is, however, a way out and it depends on the human species engaging in a new and rapid period of evolution, driven by necessity and one that we choose. We must embark on a rapid evolution of the human consciousness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g)

SH,
From our past exchanges of posts, I hope that you appreciate that my basic views of life are more or less in-line with that depicted in the "Empathic Civilization" video; and more specifically as explained by Vipassana mindfulness, as I discussed in the Adapting to the Anthropocene thread.  That said, mindfulness requires proper work (ala Maxwell's Demon's use of information to reduce entropy) in order to reduce the suffering of a complex group; otherwise, we run the risk of creating more suffering (more entropy ala the Second Law of Thermal Dynamics) as a whole, even though some small subsets may benefit while the whole is suffering more.   This second option is the approach that Trump is promoting, where he encourages his follower to believe that by "putting on airs/posturing" (or by acting like Donald Trump) they can protect themselves from a hostile uncertain world by benefitting at the expense of others.  This second approach is promoted by modern capitalism as explained in the following linked videos entitled: "The Paradox of Choice" and "Smile or Die".

The Paradox of Choice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bqMY82xzWo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bqMY82xzWo)

&

Smile or die:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo)


In order to get back to the first option one must be prepared to accept full responsibility for ones choices in a truthful manner, which requires hard work (ala Maxwell's Demon).  Unfortunately, it is difficult to achieve the first option with 7.5 going on 10 – 12 Billion people; and it is more likely that the first option will be achieved when the collapse reduces the population by a factor of ten or more.

Best,
ASLR
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 20, 2016, 08:25:58 PM
I have never felt otherwise of you. I hope for the best but fear the worst. We are going to crash. It will be horrible. While some of us will survive, no one will be spared this rapidly approaching disaster. It is the meaning of my nym. We share a common fate.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 20, 2016, 10:22:02 PM
I have never felt otherwise of you. I hope for the best but fear the worst. We are going to crash. It will be horrible. While some of us will survive, no one will be spared this rapidly approaching disaster. It is the meaning of my nym. We share a common fate.

Thanks for explaining the meaning of your handle; and to paraphrase the great man himself: "We never fail until we stop trying".
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 21, 2016, 02:17:27 AM
As Einstein pointed out, man is tied to our planet's biodiversity and we abuse it at our peril; which as the linked article indicates may well be sooner than most people think:

Tim Newbold, Lawrence N. Hudson, Andrew P. Arnell, Sara Contu, Adriana De Palma, Simon Ferrier, Samantha L. L. Hill, Andrew J. Hoskins, Igor Lysenko, Helen R. P. Phillips, Victoria J. Burton, Charlotte W. T. Chng, Susan Emerson, Di Gao, Gwilym Pask-Hale, Jon Hutton, Martin Jung, Katia Sanchez-Ortiz, Benno I. Simmons, Sarah Whitmee, Hanbin Zhang, Jörn P. W. Scharlemann & Andy Purvis (15 Jul 2016), “Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment”, Science, Vol. 353, Issue 6296, pp. 288-291, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2201



http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6296/288 (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6296/288)



Overview: “The planetary boundaries framework attempts to set limits for biodiversity loss within which ecological function is relatively unaffected. Newbold et al. present a quantitative global analysis of the extent to which the proposed planetary boundary has been crossed (see the Perspective by Oliver). Using over 2 million records for nearly 40,000 terrestrial species, they modeled the response of biodiversity to land use and related pressures and then estimated, at a spatial resolution of ∼1 km2, the extent and spatial patterns of changes in local biodiversity. Across 65% of the terrestrial surface, land use and related pressures have caused biotic intactness to decline beyond 10%, the proposed “safe” planetary boundary. Changes have been most pronounced in grassland biomes and biodiversity hotspots.”

Abstract: “Land use and related pressures have reduced local terrestrial biodiversity, but it is unclear how the magnitude of change relates to the recently proposed planetary boundary (“safe limit”). We estimate that land use and related pressures have already reduced local biodiversity intactness—the average proportion of natural biodiversity remaining in local ecosystems—beyond its recently proposed planetary boundary across 58.1% of the world’s land surface, where 71.4% of the human population live. Biodiversity intactness within most biomes (especially grassland biomes), most biodiversity hotspots, and even some wilderness areas is inferred to be beyond the boundary. Such widespread transgression of safe limits suggests that biodiversity loss, if unchecked, will undermine efforts toward long-term sustainable development.”
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 21, 2016, 04:04:00 PM
ASLR

Quote
... I note that it is quite possible/probable that TPTB have come to the same conclusion years/decades ago but decided to use the Darwin Award approach for reducing world population when we exceed the transient carrying capacity of the Earth (see the attached image), thus leaving a drastically reduced population....

I have pretty much baldly stated that a number of times as well.  This similar opinion of mine also comes from my time serving in the belly of the beast.  I have a good understanding of what they know and how they think.  This is certainly the most likely path the strong will take in the future and what they would plan for today.  The dilemma we are in today has no logical solutions as we have learned over the last decade plus of study.  As, as unpleasant as the above approach might be, it does not lack a clear logical foundation.  If the ship is going down and there are life rafts for only a small percentage, who decides who gets on the raft?  Democracy and fairness does not come to my mind as anywhere near the most likely methods to be employed.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 21, 2016, 08:38:13 PM
The linked article was written by Chloe Maxmin (a fellow with "The Nation"), and in it she acknowledges that Neoliberal thinking has become “The Washington Consensus”, by means of a long-term, well planned coup; and that the climate movement currently has no such clear plan of action and is left playing defense by allowing climate skeptics to endlessly frame the discussion in the media, so that the climate movement cannot make significant progress.

Indeed, Maxmin concludes that the climate movement must take the time (decades) to develop a comparable action plan with a shared intellectual platform, clear mainstream messaging, and methodical implementation at all levels of society (from grass roots to the stratosphere).
Assuming that she is correct that the climate movement will continue to flounder without such a multi-decade effort to develop an action plan, we can conclude that by then the global socio-economic collapse will have occurred and that the action plan should be developed for the less than 1 Billion people remaining, or else we will wind-up with the feudalism envisioned by JimD.

In such a post-collapse society, I envision two main socio-economic frameworks keeping mankind above feudalism, which are: (a) the inheritors of those orchestrating the "4th Industrial Revolution" (AI, robotics, biotechnology, etc.) who will acquiesce personal freedom in order to focus on enhanced effectiveness via the information-driven fruits of the 4th Industrial Revolution and (b) the inheritors of the mindfulness movement who rally around a clear compelling message focused on "Free Will" as understood by millennia of wisdom from such traditions as the Vipassana movement.


https://www.thenation.com/article/what-the-climate-movement-can-learn-from-the-neoliberal-coup/ (https://www.thenation.com/article/what-the-climate-movement-can-learn-from-the-neoliberal-coup/)

Extract: "What the Climate Movement Can Learn from the Neoliberal Coup
With its strategy and our moral compass, the climate movement could be unstoppable.


 How can the climate movement develop the political power to fight effectively?

To glean a few answers, I looked to what I regard as one of the most successful examples of social change in the modern era: the neoliberal coup. Between 1975 and 2008, an ideological movement called “neoliberalism” evolved from fringe theory into the dominant economic paradigm of our age, with great help from the Republican Party, and then, the Democrats as well.


 In 1958, 73 percent of Americans trusted their government.

All that changed in the 1970’s. Stagflation—high unemployment, high inflation, and stagnant growth—gripped the US economy. Keynesian policies did little to alleviate the crisis

 Then came neoliberalism’s true champion, Ronald Reagan, in 1981. He mesmerized the country (and the world) with free market idealism expressed in anti-big government rhetoric, policies, and practices. Reagan’s focus.

 Neoliberal thinking is now the status quo among Republicans, many Democrats, and most major institutions—it’s called “The Washington Consensus.”

 The Republican’s neoliberal movement rests on a shared vision and a long-range understanding of how to translate that vision from theory to practice. From the very beginning, neoliberals were committed to a disciplined long game.

 The climate movement has developed as a social force since the 1980s, but it does not yet have the shared vision or long game capable of changing the core of American society.

 The neoliberal movement’s vision was forged among an exclusive group of thinkers and then fed to a political party that champions elites. The climate movement will need to produce a shared vision in ways that are consistent with our democratic values.

 An important step in the neoliberal ascent was clean, clear, compelling messaging that exemplified neoliberal values, garnered support, and could flow through the Republican Party. One word did most of the work: freedom.

 Another key component of the mainstream infusion was think tanks—institutions that incubated ideas and policies. Neoliberalism’s converts developed a “transatlantic network,” as Jones calls it, that established think tanks to further the cause. As Jones comments, these “nodes” absorbed ideas from neoliberalism’s Founding Fathers and turned them into innovative policy formulations. It was these think tanks that then nurtured neoliberal thinking for three decades, maintained close relationships with Republican politicians, and ultimately fed innovative policies to Washington’s elite for mainstream diffusion. The Heritage Foundation was ground zero for the GOP’s original position on individual mandates for health insurance. (In 1983, Ronald Reagan told a Heritage gathering that they were leading an “intellectual revolution.”)

…  “The real action is in the think tanks these days.” Mirowski adds that the left has “no conception of the amount of regimentation it takes to achieve something like this.”
 The lack of a shared intellectual platform, clear mainstream messaging, and methodical implementation leaves the climate movement playing defense.

 The best defense is a good offense. Brulle agrees that we need to “start taking examples from how effective the conservative movement has been and try to apply some of the strategies…. we need to expand our tactics to encompass some of this.” We focus on local specific campaigns to defend ourselves against the ever-present threats to home, family, and life. This work is crucial, but we also need to take the time to develop a vision, incubate our thinking, develop policies, disseminate new intellectual frameworks, and implement new action strategies. Some will say that the climate movement doesn’t have time to develop this kind of intellectual and political apparatus. My response: We don’t have the time not to.

 The next lesson to learn from the Republican neoliberal coup is the impressive top-down and bottom-up political apparatus. As Mirowski told me, true success stems from having a “central intellectual guide and a set of projects at the local, individual, parochial level.”

 The climate movements offers our society truth instead of denial, survival instead of chaos, justice instead of injustice, equality instead of inequality, and democracy instead of oligarchy."


See also:
http://www.chloemaxmin.com/ (http://www.chloemaxmin.com/)

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 21, 2016, 10:14:31 PM
I think comparing NeoLiberalism and The climate movement is problematic. If I might oversimplify things NeoLiberal goals can be reduced to maintaining growth. Without growth banking and what passes for monetary policy fails. Climate policy on the other hand ,also in simplified terms , can be reduced to the IPCC goal of eliminating all fossil fuel use by some date in the future.
Our problem of attaining the climate goal is nobody has a clue how to achieve that goal. The one option that would actually get us there is reverting to Neolithic technologies. Although I might be happy with that option I don't think most people would . Without even one example of one single person ,family or small village actually achieving the zero ff goal other than those few tribes deeply hidden in the amazon we are collectively in deep trouble.
 We on the left simply don't agree! I have taken some heat on the subject of meat consumption here on the forum . Neolithic society obviously consumed meat. Farming at any large scale starts the slide towards excess emissions, rice farming or large scale tillage both are problematic.
 To sum the Neoliberals have a goal they can attain , until earth systems retaliate , while we on the left and climate policy can maintain little more than a pipe dream .
 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 22, 2016, 02:14:27 AM
To sum the Neoliberals have a goal they can attain , until earth systems retaliate , while we on the left and climate policy can maintain little more than a pipe dream .

While Chloe Maxmin may be trying to save everyone; the focus of my post was to acknowledge that all people die at some point, so it is best to focus on helping future generations; rather than to desperately cling to a "Me" based socio-economic system that will inevitably collapse (and whose collapse is only accelerated by neoliberal actions).

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bruce Steele on August 22, 2016, 03:31:06 AM
Only the deepest respect for both you and Jim.  Chloe however appears to be gaming the issues.
The floods I was somewhat hoping for last year has transformed into what may be dry wells for me in the not too distant future. Cachuma dam is now dropping below 9% and will be dead pool at 3%. All the cities and agriculture users are now in a race to the bottom of a very shallow aquifer.  For me it is emblematic of larger issues we are faced with here on the forum but locally there isn't even a discussion of how the problem should be dealt with re. long term drought. No water restrictions, no requests for diversion curtailments , and I am getting kinda edgy. Please excuse me , I can deal with my problems but there is much pain and death in store for wildlife that doesn't seem to bother anyone around here.
Civilization isn't civil, I won't bemoan it's passing.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 22, 2016, 07:27:19 AM
As we sit and watch while the once mighty polar ice cap melts at the hands of our betters, so we also sit watching as our feckless leaders poke and paw at Putin's well armed Bear.


If the nukes come out, and we're apparently going to spend $Billions to upgrade ours, we'll solve that intransigent 'Population Problem' in very short order. That failed coup in Turkey could have relieved much overcrowding in that region, but we've now managed to retrieve those older model bombs from Incirlik & Erdogan doesn't seem as willing to do his part supplying the many named invaders overthrowing Assad.
Libya, Sudan Iraq and Afghanistan have been relieved of much of their surplus populations, and we're doing our best for Syria. Vietnam and even Japan seem to have forgiven and re-populated, though North Korea appears bent on holding a grudge, or possibly even returning the favor.


Depopulating countries seems to be something that we've become increasingly adept at. Could this be TPTB's plan for survival in the Anthropocene?


Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 22, 2016, 09:48:24 AM
If any grand worldwide conspiracy is aiming to depopulate the world through conflict, they're doing a very poor job of it - conflict deaths worldwide are at a really low level, historically speaking. http://io9.gizmodo.com/this-chart-shows-how-many-people-have-died-from-conflic-1713625114 (http://io9.gizmodo.com/this-chart-shows-how-many-people-have-died-from-conflic-1713625114)

Not that the Syria conflict etc need any such conspiracy theory to explain how they happened, in any event. Or that war generally leads to population reduction (if anything, during and after periods of instability people tend to have more children, because they can feel less secure in putting it off etc).

Anyway, on the topic overall: if we want people to have fewer children later in life, we have a few things we can do:
- Encourage womens' rights, particular access to work and education. This seems to be the biggest single driver of reductions in national birth rates, besides a good thing in itself.
- Increase access to contraception and safe abortion
- Increase LGBT rights: obviously, this only affects a minority of the population, but closeted people forced into sham heterosexual marriages to keep up appearances will tend to have more kids than out gay people.
- Increase peace, prosperity, and so forth worldwide: people will tend to put off having fewer kids til later when they are better off and more secure themselves.

But overall, it's worth noting that most of the world, from the Americas and Europe to much of Asia are having kids at a pretty sustainable rate now, of about 2 per mother. And if we push it much lower than this, we risk the misery of an aging population with nobody to support them. And I'm the remaining places, anything imposed from abroad to try to change how many kids people have is likely to meet with a lot of suspicion and resistance. So in the absence of being able to change a lot here at a population level, we have to continue changing all the other factors we can with regards to sustainability of consumption.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Aporia_filia on August 22, 2016, 01:31:11 PM
I did post this in #35  from   Psychology of Climate Change Denial, thread (which shouldn't be in Arctic Background):
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160802104526.htm (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160802104526.htm)

I reckon is showing us two different ways used by evolution for our development.
One is what we are all involved in, business as usual. An exponential way of growth.
The other is what it was only possible in the deepest corners of the Amazon or Papua New Guinea, small tribes with stable populations: NO growth.
Other way to look at it:
The first one is a parasitize relation with the environment
The second one is a symbiotic relation with the environment

It is too late for us to save our civilization, we are witnessing the physical end of exponential growth (like a virus killing his hostage). As any other animal we only realise the impossibility of keep growing exponentialy when we have reach the last generation before the collapse of the whole system.

Because we behave as we are: Animals. Even though we can create beauties like: E=mc2

Think of what happened to other civilizations, to economic bobbles, to Moore's law, ... (it will also happen to Internet unless the big chaos starts sooner)     

Are there other ways to live and evolve??? That's a question we are all making but it will only be answered by geological times.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 23, 2016, 03:26:56 AM
Civilization isn't civil, I won't bemoan it's passing.

While many people stop thinking when they foresee the coming socio-economic collapse; but as the attached plot indicates, if our pre-collapse efforts keep global temperature rise well below 5C (assuming that ECS is 4.5C instead of 3C), then we will be doing future generations a world of good.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on August 23, 2016, 04:03:29 AM
But overall, it's worth noting that most of the world, from the Americas and Europe to much of Asia are having kids at a pretty sustainable rate now, of about 2 per mother. And if we push it much lower than this, we risk the misery of an aging population with nobody to support them. And I'm the remaining places, anything imposed from abroad to try to change how many kids people have is likely to meet with a lot of suspicion and resistance. So in the absence of being able to change a lot here at a population level, we have to continue changing all the other factors we can with regards to sustainability of consumption.
I'd have to disagree with the aging population worry, because as technology gets more advanced, which is happening more and more rapidly, less people will have to work many hours to support the same number of beneficiaries as goods become more automated. Although we are partially there already and a very odd situation has cropped up where many office workers only actually work for 1 to 2 hours a day and spend the rest of their 9-5 day messing around or otherwise not doing productive work.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on August 23, 2016, 06:48:36 AM
" ... a very odd situation has cropped up where many office workers only actually work for 1 to 2 hours a day and spend the rest of their 9-5 day messing around or otherwise not doing productive work."

David Graeber is worth reading.

http://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/ (http://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/)

His book called "Debt: The First 5000 Years" is good.

I submit that in Graeber's  terms of debt, obligation, and state level force, the situation is not so odd after all.

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 23, 2016, 06:54:56 AM
ASLR
Your graphic errs when "Global Nuclear War" is seen as less of a problem than "Global Warming".
 Even under the worst scenarios some mammals will survive warming.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 23, 2016, 11:05:07 AM
ASLR
Your graphic errs when "Global Nuclear War" is seen as less of a problem than "Global Warming".
 Even under the worst scenarios some mammals will survive warming.
Terry

The figure comes from the UK, and was inspired by the 2006 Stern Review, as is image attached to this post (which assumes that ECS is 3C, ignores cliff failures & hydrofracturing, ignores ice-climate feedback, assumes moderate Arctic Amplification and only considers CO2 concentrations and not CO2-equiv).  Such graphics indicate that above 6C we are talking about watching the rubble bounce.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 24, 2016, 05:54:11 PM
Here is the idiocy we have to overcome.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-galka/10-maps-that-prove-the-wo_b_11622454.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-galka/10-maps-that-prove-the-wo_b_11622454.html)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 24, 2016, 07:11:14 PM
Here is the idiocy we have to overcome.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-galka/10-maps-that-prove-the-wo_b_11622454.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-galka/10-maps-that-prove-the-wo_b_11622454.html)

Outrageous. That title is so misleading.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 24, 2016, 07:51:38 PM
Here is the idiocy we have to overcome.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-galka/10-maps-that-prove-the-wo_b_11622454.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-galka/10-maps-that-prove-the-wo_b_11622454.html)
California obviously deserves more electoral college votes ;>}
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OrganicSu on August 25, 2016, 06:06:09 PM
If population is public enemy no 1 is it good that
- a refugee boat overturned (6 less)?
- a suicide bomber went off at a wedding (51 less)?
- an earthquake struck (>240 less)?
Each of these has caused immense pain and anguish for those concerned.
If current population of > 7 billion was swiftly reduced to 1 billion would the pain and anguish be worth it so that some could fly/drive/eat food from faraway or out of season/buy stuff that's not needed (and isn't almost everything not needed?)?

For me CO2 is public enemy No1.
The fastest way for me tackle that problem is reduce what I am responsible for, especially the structural emissions. After drastically reducing structural emissions most emissions can become a conscious choice (e.g. coffee in throwaway plastic or coffee in reusable cup or alternate coffee from something that grows locally (for me that's terebinth tree berries) or no coffee).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 25, 2016, 06:47:00 PM
If population is public enemy no 1 is it good that
- a refugee boat overturned (6 less)?
- a suicide bomber went off at a wedding (51 less)?
- an earthquake struck (>240 less)?
Each of these has caused immense pain and anguish for those concerned.
If current population of > 7 billion was swiftly reduced to 1 billion would the pain and anguish be worth it so that some could fly/drive/eat food from faraway or out of season/buy stuff that's not needed (and isn't almost everything not needed?)?

Well you could say new births (specifically early and many per woman) are the public enemy number one at this stage of human civilization.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 26, 2016, 05:24:22 PM
If population is public enemy no 1 is it good that
- a refugee boat overturned (6 less)?
- a suicide bomber went off at a wedding (51 less)?
- an earthquake struck (>240 less)?
Each of these has caused immense pain and anguish for those concerned.
If current population of > 7 billion was swiftly reduced to 1 billion would the pain and anguish be worth it so that some could fly/drive/eat food from faraway or out of season/buy stuff that's not needed (and isn't almost everything not needed?)?

For me CO2 is public enemy No1.
The fastest way for me tackle that problem is reduce what I am responsible for, especially the structural emissions. After drastically reducing structural emissions most emissions can become a conscious choice (e.g. coffee in throwaway plastic or coffee in reusable cup or alternate coffee from something that grows locally (for me that's terebinth tree berries) or no coffee).

It would be hard to be more backwards in one's viewpoint.

High CO2 is a 'consequence' of a high population not the other way around.  Cart before the horse here.

Tragic deaths are, in general, also a consequence of too high of a population as they are quite traceable to a lack of resources and room to live.  I would urge you to spend some time considering the consequences to everyone (including and especially our descendants) not just to those who exist today.  Those who will live in the future are far more innocent of fault than anyone alive today.  Your actions today determine how much pain and suffering they will experience.  That will be on you and me.

The only choice we have is to either choose to 'manage' in as humane as possible a way to minimize the pain and anguish of that reduction to 1 billion which is critically required, or not.  The other side of that choice is to follow the Green/Black BAU sirens to an inevitable catastrophic civilizational collapse.  The pain and suffering of that approach will be orders of magnitude greater than a managed population reduction.  It is worth pointing out that the pain and suffering of human existence we see today is but a tiny fraction of what we are heading for by following the BAU approaches.  Taking approaches which makes ones own life easier at the expense of unborn innocents has a very nasty name.

What you propose doing in your life to 'fix' will have no meaningful effect as I am pretty sure you actually realize.  But just in case let us point out an uncomfortable fact.  The human carbon contribution of the average African is still substantial.  Are you even slightly prepared to reduce your lifestyle to one below that of the average African to get your "structural' contributions down to a point it would make a difference?  I point out that this would require you to be living in the homeless camp out in the trees on the edge of town. 

If absolutely everyone on the planet lived at a life style of the average African CO2 levels would not stop their constant rise by any means.  Not even close.  There is nothing in the Green BAU toolkit that can overthrow the laws of physics.  All of modern technology has a resource trail and must adhere to the laws of thermodynamics..there is no free lunch.

We have no chance of dramatically easing the human causes of climate change and maintaining some semblance of 'modern' civilization unless we dramatically reduce population.  Since all technology results in effects on climate change issues and global carrying capacity the total numbers of humans attempting to live this way is the critical path number.  The fewer the better obviously.   The global carrying capacity of the Earth in pre-modern times was somewhere in the range of 1 billion..and those number still resulted in massive damage to the global ecosystem.  A population of 1 billion living a modern lifestyle inevitably has a much greater impact than pre-modern lifestyles.  Therefore there is only one direction to go regarding population and due to the present circumstances our only option is to move in that direction at a very rapid rate.  There is nothing in the current demographic numbers which has any chance in following that path either.  Radical change in human population levels is essential.

Civilization as we currently seem to conceive it is unsustainable in any meaningful sense of the word.  Our goal therefore is not really to achieve real sustainability but rather to stretch out as far into the future the inevitable collapse of the global ecosystem.  Doing this would give humanity its best chance of having a long existence and hopefully achieving some meaningful purpose.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nowayout on August 26, 2016, 07:52:22 PM
++

I guess, for a short time you will see some coverage in the MSM, marked graphic.

You might like to take a look at (i.e. google) "limits to growth". Short: we are on track.

Barely. They did not account for Climate Change.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nowayout on August 26, 2016, 08:21:25 PM
Quote
No, but we have to stop being stupid.  And that is really hard to do.

To quote Emile Cioran : "Homo sapiens: what a pretension."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 26, 2016, 10:51:50 PM
The Sierra Club wrote the linked article entitled: "3 things you didn’t know about global population and climate change", see extract.  While the article seems to favor reducing consumption rather than limiting population growth (and to be real, politically there is no current will to control population by policy).  Reading between the lines of the article for me raises several issue which may well increase the likelihood that we will not only exceed the current mean population projection of 9.7 billion people by 2050, but also that our collective carbon emissions will be higher than expected, including:

a. The article indicates that rights-based access to family planning may not limit consumption.

b. Women are more impacted by climate change, which translates in to them losing more control of their fertility, which means more population growth.

c. The article indicates that the death rate is decreasing which may well result in higher than expected population growth.

d. As the per capita carbon emissions is projected to increase significantly in the third world in the next several decades.

http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/2016/07/3-things-you-didn-t-know-about-global-population-and-climate-change (http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/2016/07/3-things-you-didn-t-know-about-global-population-and-climate-change)

Extract: "Yesterday was World Population Day, to commemorate that, we took a look at global demographic trends and how they affect people and their environments.

1.   Consumption plays a large role in contributing to climate disruption.
Often, when people talk about the impact of population on climate change, it is about the number of people. More people, more degradation. While this may carry truth for natural resources on a local level, the vast majority of climate emissions are a result of a handful of largely high-income countries. The United States for instance, while only five percent of the global population, produces 25 percent of the emissions. The average person in the United States produces 42 times the emissions of the average person in Bangladesh. On a national scale, that means the U.S. is producing 92 times more emissions than Bangladesh. The wealthiest 20 percent of people in the world consume 86 percent of its goods, with the poorest 20 percent consuming only 1.3 percent.

2.   Population growth has dramatically slowed. 
While population continues to grow, the rate of that growth has dramatically slowed. Today, our population is growing by 1.13 percent per year, nearly half the rate during peak growth in the late 1960s. While experts predict we’ll have 9.7 billion people by 2050, that represents a slowing of the population growth rate to an estimated half a percent growth.

Most of the continued growth we’ll witness through 2100 is based on population momentum. This is due to a lack of balance in births and deaths, largely attributed to a younger population. On  global scale, more than half the world’s population is under the age of 30 and as youth  enter reproductive years - even with a replacement rate of two children per woman - our population will grow. With these estimations, population will stop growing before the end of this century.

3.   Climate disruption has increased impacts for women and girls.
Climate disruption is not gender neutral. It’s impact on women and girls is disproportionate. Women are an estimated 14 times more likely to die from a natural disaster, which fueled by climate disruption are growing in frequency and intensity.  Women constitute up to 80 percent of global refugee and displaced populations, and typically in emergencies 70 to 80 percent of those needing assistance are women and children. As women, they are often the target of systematic rape, violence, and terror."

For projected increases in carbon emissions, see also:

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm (http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OrganicSu on August 27, 2016, 11:15:10 AM
High CO2 is a 'consequence' of a high population not the other way around.
High CO2 is a consequence of actions not population.
I caused more CO2 between age 29 and 32 than the rest of my years combined.

Your actions today determine how much pain and suffering they will experience.  That will be on you and me.
Totally 100% agree. If everyone accepted this we would be half way to mitigating the problem.

The only choice we have is to either choose to 'manage' in as humane as possible... (or) follow the Green/Black BAU sirens to an inevitable catastrophic civilizational collapse.
There is no humane way to reduce population by a factor of 7 or more. Agree, BAU of any colour won't work.
Another choice would be if everyone worked manually for mother nature to repair the damage. Move out of the cities. Pant diverse trees etc everywhere. Don't dig up or cut down anything unless it's for food. It's not society as we know it.

living in the homeless camp out in the trees on the edge of town.
:) Close. Old caravan, amongst the trees, no flushing toilet, solar panels, electric scooter, electric oven, happy wife (strange as that may seem). 5 liters of drinking water per day. 90% of food comes from within 10km. But if collapse came tomorrow I am in deep trouble. I need circa 10 more years to improve the soil, plant cover, wild plant knowledge, rainwater capture ststem.
Yes, I know my actions, do not alter at all society's direction.
But by eliminating dependency on society I reduce my CO2 and prepare.

If I was mother nature I would gladly accept another billion people (if they worked on healing the planet) in exchange for stopping all flights. Another billion people to stop all cars and trucks. Another billion people again in exchange for no more extraction of coal, oil, gas, metals.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 27, 2016, 02:40:55 PM
The only way we are able to feed the current population of the planet is massive factory farming of key grains that absolutely depend on oil for fertilizers, pesticides and energy to pump aquifers dry and transport food. We have depleted vast areas of fertile land so that the only way to maintain crop production is to do more of the same. We absolutely must get a handle on population or BAU is required and a horrific crash is inevitable.

The only question in my mind is what is the carrying population of the planet. Prior to the industrial revolution, there were about 1 billion of us. I think that with all of the wonderful technology that we have developed we could sustain a population of 2 to 3 billion.

It goes without saying that these 3 billion would be living very simple lives.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 27, 2016, 05:55:27 PM
.............

The only question in my mind is what is the carrying population of the planet. Prior to the industrial revolution, there were about 1 billion of us. I think that with all of the wonderful technology that we have developed we could sustain a population of 2 to 3 billion.

It goes without saying that these 3 billion would be living very simple lives.

Perhaps, but it depends on how one defines sustainable.  As we grew to a preindustrial population of 1 billion over several thousand years we managed to destroy or significantly degrade a large percentage of the Earth.  Preindustrial civilization was not living sustainably in any true sense.  While it is certain that the Earth could have supported such behavior for many additional thousands of years it could not have done it forever.  Of course the next ice age would have been a partial solution to the population of 1 billion as the globe could certainly not have supported that population during an ice age.  Not a problem we will be facing however.

I am not concerned with sustainability measured in permanent terms - if we can get it out to several thousand more years I would be satisfied I guess.  Like many I find the ultimate value of human civilization to be that constant striving towards ultimate understanding and expansion out into the universe.  But that is not happening this civilizational cycle as collapse is coming too soon once again.  But let us leave enough behind as we move on for our replacements to pick up the pieces once again and move the ball forward.  Our goal is not to worry about us but to not eliminate the prospects of those who come after us.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OrganicSu on August 27, 2016, 06:46:29 PM
massive factory farming of key grains that absolutely depend on oil for fertilizers, pesticides and energy to pump aquifers dry and transport food.
This will lead to further environmental degradation, more species to become extint, CO2 to rise and a horrifying collapse is thereby inevitable.


Re deliberately getting from >7 billion to 1 billion will make the gas chambers in Germany during WW2 seem like... (what? I have no possible description). Are anyone of you who are hinting at this being the right way forward willing to flick the switch on 6 people from your immediate family? Or do you volunteer yourself?


I know that where I live is very different to most places, but uncountable tonnes of figs, of grapes, of almonds, of walnuts, of pomegranates, of quince etc fall to the ground every year. I would guess less than 5% of these foods that grow here are consumed.
The population in my nearest village has fallen from 10k to 1.5k. Warning - rough calculations follow: If we went back up to 10k, all lived simply, dug trenches to capture rainwater and burried all excess wood instead of burning it (during olive pruning time we have a constant haze for 2 months) then our village would be more sustainable and would reduce it's net CO2 emissions. With hundreds of trees per person, capturing CO2 (ok I know, temporarily), our net emissions could become negative. But like JimD said previously - it's like no-one is listening; in fact they think I am mad when they see me picking up wood to prevent it from being burnt.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 27, 2016, 07:24:56 PM
I think that for "wicked problems" like sustainability the most useful approach is to take a "middle path" of encouraging: humane restraint in population growth; improving systemic efficiencies; reduced use of fossil fuels; regulations to limit pollution & waste; while also recognizing that the path that the global socio-economic is currently headed will sooner, or later, result in Mother Nature limiting population; aggregate consumption; and industrial activity via the Darwin Award, thus there is no point in clinging desperately (via magical thinking) to situations that will change significantly in coming decades (as we are currently in an overshoot situation, i.e. collectively we are currently stealing from future generations and at the moment we are accelerating the rate of such theft).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 27, 2016, 09:47:08 PM
Re deliberately getting from >7 billion to 1 billion will make the gas chambers in Germany during WW2 seem like... (what? I have no possible description). Are anyone of you who are hinting at this being the right way forward willing to flick the switch on 6 people from your immediate family? Or do you volunteer yourself?

Again, I doubt that anyone is proposing killing the extra 6 billion. But limiting new births could be much more humane (when you realize many of these newborns will live - and die - through a civilizational collapse), although of course slow-acting. China's dictatorial measure of one child per couple is probably more humane in the long run than a BAU alternative, IMHO. Of course globally that is a non-option unfortunately, but still should be said.
In addition, there are other measures that could slow our approach into the "wall" of carrying capacity. For example, giving up on marginally habitable locations that require a lot of energy expenditure (roads, imported food supply, battling rising waters) just to maintain. Quite a lot of other measures that have been posted on these forums over time.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Iceismylife on August 27, 2016, 11:39:35 PM
The only way we are able to feed the current population of the planet is massive factory farming of key grains that absolutely depend on oil for fertilizers, pesticides and energy to pump aquifers dry and transport food. We have depleted vast areas of fertile land so that the only way to maintain crop production is to do more of the same. We absolutely must get a handle on population or BAU is required and a horrific crash is inevitable.

The only question in my mind is what is the carrying population of the planet. Prior to the industrial revolution, there were about 1 billion of us. I think that with all of the wonderful technology that we have developed we could sustain a population of 2 to 3 billion.

It goes without saying that these 3 billion would be living very simple lives.
There was someone running around preaching hydroponics.  Far less water loss if you grow in water.

I want to make a personal vehicle for myself that would get 600 mpg at 50 mph.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2016, 02:12:17 AM
..............

Re deliberately getting from >7 billion to 1 billion will make the gas chambers in Germany during WW2 seem like... (what? I have no possible description). Are anyone of you who are hinting at this being the right way forward willing to flick the switch on 6 people from your immediate family? Or do you volunteer yourself?


...............

Oh but you are dead wrong in your assumption you are not making this choice.  You are.  Everyone who makes the choices of following black BAU and green BAU are making the choice of catastrophic collapse and the result will be carnage much worse than any WWII level of suffering.   I point this out to people all the time.  What they are doing is choosing selfishness by holding out as long as possible by following BAU approaches so that they and their closest family may not suffer.

But this approach dooms their descendants and all those other lesser humans to untold suffering.  It is the standard human choosing of the present and letting the future worry about itself.  Such thought processes are why we are in this situation in the first place.

Choose to follow a path of massive population reduction now and a great amount of that inevitable suffering if we follow BAU approaches will be avoided.  But it means we have to overrule basically all of the global religions as well as telling an entire generation of humans that they do not get to have any children at all..zip...zero..period.  No kids for 20 years.  This single act would drop population by several billion and cause essentially zero real suffering.  And it might just save us if we also acted on the need to dramatically reduce standards of living and all the other stuff we need to do.  But if we don't dramatically lower population there are no other actions which can save us.

People who argue like you did above are always presenting a totally false picture of what is being discussed when the subject of population reductions are brought up.  Absolutely no one is talking about murdering people.  Phrasing it that way is ...utterly dishonest? 

We will get the massive murder you refer to if we don't act not if we do act.  So your argument supports murder it does not argue against it.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 30, 2016, 02:39:11 AM
Thank you JimD. It needed to be said. BAU will result in a level of horror that is almost unimaginable, death by famine, disease and war on an unrecognizable level. Anyone arguing against the kinds of actions we need to embrace are guaranteeing this horror. In fact, putting forth these kinds of "Who do you murder?" opposition arguments is disengenuous at best and downright evil at worst.

Do I think humanity has sufficient will and wisdom to address the issues? No. Individually, we are the brightest species on the planet. Collectively, we're pretty damn stupid....and selfish.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on August 30, 2016, 05:05:34 AM
Honestly at this point the only hope that I see that may be even remotely possible is a technological singularity and a massive portion of humanity to upload themselves to computers so that they only take the resources of the energy it takes to create the computers and run electricity to them rather than the much larger amount of resources it takes to keep a biological person happy and healthy... The proposals to make everyone stop having children for a certain amount of time are admirable but have a chance of happening smaller than 1 in 7 billion.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: OrganicSu on August 30, 2016, 09:11:07 AM
BAU will result in a level of horror that is almost unimaginable, death by famine, disease and war on an unrecognizable level.
100% agree. It has already started.
I see a car go past and I say to myself - you are blind, you do not see that you are killing yourself, your family and me.
My sister was going to post me 2 heads of home-grown corn. I didn't want to be responsible for the CO2 involved in their transport and 2 weeks ago asked her not to. She hasn't replied to that text.
I have tried to explain to my siblings what is coming. They either don't agree, don't care or don't want to know. And a close family starts to split apart.

"Who do you murder?" opposition arguments is disengenuous at best and downright evil at worst.
I felt that "rapid population reduction" meant killing people. I am against that as a solution while everyone I know flies, eats food from halfway around the world, waste so much. If that is not what is meant then let's move on.

Re: no births - even if it were to happen it won't solve the problem. It's too slow. In some countries like Japan we see a fairly rapid initial reduction but with something like 1/2 world's population under 30(sorry no link) the population won't go down fast enough. I fear society will have collapsed before then.

Everyone needs to radically change everything they do, today, not gradually. Every action by everyone I know leads us and most species over the cliff. That has to stop immediately if we are to have a small chance. It helps if you equate all unnecessary consumption, travel, waste with slitting your own wrists. To increase our chances the whole population of this earth needs to manually work on rehabilitating nature.

I am trying to get to net negative yearly emissions. I won't be able this year. The wicked part of all this though is if we take the holistic view of my lifetime, the emissions made by nature (wildfires etc) due to my past emissions means I can never really get to true net negative emissions.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 30, 2016, 03:30:41 PM
If people can choose to have a lower carbon footprint (in their daily activities) and/or to have fewer children; then logically they can also choose to avoid the intensive and expensive "end-of-life care" that is so rampant in developed countries and which clearly indicates a desperate clinging (in a "Me"-culture) to a BAU existence (at the expense of coming generations).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160119135613.htm (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160119135613.htm)

Extract: ""End-of-life care is intensive and expensive, and what we know now is that the US does not have the worst end-of-life care and that no country is optimal. All countries have deficits."
Spending on end-of-life care was high in the U.S. at about $18,500 for hospital care in the last six months of life. Canada and Norway were even higher at $21,840 and $19,783 per patient, respectively, while Belgium, England, and the Netherlands were lower at $15,699, $9,342, and $10,936, respectively."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2016, 05:06:21 PM
ASLR

I completely agree and I have full intention not to fall into that trap personally.  But avoiding useless and very resource intensive medical treatments at the end of life often falls out of ones personal control, as at that time, you are often no longer capable of exercising decision making power. 

My father in law died recently.  He had a very explicit living will on what was allowed to be done to him and what he wanted.  I sat at the kitchen table when he explained it exactly to his wife and children.

When he was dying and no longer capable of expressing opinions his wife overruled everyone and the doctors and insisted on treatment which had no chance of saving him and indeed prolonged his suffering.  This precipitated some serious arguments and confrontations in the family.  My wife went so far as to take his living will and medical directions directly to the doctor who was executing my mother-in-laws directions and pointed out that this is in the hospital files.  He literally said, "Oh my God", when he was forced to read them.  It was like, "You do what you are legally obligated to do.  Or else."  The hospital then figured out ways to work around his wife.  I am certain that this plays out tens of thousands of times a year in the US.  And not getting called on it makes the hospitals a lot of money.

Instituting a national policy on not wasting resources on dying citizens would be just as hard to implement as telling the population they cannot have children - however necessary both happen to be. 

I am reserving the right to self termination should the need arise.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on August 30, 2016, 05:15:46 PM
Honestly at this point the only hope that I see that may be even remotely possible is a technological singularity and a massive portion of humanity to upload themselves to computers so that they only take the resources of the energy it takes to create the computers and run electricity to them rather than the much larger amount of resources it takes to keep a biological person happy and healthy... The proposals to make everyone stop having children for a certain amount of time are admirable but have a chance of happening smaller than 1 in 7 billion.

You describe being in the place where I think the bulk of the populations resides.  We face existential threats, no logical way out of them which lies within known human capabilities, and a lack of will to break out of our situation.

The vast majority of people are depending on a miracle to save them.  For most it is a religious miracle along traditional lines, and for the next largest group a religious miracle along Progress lines.  The belief in Progress in today's world closely parallels religious conviction.  We do not need either approach to succeed. 

The solution is staring us in the face.  We have to find the courage to act and behave rationally.  A huge step for humans who are largely irrational creatures, but not impossible.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 30, 2016, 06:48:22 PM
If people can choose to have a lower carbon footprint (in their daily activities) and/or to have fewer children; then logically they can also choose to avoid the intensive and expensive "end-of-life care" that is so rampant in developed countries and which clearly indicates a desperate clinging (in a "Me"-culture) to a BAU existence (at the expense of coming generations).

Thank you for bringing this up. I wanted to write something along these lines as one of the small solutions to overpopulation, didn't know how to put it in words. Crazy stuff going on with experimental drugs and treatments and prolonged suffering just to ease the psychological stress on the relatives. Not belittling anyone's pain, but it's important to know when to let go.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 30, 2016, 08:45:56 PM
Tragic deaths are primarily the fault of a lack of preventative infrastructure. We currently have 1/8th as many total deaths from natural disasters worldwide as occurred around 1900, despite having five times the population; that's a 40-fold reduction in such deaths per capita. 

The big paradox of population growth is that it's happened through being victims of our own success. We're having fewer and fewer children year on year worldwide but on the flipside we're living longer and longer. That's where population growth really comes from - it's not that we're breeding ike rats so much as it is that we've stopped dying like flies. But the only ethical way to address this is to try to nudge the global birth rate still lower than it is already.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 30, 2016, 10:32:28 PM
Tragic deaths are primarily the fault of a lack of preventative infrastructure. We currently have 1/8th as many total deaths from natural disasters worldwide as occurred around 1900, despite having five times the population; that's a 40-fold reduction in such deaths per capita. 

The big paradox of population growth is that it's happened through being victims of our own success. We're having fewer and fewer children year on year worldwide but on the flipside we're living longer and longer. That's where population growth really comes from - it's not that we're being like rats so much as it is that we've stopped dying like flies. But the only ethical way to address this is to try to nudge the global birth rate still lower than it is already.

You are mostly right but there are cases. In my country ultra-orthodox religious people are having 10 children and more per family, because god said so. And naturally they are already 15% of the population, as this has been going on for decades. Since they are a large voting bloc, the government instead of trying to reduce this phenomenon through economic means is providing child allowances and other policies that tend to encourage this obviously unsustainable trend. The sane people left (there are still some) see this long-term process going on and are essentially helpless.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on August 31, 2016, 12:49:23 AM
I have not read this thread, so I apologize if this has been said before. I would gladly read and reply  to any counters to any of my arguments in this thread if you point me to them.

1. Population is not public enemy #1. If it was, then climate change would be public hero #1. Climate change can (at worst) make H. sapiens extinct and middle of the road scenarios could potentially reduce world population to city states or smaller units dispersed over lucky regions of the world. Only best case, safe for the public opinion scenarios is climate change a mild annoyance. So climate change is very likely to take care of population, if it was a problem.

2. Populations is good. The more the better, except that there are very real limits of growth. If humanity is to survive it must learn that there are limits of growth and learn how to work around them. For example let's say that to keep growing we must spend energy, but the waste of our best form of energy generation will warm the planet to the point of rendering it uninhabitable.

 That's a limit of growth. However it is a limit of growth that can be bypassed. If the world started a WW2 scale effort to change all power generation from FF to solar inside of a decade, then that particular limit of growth can be cancelled out. If humans are only using energy received from the Sun in the present, the world can't warm. Only when we use the stored solar energy of fossil fuels we change the energy balance of the biosphere.

If we solve that problem, then the next thermodynamic limit of growth is global cooling. But that only starts becoming a problem hundreds (thousands?) of years from now. 
 

3. There are many other limits of growth that must be overcome  besides global warming. Size is one of them, eventually humans will run out of land. However if we solve the energy problem, we can expand into skyscrapers, build underground or underwater cities. When that is not enough then space problem must be solved. We must expand into space. That  sounds like science fiction but it is not. It is merely economics fiction. There is nothing except for economics, that stops us from doing that today.  It is the same for any other limit of growth. It is "just" a matter of changing the paradigm.

4. Humans, like the animals they are, procreate like animals.  When they have plenty of space and need more children they have them. When they live bunched up in cities or they don't need them they simply don't. The only way to stop this will be by implementing draconian measures that would lead to the collapse of civilization as we know it.

5. This is just a personal story. Just today my wife and I talked about making child 2. The problem? My niece and mother just caught Zika. As the world warms and the mosquito spreads, there will be more and more couples making the same choice. So I implore you, if you can, have children while you can.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 31, 2016, 01:30:57 AM
I have not read this thread, so I apologize if this has been said before. I would gladly read and reply  to any counters to any of my arguments in this thread if you point me to them.

1. Population is not public enemy #1. If it was, then climate change would be public hero #1. Climate change can (at worst) make H. sapiens extinct and middle of the road scenarios could potentially reduce world population to city states or smaller units dispersed over lucky regions of the world. Only best case, safe for the public opinion scenarios is climate change a mild annoyance. So climate change is very likely to take care of population, if it was a problem.

2. Populations is good. The more the better, except that there are very real limits of growth. If humanity is to survive it must learn that there are limits of growth and learn how to work around them. For example let's say that to keep growing we must spend energy, but the waste of our best form of energy generation will warm the planet to the point of rendering it uninhabitable.

 That's a limit of growth. However it is a limit of growth that can be bypassed. If the world started a WW2 scale effort to change all power generation from FF to solar inside of a decade, then that particular limit of growth can be cancelled out. If humans are only using energy received from the Sun in the present, the world can't warm. Only when we use the stored solar energy of fossil fuels we change the energy balance of the biosphere.

If we solve that problem, then the next thermodynamic limit of growth is global cooling. But that only starts becoming a problem hundreds (thousands?) of years from now. 
 

3. There are many other limits of growth that must be overcome  besides global warming. Size is one of them, eventually humans will run out of land. However if we solve the energy problem, we can expand into skyscrapers, build underground or underwater cities. When that is not enough then space problem must be solved. We must expand into space. That  sounds like science fiction but it is not. It is merely economics fiction. There is nothing except for economics, that stops us from doing that today.  It is the same for any other limit of growth. It is "just" a matter of changing the paradigm.

4. Humans, like the animals they are, procreate like animals.  When they have plenty of space and need more children they have them. When they live bunched up in cities or they don't need them they simply don't. The only way to stop this will be by implementing draconian measures that would lead to the collapse of civilization as we know it.

5. This is just a personal story. Just today my wife and I talked about making child 2. The problem? My niece and mother just caught Zika. As the world warms and the mosquito spreads, there will be more and more couples making the same choice. So I implore you, if you can, have children while you can.
I disagree with the basic premise, population is not good when there is too much of it, even if you could squeeze them in skyscrapers and underground I can't see the point. What is your desired number? 15 billion? 50? Agreed that humans will procreate like animals when left alone with abundant resources, this is exactly why an intelligent intervention is required to bring the number down to the Earth's carrying capacity.
Looking at your list, somehow food is not there. Even if you solve the energy issue (not as easy as described in your post, not everything can be done with electricity), growing enough food to feed all this population is one of the biggest obstacles you will meet, especially if all of them want to eat like the US average. Agriculture is already unsustainable with soil erosion and degradation and aquifer drawdown and a whole bunch of stuff, add to that growing population, growing affluence, climate change and loss of climate stability, sea level rise into the fertile river deltas, it can't work.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: idunno on August 31, 2016, 03:20:20 AM
Wow! Somebody posted something half-sane in this thread! Congratulations to Archimid.

First: the title is close to gibberish, innit?

Population is a synonym for 'people'. Public is a synonym for 'people'.

So "Population - Publlic Enemy Number 1" is either contradictory gibberish, or an obscure reference to American rap and R+B charts. I preferred NWA or Linkin Park.

Second, I think that any system of thought or belief that suggests that the existence of people, or of any particular group of people, is inherently a bad thing is in itself - and I have to use an old-fashioned and sweeping term here - evil.

Third, if anybody on here is proposing discussing the effects of global warming on polar bears with the polar bears themselves, do be warned that polar bears like to begin discussions by ripping out yer liver. Similarly, as seals can be trained to balance beach balls on their noses, perhaps walruses, provided they get rewarded with enough fish, might eventually learn to round up a decent load of the flip-flops, empty bottles, bits of old string and other plastic crap floating about the ocean. But I think you might run out of fish. Humans are probably a better bet.

Next, this forum is relatively welcoming even to science deniers, until they start posting utter rubbish, so carry on. From my reading of comments elsewhere (mainly Guardian), you've all pretty much given up disputing the pause, your solar cycle wittering, pirates and pixies, Monctons-a-leaping and leprechauns. This is all you've got left - no point in tackling carbon emissions because somebody in Africa might be having sex. This now represents about 50% of the deniers' input on the Guardian's comment streams.

Last, while population continues to grow, the population growth rates have been falling rapidly around  the world for decades. This is a pretty well understood phenomenon, with a very good statistical fit with the factor which sociologists regard as the cause of it, across continents, cultures and income levels. Populations growth rates, or at least birth rates, dramatically decline in correlation with the number of years that girls can stay on at school.

Now, I must now have seen about 200 comments from - let's call them global warming dismissers - saying that population is all that matters, and there's no hope for the environment with so many people on the Earth - and I still haven't seen one calling for extra investment  in women's education, particularly in developing countries.

Because that ain't the point innit? The point is that people in Kenya are still having sex, so I might as well fly my private plane around Kansas, because the world's going to hell in a handcart anyway, and that Viagra ain't all it's cracked up to be.

No siree Bob, its them young black women that's the cause of all the problems anyway, well them and Mexicans and Muslims and libtards.

Joking aside, if this were a discussion of how pressure could be brought on politicians to increase the flow of funding for girls' education, well and good.

It ain't.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on August 31, 2016, 03:32:11 AM

I disagree with the basic premise, population is not good when there is too much of it, even if you could squeeze them in skyscrapers and underground I can't see the point.

You can live a perfectly happy life in a skycraper or underground city. I don't live in either but if given the choice of not existing or existing in one of those setups I would chose the later.

Quote
What is your desired number? 15 billion? 50?

As many as it take to fill all habitable planets in all galaxies, while the universe lasts. 

Quote
Agreed that humans will procreate like animals when left alone with abundant resources, this is exactly why an intelligent intervention is required to bring the number down to the Earth's carrying capacity.
 

I think that using technology the earth's carrying could be increased.

Quote
Looking at your list, somehow food is not there. Even if you solve the energy issue (not as easy as described in your post, not everything can be done with electricity), growing enough food to feed all this population is one of the biggest obstacles you will meet, especially if all of them want to eat like the US average.

2 things food and energy

1. Energy: I never qualified it as easy. Changing the world's source of energy will be the greatest challenge ever faced by humanity. If we don't meet it then overpopulation is solved.

 On your second part, "not everything can be done with electricity". Electricity is just a form of energy and can be changed to other forms of energy. The sun provides more than enough energy to provide for all of civilization needs for some time. We even have the technology required to do it. What we don't have is the deployment of that technology at a worldwide scale. I admit that is a huge challenge, but a doable one.

2. Food:   Lab created meat is a thing today. Unless climate change stops it, the next step is mass produced lab made food. I'm talking of factories producing hundreds of thousands of pounds of meat using nothing but energy, water and cells. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing eventually happens with grains. Robotic facilities that take chemicals on one side and outputs grain like substances on the other. It sounds like science fiction but the technology is there, albeit in its infancy. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 31, 2016, 07:12:50 PM
I have not read this thread, so I apologize if this has been said before. I would gladly read and reply  to any counters to any of my arguments in this thread if you point me to them.

1. Population is not public enemy #1.

2. Populations is good.
 
3. There are many other limits of growth that must be overcome  besides global warming.

4. Humans, like the animals they are, procreate like animals.

5. This is just a personal story. Just today my wife and I talked about making child 2. The problem? My niece and mother just caught Zika. As the world warms and the mosquito spreads, there will be more and more couples making the same choice. So I implore you, if you can, have children while you can.


Re. Your opening paragraph.
 
Why on earth would anyone reply to a thread he has not read?


4 of your 5 bullet points have been discussed here and your opinions are not well though out.


Your final bullet is to plead with people to have children while they can??? Are you involved in some sect that expects to enrich itself when the starving parishioners pay the piper?


There are many on this forum for whom english is a second, or third language. You profess to speak the language, yet you write, "Populations is good", and expect to be taken seriously?
Perhaps your mother was infected many years ago.


Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 31, 2016, 08:14:32 PM
...
That's where population growth really comes from - it's not that we're being [breeding - sorry, typo] like rats so much as it is that we've stopped dying like flies. But the only ethical way to address this is to try to nudge the global birth rate still lower than it is already.

You are mostly right but there are cases. In my country ultra-orthodox religious people are having 10 children and more per family, because god said so. And naturally they are already 15% of the population, as this has been going on for decades. Since they are a large voting bloc, the government instead of trying to reduce this phenomenon through economic means is providing child allowances and other policies that tend to encourage this obviously unsustainable trend. The sane people left (there are still some) see this long-term process going on and are essentially helpless.

True, persuading such niche populations to also have fewer children is something of a challenge. Not sure what nudge factors would best take effect - sponsorships for orthodox women to go to uni, perhaps?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on August 31, 2016, 08:56:11 PM

Re. Your opening paragraph.
 
Why on earth would anyone reply to a thread he has not read?

To express an opinion?

Quote
4 of your 5 bullet points have been discussed here and your opinions are not well though out.

Thought out. It's well thought out. It could be a spelling mistake but I choose to believe that you know nothing because you make mistakes. Instead of replying with logic, I will pretend that your statement is invalid because you are an uneducated brute who can't spell "thought".

Quote
Your final bullet is to plead with people to have children while they can??? Are you involved in some sect that expects to enrich itself when the starving parishioners pay the piper?


No. I say it because climate change will put a strain in society and we might very well revert to the times were you must have many children because some of them will simply not make it to adulthood.



Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on September 01, 2016, 12:47:08 AM
I read replies 220 to 226, which began and ended with Archimid's posts. Trying to put in my two cents without insulting anyone. The discussion on population (to procreate with abandon or not), reminded me of Pope Paul the Sixth's encyclical from 1968 titled "Humanae Vitae". At the time, progressive Catholics wanted the church to allow the use of contraception. Holding to the conservative line as Pope's tend to do (present Pope possibly excepted), Pope Paul's encyclical defended the continuation on the ban forbidding the use of contraceptives.

Having been brought up Catholic I always felt the church just wanted us to feel guilty about everything and not have any fun! My argument against the encyclical and any call for mass procreation begins in the opening pages of the book of Genesis where god instructs Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. My argument ends by saying that we have successfully done that. In fact, we have been too successful.

I don't know what would be considered the maximum sustainable human population, but I do know that our current population is unsustainable. Our ever so widening footprint on this planet we call home has resulted in the extinction of numerous species, and the rate of extinction is accelerating.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on September 01, 2016, 01:57:28 AM
Wow! Somebody posted something half-sane in this thread!
Must say I highly dislike your abrasive tone (I'm just an amateur nobody, my dislike probably does not matter).

Quote
Next, this forum is relatively welcoming even to science deniers, until they start posting utter rubbish, so carry on.
Accusing posters in this thread (most much more esteemed than humble me) of being science deniers is plain stupid. Sorry.

Quote
Last, while population continues to grow, the population growth rates have been falling rapidly around  the world for decades. This is a pretty well understood phenomenon, with a very good statistical fit with the factor which sociologists regard as the cause of it, across continents, cultures and income levels. Populations growth rates, or at least birth rates, dramatically decline in correlation with the number of years that girls can stay on at school.
Something factual amid the attacks, and quite correct. Unless religious factors intervene btw, as happens in my country. Ultra-Orthodox women complete 12 years of (religious) school, and then they get married and have 10 children while working to feed the family while the man studies the scriptures.
Regardless I find the need to point out that although global growth rates have slowed, absolute growth per year has not. After topping 90 million per year in 1990, and dropping to 78 million after 2000, it's back to 83 million per year at present. So the population overshoot continues at this stage, though in a linear fashion rather than exponential.

Quote
Now, I must now have seen about 200 comments from - let's call them global warming dismissers - saying that population is all that matters, and there's no hope for the environment with so many people on the Earth - and I still haven't seen one calling for extra investment  in women's education, particularly in developing countries.
...
Joking aside, if this were a discussion of how pressure could be brought on politicians to increase the flow of funding for girls' education, well and good.

It ain't.
You could have simply posted such a comment calling for that, and moved the discussion in that direction.


The point you might be missing is that many solutions are needed. (Others can say it much better than me) . Just reducing emissions and consumption in each person's life and across the whole world will not work, same as just reducing population without reductions in aspired living standards will not work. And certainly at the level of the overshoot we are in compared to global carrying capacity, increasing the flow of funding for girls education, even if done in each and every country now, is too slow a solution by itself without many other more drastic measures. Had it been done in 1970 when Limits To Growth was first published then maybe it could have saved some/much of the overshoot.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 01, 2016, 06:10:56 PM
Archimid & idunno

I'll reply to both of you jointly as I think the mistakes, misunderstandings and plain biases of your responses are almost identical.  It would do you well to read on the topic a bit more.  Casual insults are fine however (as you seem to prefer) so indulge me a bit when I return the favor by pointing out that you need to engage the intellect a bit before you try and make sense of something or attempt to be logical.  Just saying.

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1. Population is not public enemy #1. ....

Perhaps the two of you are not American or knowledegable of American idioms and missed the social reference of the title?  That is fine as one cannot expect everyone to be familiar with it.  However this topic is full of the logic of the statement and there is huge body of evidence pointing out why indeed it is that human population totals are indeed the core of the problems of the Earth's carrying capacity and climate change.  To imply that climate change is " a mild annoyance." is pretty uniformed and undefenseable.  Thoughtless really.  And idunno thinks this yours a half sane response?  lol

Quote
2. Populations is good. The more the better, except that there are very real limits of growth. If humanity is to survive it must learn that there are limits of growth and learn how to work around them.....

There must be some intersting bias behind such a bold and ignorantly wrong statement.  Are the two of you completely ignorant of what we are talking about here?  Have you read the scientific literature on biological carrying capacity limits?  Do you even have a rudimentry understanding of the laws of physics and the limitations they place upon us?  Rhetorical question in case you didn't notice.

Try to keep in mind that it is simply not true in any way that we can survive indefinitely when we exceed the global carrying capacity as when we are in that state we are destroying vast numbers of other species with whom our existence is intimately intertwined as well as destroying the soils we need to grow food in...and a host of other items you could learn about should you choose to pick up  a book.  Carrying capacity issues exist independently of climate change issues and are of critical importance.  Climate change exacerbates the carrying capacity numbers.  No technology cannot increase the global carrying capacity.  If we choose to use it wisely, with the objective being reaching a point our effects on the earth are sustainable, that would be a benefit.  But we have never done that and are not doing it presently.  We seek profit and growth and human expansion.  None of those are good things in an ultimate sense by the way.  It is not evil to say there are too many people on this earth.  That is nonsense and demonstrates some weird illogical bias  - you might want to come clean on what makes you think such a thing.

The anti-science and apparent religious bias of your and idduno's posts is not uncommon in today's world and sort of to be expected. We see that with the climate deniers all the time.  We also see it every time the issue of population comes up as that raises all the non-logical subconscious triggers which make it so difficult to make any progress in trying to deal with long term problems.

Idunno repeats a common denier meme that because we have seen moderate (far from 'rapid") drops in birth rates over several decades that we are on some path to sustainability and there is nothing to see here....move along.  IF we had actually seen rapid drops in birth rates we would not have such a large and rapidly growing population now would we?  See how illogical your position is?  There is a large body of scientific work out there that you could take the time to read which describes how fast our population is rising and the totals it will reach (and all of the factors like birth rates are taken into account).  These projections have demonstrated historical accuracy so they are not likely to be far off.  The Earth simply cannot support such totals and the effect those totals (and current population) will have on further destroying the global carrying capacity and worsening the effects of climate change are indisputable. 

Spend some time thinking and studying on the following - it will help you learn a bit.  Every single human requires a minimum amount of resources to survive - even as a hunter gatherer.  If everyone lived that way the global carrying capacity would be determined from that base usage. Add in some level of technological advancements and the other trappings of civilization along with their resource requirements and you will get another answer for what the global carrying capacity is.  Just in case you don't know what that term means it is the level of population/civilization that the globe can support sustainably.  We are already in deep overshoot.  Every day the amount we are in overshoot get worse and every day the worsening effects of climate change push us further into overshoot.  Climate change is a positive feedback to the global carrying capacity problem.

Population is the most critical factor in this equation (thus Public Enemy No 1) because each and every one of those humans uses resources.  It is not possible for a person not to do this. 

I point a fact out often in these discussions. We know approximately what the resource/carbon foot print of each standard of living is.  IF we average those numbers for Africa we get the smallest number found on the globe.  In other words us Americans are very high compared to an African.  But what if everyone on Earth lived at the standard of living of the average African?  Would that solve climate change?  Would that solve the global carrying capacity problem?  The answer to both questions is a resounding NO!!!  CO2 levels would continue to rise at a historically rapid rate (though much less than they are right now) and we would still be far beyond the global carrying capacity and thus constantly lowering it.  This is a recipe for utter catastrophe..a civilizational collapse.  I will point out that no one on earth wants to live at the standard of living of the average African.  We all want to be affluent and live well, to prosper so to speak.  Well the numbers don't lie..we cannot live that way with any where near our current population numbers.  2+2 does not equal 5 no matter what your bias towards this issue is.

Yes it is true if we do nothing like you desire that the situation will solve itself.  But it will solve itself in the most horrible way.  Denying problems exist and refusing to contemplate solutions is what you are doing here.  It harms us all.  It will harm those you love.  If you live long enough it will harm you.  We live in a truly frightening time but letting ones fears rule them is what the timid and weak fall prey to.  Have a bit of courage and step up.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on September 01, 2016, 06:58:29 PM
Hello JimD.

 

 1. Population is not public enemy #1.
...To imply that climate change is " a mild annoyance"...

Just to be clear, that was idunno implication. Mine was the complete opposite. Climate change is public enemy #1 and climate change will solve the population problem. In respects of the title, I took the term literally. In regards to popular culture, it could have many meanings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Enemy_No._1 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_Enemy_No._1)

Quote
2. Populations is good.
... No technology cannot increase the global carrying capacity ...

I'm sorry but yes it can. If civilization was still hunter/gatherer, then the carrying capacity of the planet would have been exceed  long ago.If civilization still used pre-medieval farming implements, the earths carrying capacity would have been exceeded long ago. If civilization never discovered antibiotics/fertilizers/fossil fuels/automation then carrying capacity would have been exceeded long ago. Now current technologies are just enough to sustain current consumption, but not for much longer. I bet that new technology will flourish that will multiply available food many times over. BUt the capacity to generate those technologies  depend on a stable economy. If something like and ice free arctic happened before the technology is developed, then it will never be developed.

I make this assumption based on this technology:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/lab-grown-meat-is-in-your-future-and-it-may-be-healthier-than-the-real-stuff/2016/05/02/aa893f34-e630-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/lab-grown-meat-is-in-your-future-and-it-may-be-healthier-than-the-real-stuff/2016/05/02/aa893f34-e630-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html)


IMHO the next iteration of human nutrition will be probably be independent of the earth natural environments (soils/weather). The only limit will be water, energy and access to raw chemicals. If that was the case the carrying capacity of the planet in terms of food production might approach infinity.

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But what if everyone on Earth lived at the standard of living of the average African?  Would that solve climate change?  Would that solve the global carrying capacity problem?  The answer to both questions is a resounding NO!!!  CO2 levels would continue to rise at a historically rapid rate (though much less than they are right now) and we would still be far beyond the global carrying capacity and thus constantly lowering it. 

You only assume that "CO2 levels would continue to rise at a historically rapid rate" because our main source of energy is a giant CO2 source. If all the energy of the world came from the sun, then your argument crumbles like a house of cards. That argument is only true under current energy use paradigms.



Frankly I see your argument as the Hitler/Donald Trump's/climate change denier solution to climate change. It is not a good solution. I tell you why. What if we let everyone on the planet die except USA, China and India? In that case CO2 emissions would still be too high to sustain our current climate even when we more than halved the population. Less population will not solve the CO2 problem. OTOH if all our energy generation came from the sun, the population could remain the same size and CO2 emissions would be reduced to 0. Global warming solved. 

Granted there are many other limits to growth other than Climate change or agriculture. Each of them is a challenge that must be solved. If those limits of growth are not solve then population problem is solved.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on September 01, 2016, 08:30:27 PM
5. This is just a personal story. Just today my wife and I talked about making child 2. The problem? My niece and mother just caught Zika. As the world warms and the mosquito spreads, there will be more and more couples making the same choice. So I implore you, if you can, have children while you can.

Maybe this is the crux of the discussion. I assume Archimid wants to have a second child without feeling guilty about the massive carbon footprint that is involved with having children in the developed world.

I don't think one should feel guilty about that. Every person should have a right to have one child, which amounts to two children per couple. You might say less is better, but if everyone concerned about AGW and limits to growth stops having children, there will never be a cultural/societal shift needed to really work towards solutions.

I'm talking theory here, of course, as there are way more people unconcerned about AGW etc anyhow.

It's a bit like Idiocracy:  ;)

http://youtu.be/YwZ0ZUy7P3E (http://youtu.be/YwZ0ZUy7P3E)

But getting more children than two? I still don't understand how anyone in his/her right mind can be so irresponsible. Okay, maybe in the 80's, 90's people were simply unaware, but it's 2016. I know the best possible, hardcore hippies out there who have 4-5 kids, and as great as these kids are wrt personality and everything, they have been brainwashed by consumer culture, and all need cars, computers, smart phones, holidays, etc, etc. And they're hippies too, so they'll probably start pooping out 3,4 or 5 of their own.

If you absolutely need to have more than two children, then adopt. As simple as that. There are so many unhappy, neglected children in the world. And don't send those kids to school, lest they be brainwashed.

But this is a personal story too. My wife and I opted to have just one child. Partly because of the carbon footprint, partly because our daughter had some physical ailments as a baby, and we didn't want to run the risk of going through that again. Our plan is to adopt in the near future, even though the authorities might not give us one because we're hell-bent on homeschooling.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bernard on September 01, 2016, 09:58:25 PM
I've been following that thread for a while and the few last exchanges push me to come out of lurking mode.
Preliminary remark, the obvious fact that it's women who bear babies. I'm not sure what is the proportion of women taking part in the current discussion, but at first glance it looks like a discussion of males. (And yes, I'm a male, too).

It's a quite recent evolution of mankind (the last century, say) that women has something to say about whether they want children, and when, and how many. But it's now, (fortunately) more and more the rule than exception. From my experience (living in France), in most "modern" couples, it's the woman who decides about having children, even if she lets the man believe he's taken part in the decision. When I say my experience, I had 2 children from a first marriage, and had another one with my wife who was also already mother of 2. So we had 3 children each, which makes a total of 5, so goes the strange arithmetic of stepfamilies. And to complete the figure we have now 3 grandchildren.
So to answer Neven
But getting more children than two? I still don't understand how anyone in his/her right mind can be so irresponsible. Okay, maybe in the 80's, 90's people were simply unaware, but it's 2016.
My children were born in 1981, 1984 and 1995, but I was not "unaware". When I was 20 (in 1973) I was pretty much "aware" of the limits to growth, I remember my friends smiling at my early rants about C02 levels, SLR, limited resources, overpopulation, etc. and actually at that age I did not want any child, and I remember discussions with friends Neven would call "hippies" who wanted many children to raise them as so many "revolutionaries" (yes this was a time we still dreamt of changing the world).

But you meet a woman, and everything changes. And if she wants a baby, if you love her there is no argument. Even if you are both over 40 ...

Don't get me wrong. I don't blame women. My point is that the decision is in their hands and heart. And no consideration about the future of humanity can do anything about the decision of a woman to have a child.

That's for the natality end. About mortality, who will have the determination to say "I'm now over 60, I've been a happy parent and even grandparent, I've done what I had to do in the chain of life, we are too many on this boat, so I'll jump off"? I have no shame to say I won't be able to do that, for what ties me to life, there again, is stronger than the future of mankind. Sorry about that.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on September 02, 2016, 09:39:46 AM
Thanks for your honesty, Bernard. I don't mean to blame you personally, but it does seem that having babies is a kind of Tragedy of the Commons problem, where even people who are aware of the cost of having babies, still choose to have them for personal reasons.

And yes, I have met several women who are addicted to having babies. I don't know if that's biological or psychological, probably a mix. Some of them did it to tie a man to them (and then the next, and the next). Some of them do it for the child allowance they get, I suspect. With a good garden, some dole money, and 4-6 of those critters, you can live a pretty good hippie life.

I no longer congratulate people who have a third baby. But I'm the only one who does that, so they don't care.  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 02, 2016, 05:15:45 PM
Archimid

This is completely incorrect.  A bit of study on the issue will enlighten you.

Quote
2. Populations is good.
... No technology cannot increase the global carrying capacity ...

I'm sorry but yes it can. If civilization was still hunter/gatherer, then the carrying capacity of the planet would have been exceed  long ago.If civilization still used pre-medieval farming implements, the earths carrying capacity would have been exceeded long ago. If civilization never discovered antibiotics/fertilizers/fossil fuels/automation then carrying capacity would have been exceeded long ago. Now current technologies are just enough to sustain current consumption, but not for much longer. I bet that new technology will flourish that will multiply available food many times over. BUt the capacity to generate those technologies  depend on a stable economy. If something like and ice free arctic happened before the technology is developed, then it will never be developed.

I make this assumption based on this technology:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/lab-grown-meat-is-in-your-future-and-it-may-be-healthier-than-the-real-stuff/2016/05/02/aa893f34-e630-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/lab-grown-meat-is-in-your-future-and-it-may-be-healthier-than-the-real-stuff/2016/05/02/aa893f34-e630-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html)

Where you are confused is a common place.  Technology does not change the carrying capacity.  What is occurring is that technology allows us to more efficiently overuse resources.  In other words it allows us to exceed the drawdown of those resources even further beyond the carrying capacity than we were before.  Thus it accelerates overshoot.  It gives you the impression it is providing all the resources you need but it is stealing them from the future.  Study commercial fishing, deforestation of the Amazon and other parts of the world, loss of top soils globally, etc..all of these things will lead to collapse eventually.  Every single person adds to the problem.  It is not possible to exist without using part of the carrying capacity.

An analogy here should help explain it.  One needs firewood to heat ones house.  One has a woods of a certain size in which the trees grow at a specific rate.  One can gather all the dead wood which falls out of the trees and burn it.  This seems infinitely sustainable ..but it is not.  One can do it for a long time of course, but you are removing nutrients which the rotting wood would have left behind that are needed by the growing trees.  So the forest will slowly die.

Along comes a salesman with an axe.  Now you can cut the trees before they are dead and stack the wood to let it dry.  All of a sudden you have all the firewood you need to keep warm rather than being cold part of the time.  This situation is much less sustainable than the former, but people prefer it.  And so on. 

When it comes to sustainability technology accelerates the short term supply but brings the eventual biological collapses forward in time.  And results in a much quicker collapse when one can no longer find a way to steal from the future. 

One can also think of it like using a credit card to borrow against further earnings.  One can keep running up debt beyond ones means..until they will give you no more credit.  Then your finances collapse.

There is a large volume of scientific literature on this subject one can learn from.

The Earth's carrying capacity is constantly shrinking since we are in overshoot.  Each additional person requires resources as does each additional technology deployed.  There is no free lunch and no technology can create resources or more energy than you start with.  As we degrade soils we lessen the ability for things to grow and eventually there is not enough food to feed all living beings.  Raising food hydroponically consumes far more resources than via natural means for example.  Climate change has adverse effects on all of those factors as well.  The only way this situation gets fixed is when resource consumption drops below carrying capacity and then natural ecosystems get a chance to recover.

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Frankly I see your argument as the Hitler/Donald Trump's/climate change denier solution to climate change. It is not a good solution. I tell you why. What if we let everyone on the planet die except USA, China and India? In that case CO2 emissions would still be too high to sustain our current climate even when we more than halved the population. Less population will not solve the CO2 problem. OTOH if all our energy generation came from the sun, the population could remain the same size and CO2 emissions would be reduced to 0. Global warming solved. 

You are incredibly confused.  I am as far from the Hitler solution as it is possible to be.  Your position on this matter brings the possibility of such things much closer to happening... in fact following the current mainstream green and black BAU paradigms guarantees what you fear will come to pass.  Get off the train.

I am not talking about solutions which favor the US or any country.  I favor the human race and its survival.  I specifically said that even if everyone (that means everyone) lived like the average African we could not stop the rise of CO2 levels and, obviously, we could not get to a resource usage below the carrying capacity limit. It is not 'mathematically' possible.  This is not an opinion it is a calculated fact.  What I am saying we have to do to avoid the mass death all of us want to avoid is to reduce the 'global' population dramatically.  This results in a dramatic lowering of carbon emissions no matter what technology we deploy as less people means less emissions.  This slows the adverse rise in climate change effects (but it does not stop them).  It buys us time.  While it is certain that the wealthy countries must reduce their standards of living the most in order to also reduce consumption/emissions reducing their populations has an even larger effect.  We must do both things at once. 

The below is stupidly wrong.

Quote
OTOH if all our energy generation came from the sun, the population could remain the same size and CO2 emissions would be reduced to 0. Global warming solved.

It is physically impossible for that to be true.  All technology produces emissions and there is no renewable energy source which does not result in significant carbon emissions and does not have significant deleterious effects on the global carrying capacity.  I am an advocate of a complete cessation in the burning of fossil fuels..but I also know that just doing that is woefully insufficient top solve our problems.  The adverse effects of renewable technologies are not as severe as those from fossil fuels but there is no way to eliminate them totally either.  There is no perpetual motion machine.  Nothing is free.  Thinking these kinds of things is childish and totally unscientific.  And once again the problem is not just global warming.  It is carrying capacity.  Climate change as it worsens lowers the carrying capacity number. The issues are inseparable.  The Earth can only sustainably support a certain mass of living creatures of which man is just one.  We die without the others and we are killing them off to sustain ourselves.  This method works for a time and then the interlocking systems of nature collapse and we go with them.

I can see you desperately want a simple solution.  It does not exist and it will not exist.  You need to accept that and try and be a part of the solution rather than try and promote the behaviors which got us here in the first place.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on September 03, 2016, 12:23:05 AM
Last night at a monthly dinner I brought up the subject of reducing the population load through culling the aged, of which I am one. The consensus seemed to be that we were too valuable as repositories of arcane knowledge, knowledge that we would presumably pass along to younger generations.

It's difficult to judge the sincerity of the expressed opinions, & whether they would hold if draconian rules restricting child birth were being considered as alternatives.
While it certainly feeds my ego to see in myself a resource worthy of retention, even at the expense of restricting others reproductive options, I'm unsure just how reasonable that proposition is.

I personally meet with a generally younger crowd at least twice a month. Our discussions are wide ranging and my position seems to have evolved into one in which I'm often an opponent of the more radical suggestions, rather than an innovator who's ideas often required a moderating influence.
In this role I may have saved a few from the expense of chasing after unattainable solutions, but I may also have deprived them of the knowledge they would have gained through failure.

I miss the youthful enthusiasms that formerly lead me to run off in all directions simultaneously, while at the same time appreciating my present position as something of a gatekeeper, attempting to bound inspiration within the constraints of reality.

Mentoring has an important history, but given the democratization of knowledge that the internet represents, is the aged mentor indispensable, or merely a throwback to times when fact were hoarded and the elderly had access.

My once formidable library has been reduced to a few hundred tomes. Google serves in it's place. My apparatus, meters and tools have been dispersed. It's easier to find a U-Tube that demonstrates a particular process than to dig up a test tube to perform the experiment myself. If I serve a purpose, is it merely as a mnemonic that saves a few key strokes when quick solutions are called for?

I've put in my 3 score & 10, is it likely that over the span of another decade my value will exceed the carrying costs of my existence? A Do Not Resuscitate order is probably the greatest gift I can bequeath to those who follow.

Jesus, I can certainly wax maudlin before my second cup. 8)

Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on September 03, 2016, 12:44:08 AM
Per the linked article the 50%-50% estimate of world population by 2050 is 9.9 billion people (regardless of what we actively discuss in this thread):

http://climatenewsnetwork.net/soaring-population-raises-climate-concerns/?utm_source=Climate+News+Network&utm_campaign=ee73a4161f-Population_climbs9_2_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1198ea8936-ee73a4161f-38798061 (http://climatenewsnetwork.net/soaring-population-raises-climate-concerns/?utm_source=Climate+News+Network&utm_campaign=ee73a4161f-Population_climbs9_2_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1198ea8936-ee73a4161f-38798061)

Extract: "Human numbers are predicted to grow by 33% in the next 33 years – and that is worrying news for a world already struggling to deal with the impacts of climate change.
By 2050, there could be 9.9 billion people alive on the planet, and the global total is expected to hit 10 bn by 2053, according to the latest calculations by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a private not-for-profit organisation based in the US."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on September 03, 2016, 04:43:27 AM
The linked article discusses the possibility of eliminating the deadliest species of mosquitoes; which, if done, would save tens of millions of human lives by 2050; almost guaranteeing that the world population would exceed 10 billion people by 2050.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/mosquitoes-are-deadly-so-why-not-kill-them-all-1472827158 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/mosquitoes-are-deadly-so-why-not-kill-them-all-1472827158)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on September 03, 2016, 07:37:06 AM
@Abrupt,

Reductions in the mortality rate tend to be followed by reductions in the birth rate, after a little lag. In particular because there's less pressure to have many kids if you're reasonably sure the kids you have will survive to adulthood.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Aporia_filia on September 03, 2016, 11:31:30 AM
I'm with Jim. He is talking with data and logic in a scientific manner. I don't want to go over and over again with projections because the problem is here now, not in the future. As Jim pointed out, mathematically is very clear we are in an unbearable situation for the actual biosphere, and we are part of it. Part of Nature.
It is impossible to keep a perfectly unbiased position in this matter. We can not be totally scientific when we study ourselves.  As Scientific American questioned a few years ago: can the brain understand itself? When we try to understand how plants are able to recognise stimulus and react within multiples choices, not having a nervous system, we don't accept propositions other than facts (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plant (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/23/the-intelligent-plant))
Let's try the same approach with us.
When we fall in love what happens is that nature-evolution gives us a huge high. A huge, brain induced, drugs high. Whit the intention of making us forget how extenuating, how long, how energy and time consuming, bringing up is. This is also the reason why it doesn't last for ever.
If the effect of certain hormone (oxytocin) is eliminated, the mother will feel no love to her baby, among other problems.

We over estimate our intelligence. We don't have total freedom over our thoughts, as we tend to think. As some one use here as a sign: "reality is merely an illusion, although a persistent one"  (sorry if is not literal)

Knowing that we are not totally responsible of our acts when we fall in love is part of the proses to try to unlearn some of the bulls**t that culture (don't confuse with knowledge) and religion has hammered into our brains during our childhood.

It is not either a problem of gender. It is a problem of accepting us as part of Nature. The same rules for every being. We invented gods as a way to solve impossible questions to ourselves and we tend to think of us humans as if we were quasi-gods. Unique. And we are another animal with very special abstract skills, but very little difference in behavioural matters.

This is why my opinion is that we should prepare next generation for a collapse of our civilization with the hope that all this will bring some evolutionary changes to our genes that will allow the owners to survive in a very quickly changing world.

Cheers   
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on September 03, 2016, 01:26:14 PM
I am confused by one thing about this topic. Why have many in this topic said that the carrying capacity cannot be changed? I mean, sure, the carrying capacity of all animals on Earth cannot be changed but the equation can definitely be changed to benefit the population of certain species over others. The only thing that would degrade the carrying capacity is the decay in intensity and frequency of actions between animals and plants which are beneficial, such as the most obvious example of bees pollinating different flowering plants.

Also, I do not see how humans are completely dependent on the local ecosystems in an area. I mean sure, we are completely dependent on the various global ecosystems and climate patterns to contribute to a proper atmospheric composition and proper precipitation and temperatures, but does the leveling and construction of a building really decrease the world's carrying capacity?

I agree that we are decreasing the total carrying capacity for all animal life, but I disagree that the carrying capacity of humans was in overshoot the second we stopped living as gatherer-hunters, which is what those of you who are arguing that we are in global decay and headed for inevitable collapse seem to be saying. In case you were curious, the crop rotation and other various methods used for thousands of years before the industrial revolution were sustainable, as people were able to live on the same land for a very significant period of time (for human civilization) and it remained exploitable.

On a very general level, I view the energy systems of the Earth as having energy added to the biosphere through plants, and stolen from them by heterotrophs, and stolen from heterotrophs by each other, and then corpses of animals are raided by various heterotrophs to make the nutrients available to plants again (through the use of sunlight energy). The closer we can approximate the model of plants, the higher the share of the global carrying capacity we can occupy, and possibly even free ourselves from it (such as Archimid's chemically created food).

Edit: Before I am attacked by saying we are not necessarily doomed, I will say that I see the current way of life as very unsustainable for another century. Instead I see progress of technology (which apparently thinking it will progress is religious) as accelerating to such a rate that the current way of life will seem barbaric in 100 years due to advancements rather than complete collapse. Of course, I am not discounting the possibility of collapse, merely saying it is not inevitable.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on September 03, 2016, 03:35:36 PM
First, I would like to acknowledge that overpopulation is a problem. That can be  observed in any living organism from bacteria growing on a petri dish all the way to too many large mammals in a small space.  As I said before, there are very real limits to growth. Limits to growth are as real as the laws of motion or thermodynamics. IMHO all limits to growth can be eventually traced to the limits of the laws physics.


Technology does not change the carrying capacity.  What is occurring is that technology allows us to more efficiently overuse resources.

I did a quick catch up on the current estimated maximum carrying capacity and the number that keeps cropping up is 10 billion. I can agree with that number. However, I do not believe it will be reached under current social, economic and technologic paradigms. Because of the waste of our form of energy storage of choice, fossil fuels, the Earth has exceeded the energy budget for the climate that gave rise to civilization. As soon as a black swan event like an ice free arctic happens, human population could be decimated or more. If we go to war over dwindling resources, it will very likely be more than halved. 




Quote
There is no free lunch and no technology can create resources or more energy than you start with.

Absolutely.  But look at this plant in a bottle that has not received water or nutrients for 40 years:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2267504/The-sealed-bottle-garden-thriving-40-years-fresh-air-water.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2267504/The-sealed-bottle-garden-thriving-40-years-fresh-air-water.html)

The only thing it has received is light and the warmth of the room. That's enough energy for the plant to take raw chemicals in the soil and transform them into cells. Those cells will eventually die. Dead cells are digested by micro organisms that live in the bottle back to raw chemicals, where the cycle starts all over again.

This cycle is exactly the same cycle as the planet earth if the biosphere was the plant, space was the bottle and the light and heat was the sun.  Do the math, there is more than enough solar energy available to power our current civilization many times over.  We know how to catch it and store it, but we can not do it cheaply enough, yet. 

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All technology produces emissions and there is no renewable energy source which does not result in significant carbon emissions and does not have significant deleterious effects on the global carrying capacity

That is literally false, but figuratively true. A screw driver literally do not produce emissions. But if you calculate the FF's spent mining the raw materials for the screw driver, the FF's spent manufacturing the screwdriver and the FF's getting the screwdriver into my hands, then you can say that a screwdriver has emissions. However, if the internal combustion engines and power plants that power the machinery that creates the screwdriver were switched to electric motors, batteries and solar panels (lots of solar panels), then the same screw driver will have little or no emission, even figuratively.

So yes, your argument is true today, but it does not have to be. Fossil fuels can be replaced by current technology and emissions virtually eliminated if there was the will.  However fossil fuels interests will love nothing more than people to think that fossil fuels are irreplaceable. I think that by repeating this fallacy you are doing the FF's leg work. 

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There is no perpetual motion machine.  Nothing is free.

Of course not. Everything on the planet earth is powered by the sun. Even fossil fuels are solar powered. Life is just the Rube Goldberg machine the universe invented to temporarily store excess solar energy that could not be irradiated into space. As such, life as we know it can only happen withing certain thermodynamic limits. By digging up stored solar energy from millions of years ago and using it over a short 100 year period, the inevitable result is warming. However if we only used a fraction of the energy that already falls over earth, then warming is impossible, and you actually get cooling. You get cooling trapping solar energy in the form of whatever we make with it instead of letting it diffuse over the atmosphere, oceans and land. That effect is very small but if all energy was solar, it would be as significant as the heat island effect is today.
















Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: idunno on September 03, 2016, 05:27:10 PM
Well, JimD, I'm sorry if me tone offends you - sorry, that is, in the sense of 'tough luck', rather than  that I feel any need to apologise. I'm afraid that you must regard me as an enemy.

If humans are your enemy, then I am certainly human. You have an increasing number of enemies, around 7 billion or so, and you may need quite a deep bunker - because that's the road you are taking.

Of the two obvious alternatives for you to take on your enemies - the bullet or the ballot box - I can't really see that "it's time we all jumped off a cliff" is going to be a winning ticket in electoral terms, so enforcing your interpretation of your sacred texts, "The Limits to Growth" et al, may take quite a lot of bullets. I'll admit that I haven't read it, so I just regard it as a failed exercise in econo-prognostication, which has been getting more wrong with each passing year for the past 40 years; and an addendum to Malthus, who is about to celebrate a bicentennary of real world evidence and data demonstrating that abstract models of predicted human behaviour DO NOT WORK.

By way of a small example of the behaviour and consumption patterns of one Western consumer, me. At the time that Erhlich was writing, I had embarked upon collecting some music - I had around 20 LPs or so, some 250 tracks. Let's say five kilograms of vinyl, which ultimately had to be pumped out of the ground somewhere. I remain a keen music fan, and my tastes have become more catholic, change over time and I'm generally not entirely happy unless I have somewhere around 6 billion songs at my disposal at any one time. For which I'd need a shed the size of Manhattan, and the exclusive use of most of the oil of Saudi Arabia for a month or two, just to get enough vinyl to... OTOH...

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=music&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gws_rd=cr&ei=Nh7KV_ufOOvNgAah4aKwCw (https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=music&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gws_rd=cr&ei=Nh7KV_ufOOvNgAah4aKwCw)

Here, then, some of my  favoured econo-sociologi-futuro-prognostications, which I find slightly more credible than Malthus/Erlich...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gou1cspUfdY (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gou1cspUfdY)

Though I don't claim anything in there which I'd elevate to the status of a sacred pronouncement which, if only everybody else would pay heed would then give me the right, abrogated by US jurisprudence as a result of Roe versus Wade, to start dictating on issues of fertility, which are the concern, in my view, of each individual mother, on a case by case basis.

At a societal level, those of you who are concerned about an increasing population, if you want  to see more indivdual mothers decide to have less children later, then as much as anything in sociology is ever a hard and fast rule, then as women and girls have access to longer time in education, they tend to have less children; as they enter the formal workforce and pursue more rewarding careers, and achieve higher social and economic status, there are further gains in the field of women's rights, which have a knock-on effect of informing the choices and fertility even women who have not themselves benefited from extra years of education.

I have two further important points to make, which will follow, anon...



Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: idunno on September 03, 2016, 06:58:58 PM
A conundrum...

There is a negative correlation between falling population fertility levels and carbon emissions. Countries with higher birth rates tend to have lower carbon emissions. In many cases, the  more marginal and rapidly reproducing strata of societies earn their share of the available oxygen in ways which actually reduce carbon emissions, even when their own respiration is taken into account.

Consider the dishwashing machine. I'm sure many of you have domestic dishwashers, possibly with smart technology so that you can monitor its electricity consumption and carbon emissions.

Well, travel to India, and some twenty years ago when I last ventured that way, I would estimate that the total carbon emisssions from the life-cycle and daily use of dishwashing machines in the whole of the Indian subcontinent was approximately zero. Zero steel, copper, rubber annd plastic, to produce the machines; zero electricity to run them; zero detergent to flush away into the drains. There might be couple of dozen in the diplomatic quarter of Delhi, but I doubt it.

"Labour-saving devices" are a tough sell in India.

Let's compare recycling rates. I'm not an expert, but I believe that Western cities and metropoles, with stable family sizes, etc, an educated population who are increasingly environmentally conscious, aim for something in the region of 60% of waste to be recycled. Sounds like the sort of thing that the mayor of New York, London, Berlin would be proud to announce, at a great cost to the municipal budget and in associated carbon-belching machinery and equipment. Delhi, at a guess, is closer to 99%, with neither cost nor credit to the mayor, and very close to zero emissions.

Closer to home, when I finally tire of my toy with storage capacity the size of Manhattan, I dare say that the precious rare metals herein will be recuperated, probably on a rubbish dump somewhere in West Africa, by somebody who comes from a large family - and whom I am yet to be convinced is at the root of the current problem, what with all of that irresponsible breathing and breeding going on.

This then, under the heading of humans contributing to reducing negative impacts, and more to follow on actual positives...


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on September 03, 2016, 07:29:33 PM
idunno:

While you certainly have the right to state your opinion and defend it, your response is dripping with sarcasm, which in my opinion diminishes the effectiveness of your message.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bruce Steele on September 03, 2016, 08:31:53 PM
Lost me with " regard me as an enemy ".  I could care less what Idunno's opinions are at this point. Ignor !
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: be cause on September 03, 2016, 08:59:09 PM
funny .. idunno has talked more sense than most .
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: idunno on September 03, 2016, 09:08:31 PM
I am predisposed in favour of humans, having inter alia, as previously confessed, a passion for music. Subjective, but I prefer human music to walrus.

Then there's astro-physics, archaeology, anatomy, and through to zoology.

Within just the field of zoology (a bit of ethology and some ecology), there is a relatively recent and emerging concept of the "keystone species" - one whose activities within any particular environment have such a range of impacts on the range of other species present that the ecosystem virtually collapses, or is at least hugely impoverished, without them.

The most celebrated example being the  reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. With the rearrival of wolves, going about their murky business, a whole host of spin-off, unexpected ecological benefits have emerged. Primarily, deer and moose no longer dawdle over their grazing, moving rapidly from place to place, looking pretty nervous as they do so. This is hugely in the interest of the flora which provide the deer with grazing, and the interest of the flora is ultimately the interest of the grazing herbivores, who are of course endlessly of interest to wolves. It's all a very virtuous circle.

Wolves in Yellowstone may be a celebrated local example; but by far the most ecologically significant, and generally beneficent, keystone species throughout their full range, which encompasses almost all of the globe, excluding the oceans and Antarctica, is a bipedal ape with opposable thumbs, whose extraordinary gifts for communication and co-operation and, pertinent today, anticipation, gave them the ability to completely out-compete all rival species, with unfortunate results for the mega-fauna.

The Serengeti may be the world's most famous and celebrated wildlife reserve; where megatonnes of wildebeeste are stalked by the king of the beasts, in scenes which evoke a pre-human past dominated by Nature Red in Tooth and Claw.

And is almost certainly the most continuously artifically managed landscape on Earth - managed by human artifice - today by the Maasai and other tribes, who still use fire to boost the production of fresh grass for their cattle. Quite when this process started is anybody's guess. I'd consider it unlikely that the quite local girl "Lucy", australopithecus afarensis, some 3.8My BP had control of fire. Homo neanderthals arrived in Europe an estimated 500,000 years BP, IIRC, and certainly had fire. A date for when some form of bipedal ape with opposable thumbs started playing with fire in the Serengeti should probably be earlier than later, imho, between those two dates.

You might not approve of this process. One could argue that the Serengeti should have been left without human interference, to become in turn scrubland, and possibly eventually some form of tropical dry forest. When the great white hunters such as Prince Philip and chums finally put down the rifles and picked up cameras their first moves as WWF - an error repeated by ecologists so frequently, in so many places, that words fail me - was of course to attempt to remove, restrict and curtail the traditional practices of the keystone species in this environment. The human.

And another thing...

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Aporia_filia on September 03, 2016, 10:04:32 PM
I agree that we are decreasing the total carrying capacity for all animal life, but I disagree that the carrying capacity of humans was in overshoot the second we stopped living as gatherer-hunters, which is what those of you who are arguing that we are in global decay and headed for inevitable collapse seem to be saying. In case you were curious, the crop rotation and other various methods used for thousands of years before the industrial revolution were sustainable, as people were able to live on the same land for a very significant period of time (for human civilization) and it remained exploitable.

I think it is not that CC was overshoot the second we stopped living as gatherer-hunters. Is that, seeing there were not enough food for all the family they created the technology to solve the problem: farming. But there you can see the problem, we are always late in changing our way of life. Not for us, but for the environment. The more diverse the biodiversity the more resilient is an ecosystem to changes.
IMHO all limits to growth can be eventually traced to the limits of the laws physics.
We are talking about the growth of living creatures so we should also consider the laws of live (biology...) that could constrain as well. In physics a single species could inhabit a planet but not in our reality. Unless going back to the origin of life?
For the rest of your arguments I understand that you don't worry that much for the very difficult times that are coming because men has always been capable of creating the right technology that will allow humanity to cope with the problem. Well, my answer to Darvince is good for you too. Thinking of humanity living comfortably in the middle of a mass extinction, with a changing atmosphere sounds very informative to me.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on September 03, 2016, 11:47:57 PM
funny .. idunno has talked more sense than most .

If that's the case, then were really in trouble!
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on September 03, 2016, 11:51:58 PM

You might not approve of this process. One could argue that the Serengeti should have been left without human interference, to become in turn scrubland, and possibly eventually some form of tropical dry forest. When the great white hunters such as Prince Philip and chums finally put down the rifles and picked up cameras their first moves as WWF - an error repeated by ecologists so frequently, in so many places, that words fail me - was of course to attempt to remove, restrict and curtail the traditional practices of the keystone species in this environment. The human.

And another thing...

Humans are at the top of the food chain. We rely on keystone species to support our existence. How can humans be a keystone species?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on September 04, 2016, 12:21:34 AM
The linked article is entitled: "The Toughest Question in Climate Change: Who Gets Saved?"; which is an interesting question that will become only more poignant as we approach 10 billion people (circa 2050):

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-29/the-toughest-question-in-climate-change-who-gets-saved (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-29/the-toughest-question-in-climate-change-who-gets-saved)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on September 04, 2016, 12:24:28 AM
idunno:

While you certainly have the right to state your opinion and defend it, your response is dripping with sarcasm, which in my opinion diminishes the effectiveness of your message.
What was the message anyway?
The sarcasm is a piss-off, but it goes hand in hand the tendency to write a whole lot and not make any point that can be related to or argued with, which is much worse as it derails the whole thread.
btw, not reading a book but knowing for certain that it's a failure, not sure what to say to that.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: idunno on September 04, 2016, 12:46:29 AM
In fact, the influence of humans practically engaged in subsistence survival within their local landscape, over the last 3 or 4 millennia has so radically changed almost every biome in existence that it could be claimed that there is no natural world, other than in the genuine wilderness of Antarctica.

The myth of the wilderness chimes strongly with Americans - unpopulated unpolluted vast stretches of land untouched by man.

Underpopulated yes, given that during the European invasion, the aboriginal population suffered a mortality rate from smallpox and persecution of -estimates vary - about 95%. Certainly, where Columbus landed in Hispaniola, modern day Haiti and Dominican Republic, we know that 100% of the natives had died out by around 1650CE. IIRC, it is estimated that the population of the Amazon was reduced by 95%. In the States, the official government policy was "extermination" until late into the 19th Century. And one of the main arguments advanced for the second amendment  was so that private citizens could join in.

In the New World then, as well as the old, if you are intent on setting aside space for nature which has never  been affected by humans, there isn't any.

Back in Europe, which I know better... My own idiosyncratic belief is that the greatest  threat to local biodiversity in the UK, for example, is now UNDERpopulation.

By which I mean that the current rural population is not much bigger or smaller than it was 50 or 100 years ago, and whether it is bigger or smaller make little difference. But people no longer make any use of virtually any local natural resources. As far as the natural world is concerned, after at least 2,000 years of human exploitation, the humans disappeared, and that is a disaster.

If, to take an example pertinent to the discussion above, woodland is no longer coppiced to provide firewood and timber, you do still get some standing woodland; but it enormously impoverished as a habitat. In a purely "natural" state, in a now near mythical, unrecoverable past, which is now the preserve of Disney movies, there was some mature woodland, but with an awful lot of clearings in it. Because mastodons sometimes decided they preferred their lunch to lie down and not hover out of reach. Thus, biologists speculate, certain tree species evolved to survive being broken, or even felled and nearly uprooted. by producing new coppiced growth. There are also a wide range of woodland plants which have evolved to exploit the break in the canopy, on which a host of creepy-crawlies also depend. Once upon a time, the mastodon and the other mega fauna may well have been the "keystone" species in this environment.

Their role was inherited by a bunch of medievals, who certainly weren't even aware of why a tree can be coppiced, nor slightly interested in providing ecological niches for bluebells or butterflies; but who did so because the found it was the best way to obtain the maximum amount of wood from a patch of land. In modern terms, the best source of carbon-neutral fuel.

Similarly, not with the specific aim of pleasing the reed-warblers, reed beds were ransacked for every last standing reed, for thatch or basketry, on an annual basis. Reeds grow better if they are cut. Once upon a time, not so long ago, people around here even picked fruit off fruiting plants when they were bearing ripe fruit.

From such practices, the English landscape was largely formed, and in terms of the pattern of land-use, changed remarkably little between the late Bronze Age and the witterings of the Reverend Malthus in around 1800, when the situation gravely changed, due to the actual Tragedy of the Commons, rather than the mythical version referred to by Neven, above; which I may return to in a future instalment.

My point, for this instalment, is that the environment which was handed down to us by our ancestors was actually shaped by their exploitation of it; and while they may have a bit too good a job at, for example, supplying the beaver-skin hat market, or the wolf-skin cloak department, which  is regretable, many of those species which actually survived a couple of millenia of living alongside humans actually thrived as a result of humans performing important, long-sighted and sustainable activities within it, and performing crucial ecological roles within it.

To impose a boundary between the human and the rest of the natural world, and to declare humans the enemy of the natural is  to condemn many habitats which now only exists specifically because of human intervention to a long slow decline through neglect.

Those sources of natural resources and produce within Western Europe, at least, which were at genuine risk of extinction through overexploitation by people are long gone. Like Julius Caesar ate the last one, the greedy sod. There are many more in the actual modern world as it exists that are in more danger today because humans are now afraid to interact with their surroundings in any way, for fear of upsetting a "natural" ecological balance that actually irrevocably disappeared several tens of thousands of millennia ago.

I accept that Antarctica is a wilderness, and that humans have no business there, apart from on important scientific work. But Antarctica is not a hotspot of biodiversity, more of a desert. People have always tended to avoid deserts, preferring areas of high biodiversity, which is often tasty or of other interest. We are locked in a symbiotic relationship with our environment; and the continuing economic exploitation of the environment by humans is an essential feature of that relationship; without which both parties locked in symbiosis suffer immensely.




Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on September 04, 2016, 05:50:25 AM
Lost me with " regard me as an enemy ".  I could care less what Idunno's opinions are at this point. Ignor !

I have to agree with Bruce. The best way to deal with this guy is to ignore him.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on September 04, 2016, 09:35:25 AM
My point, for this instalment, is that the environment which was handed down to us by our ancestors was actually shaped by their exploitation of it
Fine. Humans are a key part of the environment and it's not natural anymore. How is this related to human population size and associated problems and limitations arising from it, the subject of this thread?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on September 04, 2016, 10:54:53 AM
Humans are at the top of the food chain. We rely on keystone species to support our existence. How can humans be a keystone species?

It looks like idunno inadvertently proposed a horrible solution.  ;) ;D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on September 04, 2016, 11:53:20 AM
For the rest of your arguments I understand that you don't worry that much for the very difficult times that are coming because men has always been capable of creating the right technology that will allow humanity to cope with the problem. Well, my answer to Darvince is good for you too. Thinking of humanity living comfortably in the middle of a mass extinction, with a changing atmosphere sounds very informative to me.
To me it sounds very odd, until you consider that the cause of the mass extinction is us - but even then we are definitely degrading our own survival. All I can say is that I truly do not know whether civilization will collapse or innovate its way out of this present problem, but I can definitely say that I put most of my hope in the second one. ;D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on September 04, 2016, 04:18:25 PM
idunno:

While you certainly have the right to state your opinion and defend it, your response is dripping with sarcasm, which in my opinion diminishes the effectiveness of your message.
What was the message anyway?
The sarcasm is a piss-off, but it goes hand in hand the tendency to write a whole lot and not make any point that can be related to or argued with, which is much worse as it derails the whole thread.
btw, not reading a book but knowing for certain that it's a failure, not sure what to say to that.

I hear you Oren. I was trying to be diplomatic, which doesn't always work! The recent exchanges with idunno reminds me of a line in the movie "cool hand Luke", where the warden says "what we have here is a failure to communicate, some people you just cant reach".
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on September 05, 2016, 01:40:32 PM

For the rest of your arguments I understand that you don't worry that much for the very difficult times that are coming because men has always been capable of creating the right technology that will allow humanity to cope with the problem. Well, my answer to Darvince is good for you too. Thinking of humanity living comfortably in the middle of a mass extinction, with a changing atmosphere sounds very informative to me.

I'm sorry that you understand that, but it is very far from what I meant to say. I don't think anyone will be better off with global warming, regardless of their perceived social standing.  I believe that those with the most to lose will be the biggest losers. Both the have's and the have not's have about an equal chance to be directly impacted by climate change, but only the have's
are highly connected to the world economy.  Add to that arctic amplification and that most have's live in the northern hemisphere then it is really bad for the have's.


Technology can only save our current civilization if it is developed and deployed while there are the resources.  Sadly with rapidly approaching deadlines like an ice free arctic, we might have already ran out of time. Once the climate enters a stay of disarray, we won't have the resources to fix the problem. 


But I'm an optimist. I see human efforts like the Great Wall of China, the space race, and even the mobilization during WW2 and it gives me hope. I don't think the earth's climate is beyond our control. At this point in time, civilization can either get busy preserving the planet habitable or let nature run its course. If the second happens, over-population will not be a problem. Extinction will.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on September 05, 2016, 08:23:19 PM
I have been visiting this discussion daily for the past week, simply reading and processing the differing viewpoints and would like to weigh in on this issue "Population: Public Enemy No.1".

The 1960's was a particularly turbulent period in human history. Africa and large portions of Asia, the entire world really, were adjusting to a post colonial society. The world was still rebuilding from the destruction of WWII. In the U.S., a social revolution transformed the landscape as women and minorities argued for a seat at the table. On the international scene, this mirrored the arguments by third world nations to also have a seat. The United Nations was still in its infancy. With this as a backdrop, the specter of mass starvation across much of the planet loomed. Books like "Limits to Growth" published in 1972 gave voice to a growing intellectual argument that we had grossly overshot the human carrying population of the planet.

Meanwhile, modern science, the groundwork laid in 1930's America, worked furiously to refine and implement technologies to feed the growing world. The "Green Revolution", a term first used in 1968 by former US Agency for International Development (USAID) director William Gaud who noted the spread of the new technologies, saved us from the predicted tragedy.

The initiatives, led by Norman Borlaug, the "Father of the Green Revolution," who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, credited with saving over a billion people from starvation, involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers all over the world. The adoption of these initiatives was an unqualified success and the population of the world, 3.3 billion in 1965, doubled in the next 40 years and now stands at 7.35 billion.

Clearly the doomsayers were wrong and their fear mongering should be laid to rest. Or should it?

The simple fact is the "Green Revolution", the technologies currently in place to feed the planet, are unsustainable. Helping feed the population of 3.5 billion in the 1960's led to the very predictable exponential growth of the human population. In cases of overshoot and there are thousands of cases that can and are studied by scientists, when a predator population grows too large and the prey population collapses, the predator population quickly crashes. Many here have argued that there will be new technologies that will allow continued growth and we can avoid a crash. I will not argue that such technologies do not exist, cannot be developed and won't be implemented. I will point out the obvious fact that if such technologies are developed, it will not solve the problem. It will merely cause the crash to occur later and with far more devastating effects.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: JimD on September 07, 2016, 08:18:38 PM
Well said SH.

I think that i have two responses to the comments by idunno and Archimid.

First I am not offended by idunno's antipathy and sarcasm.  I am a pretty good disherouter of that stuff myself.  One of the prime ways we move towards an understanding of an issue as well as an understanding of each other is when we find the points where the gloves start to come off and politeness is set aside.  Idunno has some good comments - though his conclusions are pretty much in a denialist vein.  Not the same kind of denialist as the climate change deniers as he clearly sees there is a big problem.  He more falls into the green bau camp of understanding there is a problem but  having a huge mental block about the extent and implications of the problem.  If one accepts where the data leads one then it is obvious that the green bau approach has no chance of arriving at a solution anymore than following the siren song of the fossil fuel advocates does.  To accept the data requires that one be morally obligated to give up our incredibly unsustainable way of life  - for at least a handful of generations - if we want any reasonable version of civilization to survive.  But that is the big rub in all of this.  We are utterly addicted to living large and better than the kings of old.  However it is exactly like what SH just said and I have stated many times....if we make every effort to utilize every possible technology to maintain our current way of life all we will be doing is burning the resources at an even faster rate than now and thus will move the arc of overshoot even higher.  And that will make the collapse much deeper.  Make it deep enough and we may not recover.

The rise and collapse of civilizations is just a repeating exercise of human history.  It has happened many times and we have always - so far - managed to recover and move the bar of civilization higher.  But there is no guarantee that we can do it this time as we are in a global overshoot of carrying capacity on an epic scale.  The addition of climate change into this ago old problem of civilization taking us into overshoot has put us in a much more complicated situation.  An existential one this time as we no longer have large global expanses where there are vast amounts of mostly untapped resources to exploit to trigger that growth again.  This time we actually have to solve the problem.  This requires we change our approach to building and maintaining civilization.

It is not the case that technology cannot help us in the future.  But we cannot depend on some 'faith' in Progress to fix things.  That is the point where progress turns into Progress and becomes a form of a religious belief.  Thus in the modern world this faith in progress has strong religious overtones.   Thus I use this terminology to deliberately insult those who think this way.  It is irrational and foolish.  It will not help us solve our problems.

Archimid.  It may seem insulting to you when i state that you are basically uneducated to the point of complete misunderstanding of these subjects.  You are just ignorant of the science behind what we know.  It is possible to learn about subjects like carrying capacity if you choose to.  But it will require you to set aside your blindness and subconscious decision to refuse to understand the basic physics and mathematics of what we are talking about.

It is easily possible to find where some idiot has claimed that there is no such thing as exceeding the carrying capacity or comes up with some number like 10 billion.  Check out their assumptions as to how they come up with such crazy numbers in the rare occasions they don't just pull then out of their asses.  What carrying capacity means and how it functions in the biological world is pretty well studied.  What numbers one ends up with are like many things based upon the constants one puts in the equations - or the assumptions based upon some faith or bias. Just what does sustainable mean.  Forever?  Fifty thousand years.  For as long as I am alive and then I don't care? This last one is the one most commonly used by those who want to continue to live the way we do.  But there is no doubt that human actions and consumption has been slowly degrading the Earth since well before the industrial revolution and has accelerated rapidly since that time.  A by product of that technological progress that some - for some strange reason - have faith in to save them.  If technological progress has accelerated our overshoot of the Earth's carrying capacity what logic indicates that we will use it in any way different from what SH just pointed out?  There is none obviously.  Carrying capacity is viewed by some fools as the point where all other living things have been sacrificed to the need for resources with which to support the human population.  But this is not how ecosystems function.  We are an integral part of the web of life and we cannot exist without the rest of that complex network of living things.  We will die without them.  And every day we take another step down that road of eliminating another living entity so that we can feed, clothe, and build another part of this civilization.  This ends in catastrophe.  BTW if one defines sustainability by maintaining our population for an equal time into the future comparable to how long we have existed to date you cannot come up with a number much beyond 1 billion.  And at a human population of 1 billion in the past we did tremendous damage - of an unsustainable kind - to the Earth.  I suspect our current knowledge would allow us however to maintain that number today much more carefully than in the past and we could prosper for a very long time.  But we also have to allow the natural systems to recover as much as possible - many of them of course cannot ever recover as they either don't exist any more or they are so damaged that full recovery is not possible.  Human induced climate change is significantly lowering the carrying capacity and as it accelerates this lowering will be very substantial.  It is certain that in another few decades we will be struggling mightily to feed ourselves - EVEN IF WE WERE STILL USING FOSSIL FUELS (Buddy should like those caps:).  But we dare not do that and growing enough food for 10 billion using pre-fossil fuel technologies or even large scale renewables (with their associated non-carbon free costs) is absolutely out of the question.  This is when the collapse happens - when the food runs out. 

So we get back to Public Enemy No 1.  We have irrevocably put ourselves on this road.  We can humanely manage a rapid population reduction.  My favorite approach to accomplishing this is by all of us stopping having babies for about 20 years as this allows the existing population to leverage from existing infrastructure (thus avoiding building another 33% more if we let population grow), while the inevitable carbon emissions caused by human activities drops rapidly due to the shrinking population.  This is not a full solution by any means.  But it avoids the much more severe impacts of holding onto what we have as long as possible as advocated by the green and black bau crowd.  IF we do the above while judicially deploying renewable energy technologies (while they are certainly not completely sustainable they are far better than any other alternative we have) and rebuilding our civilizational structure to be one that does not advocate mass consumption, living rich or any of that other stupid stuff we will land in a far better place - than if we just run the train into the ditch out of stupidity.  This is my foolish hope. That we will be smart about this situation.  I hold it in spite of the overwhelming evidence that humans are utterly stupid and incapable of thinking much beyond where their next meal comes from and how soon they can get laid.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Archimid on September 24, 2016, 02:24:49 PM
A Cinematic Approach to Bacterial Drug Resistance, scientists have built a giant petri dish to visualize how bacteria move as they become immune to drugs.

https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/123197.php (https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/123197.php)



In this video, the limits of growth are directly observed. Bacteria grows rapidly, until it exhausts the growth media in terms of space, nutrients and antibiotic resistance. Then the colony becomes grey and cracked as billions of bacteria die, slow down their metabolism, or become spores. Eventually from cheer dumb luck(as far as I can tell), one in a billion bacterium gets a mutation that allows it to survive the current dose of anti-biotic and the process starts all over again.

The same thing happens at human and planetary scales.  We can not perceive it because we reproduce in a time scale of decades, E. coli duplicates every hour or so, depending on the conditions. Regardless, as we approach whatever the limit of growth in terms of human sustainability is, growth will slow down naturally, just like bacteria. Of course we might perceive it as anything from education and homosexuality to famine and war, but the process is the same. It is a natural process.

The problem is when the carrying capacity is lowered below the levels needed to sustain current populations.  That's exactly what climate change is doing and will do so much more abruptly in the coming years/decades.The carrying capacity of the world will be slashed by climate change, causing a significant and abrupt decrease in population.


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on September 24, 2016, 04:15:39 PM
ASLR
....
My father in law died recently.  He had a very explicit living will on what was allowed to be done to him and what he wanted.  I sat at the kitchen table when he explained it exactly to his wife and children.

When he was dying and no longer capable of expressing opinions his wife overruled everyone and the doctors and insisted on treatment which had no chance of saving him and indeed prolonged his suffering.  This precipitated some serious arguments and confrontations in the family.  My wife went so far as to take his living will and medical directions directly to the doctor who was executing my mother-in-laws directions and pointed out that this is in the hospital files.  He literally said, "Oh my God", when he was forced to read them.  It was like, "You do what you are legally obligated to do.  Or else."  The hospital then figured out ways to work around his wife.  I am certain that this plays out tens of thousands of times a year in the US.  And not getting called on it makes the hospitals a lot of money.
 . . .

Remarkable story.  Not that his living will was disregarded, that happens all the time.  That next-of-kin was ultimately over-ruled in favor of following the living will is very unusual.
As a physician who has been involved in geriatrics and end-of-life care, I can assure you that this is rare.
The only practical way for us to be sure futile extraordinary measures are not done to us is to name a proxy, a "durable power of attorney for health care" that we trust to follow our wishes.  Immediate family members are sometimes the worst choice.  A living will helps for providing guidance to the proxy, but having a trustworthy proxy is crucial.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on October 14, 2016, 09:17:44 AM
Dutch Law Would Allow Assisted Suicide for Healthy Older People
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/world/europe/dutch-law-would-allow-euthanasia-for-healthy-elderly-people.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/world/europe/dutch-law-would-allow-euthanasia-for-healthy-elderly-people.html?_r=0)

Quote
Edith Schippers, the health minister, read a letter to the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday defending the measure. It is needed, she said, to address the needs of “older people who do not have the possibility to continue life in a meaningful way, who are struggling with the loss of independence and reduced mobility, and who have a sense of loneliness, partly because of the loss of loved ones, and who are burdened by general fatigue, deterioration and loss of personal dignity.”

Considering the state of the globe, this is much more ethical than forcing people to stay alive when they clearly don't want to and would rather walk away with dignity (not talking about a depressed teenager, but about old people, often being carried around in wheelchairs for years on end, barely communicating with anyone, that I see around the neighborhood)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Aporia_filia on October 14, 2016, 10:37:22 AM
A very good friend of mine is a psychiatrist and he has told me more than once that when he's asked to look at elderly people probably one of the most recurrent issues for them is wishing to have the chance to kill themselves.
I keep a bullet for myself.
Anyway, the next couple of links could well be in the Existential thread, or in preparing for the anthropocene, but I find very difficult to separate them. Population is enemy nº1 just because of our own nature. So here you have some more thoughts for ruminate.

http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/10/01/495437158/climate-change-and-the-astrobiology-of-the-anthropocene (http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/10/01/495437158/climate-change-and-the-astrobiology-of-the-anthropocene)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201609/murderous-humans-are-not-acting-animals (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201609/murderous-humans-are-not-acting-animals)
 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on February 28, 2017, 08:33:20 AM
"China is considering introducing birth rewards and subsidies to encourage people to have a second child, after surveys showed economic constraints were making many reluctant to expand their families, the state-owned China Daily has reported.
---
China began implementing its controversial one-child policy in the 1970s in order to limit population growth, but authorities are now concerned that the country’s dwindling workforce will not be able to support an increasingly ageing population."

This is bad news, not least because of the size of the Chinese population.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/china-considers-paying-couples-to-have-a-second-child (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/28/china-considers-paying-couples-to-have-a-second-child)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on February 28, 2017, 08:48:57 AM
The Pope intervenes on climate change.
He explicitly rejects the idea of population growth as a strain on global resources. “Demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development,” the pope wrote. “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

Dr. Paul Ehrlich, one of America’s leading biologists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics rejects the need for population control.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on February 28, 2017, 10:18:49 AM
I see the aim for less unsustainable global consumption as reading equally on reducing individual impacts and also reducing population growth gently, as total human consumption = (total human population) x (mean individual consumption), after all, giving the two equal weight. Although consumption by the rich obviously affects mean consumption much more than consumption by the poor, with a very skewed distribution from Trump-like extreme consumers on one end to subsistence farmers on the other.

But I have to emphasise the "gently" in population reduction. At current fertility rates of 2.5 children per woman worldwide, we're only a little way above replacement fertility, with many countries, eg Japan, well below it.  There are still many women with unmet needs for access to contraception, education, employment etc worldwide, however, and addressing these unmet needs is about the best proven thing we can do to ensure people have fewer children later, which in turn should slow down population growth.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on February 28, 2017, 01:15:20 PM
Fertility below replacement rate is what the planet needs.
What I fail to understand is why countries insist so strongly on supporting population. A country with shrinking population can almost stop capital expenditures - building schools, roads, transportation, power stations etc., and even cut a bit on maintenance. Government budgets become much more solid in the short term (at least), and living standards can improve. And to care for the aging population you don't need many little children, you can use young immigrants more suitable and willing for the job.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on February 28, 2017, 03:05:40 PM
Fertility below replacement rate is what the planet needs.
What I fail to understand is why countries insist so strongly on supporting population. A country with shrinking population can almost stop capital expenditures - building schools, roads, transportation, power stations etc., and even cut a bit on maintenance. Government budgets become much more solid in the short term (at least), and living standards can improve. And to care for the aging population you don't need many little children, you can use young immigrants more suitable and willing for the job.

China and Japan do not want immigration. Period
Immigrants get older, get married and have kids and resent being regarded as cheap labour to be thrown away.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: johnm33 on February 28, 2017, 07:19:03 PM
". And to care for the aging population you don't need many little children, you can use young immigrants more suitable and willing for the job."
Most immigrant groups do rather better than the native average over a period of time, so unless the intent is to deport them later, deny their children the right to settle, or have them only allowed in on a contract basis, this would have no impact on population levels on the country in question, it is often the case that immigrant groups have higher birthrates than the natives too.
You could argue that this is just replacing a population, that sees the sense of population reduction with one that doesn't.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on February 28, 2017, 07:24:06 PM
Fertility below replacement rate is what the planet needs.
What I fail to understand is why countries insist so strongly on supporting population. A country with shrinking population can almost stop capital expenditures - building schools, roads, transportation, power stations etc., and even cut a bit on maintenance. Government budgets become much more solid in the short term (at least), and living standards can improve. And to care for the aging population you don't need many little children, you can use young immigrants more suitable and willing for the job.

i make it short, the reason why governments are FOR more children is that the growth forced by the ill fated monetary system (interest on interest is the culprit) can only be maintained (they think but it's won't work) by ever growing number of tax-payers and consumers. in parts they have to think/act that way to avoid close to immediate collapse (which will happen anyway) and in parts they're of a species who is resistent to any kind of "learning form the past" not even speaking about "good advice" by those who know.

further those who know often get either muted in an early stage, fall for the needs (feed the kids for example) and/or are very wise men and women who disconnect from the system to the highest possible extent and consequently to their best to fly under the radar.

this may not be very selfless but then "don't throw pearls in front of the pigs" is another possible standpoint ;)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DannyIce2 on March 03, 2017, 02:11:16 PM
you can't stop polution problem, because there are too many people and they are main cause of this problem. Polution is raising. There are more planes every year, cars( esspecially old one ), facotories. Another think is that government don't care about polution, maybe they just pretending. If you really care about something you will do your best to achieve the goal.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on March 03, 2017, 06:54:13 PM
The Pope intervenes on climate change.
He explicitly rejects the idea of population growth as a strain on global resources. “Demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development,” the pope wrote. “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

Dr. Paul Ehrlich, one of America’s leading biologists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics rejects the need for population control.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist)


I have no idea of the church's present investment strategy, but if the Pope wants to be taken seriously he should at minimum pull out of all ff holdings and invest heavily in renewable. Anything less is a less than honest position.


Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: CognitiveBias on March 03, 2017, 07:28:08 PM
Pope Francis has taken the most progressive stands on a number of issue, but I doubt he directly controls the Vatican's investments.  Having his voice behind AGW is huge.   I would not question his motives nor hold up unrealistic expectations.

Full disclosure...  not a fan of Christian mythology in any form, but still a fan of the new pope.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Red on March 03, 2017, 07:28:32 PM
The Pope intervenes on climate change.
He explicitly rejects the idea of population growth as a strain on global resources. “Demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development,” the pope wrote. “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

Dr. Paul Ehrlich, one of America’s leading biologists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics rejects the need for population control.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist)


I have no idea of the church's present investment strategy, but if the Pope wants to be taken seriously he should at minimum pull out of all ff holdings and invest heavily in renewable. Anything less is a less than honest position.


Terry
Make of this what you may.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2017/02/pope-francis-better-atheist-hypocritical-catholic/ (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2017/02/pope-francis-better-atheist-hypocritical-catholic/)

Cut off your hand, Pluck out your eye, don’t scandalize the little ones.

But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another; it is a double life, a double life. A totally double life: ‘I am very Catholic, I always go to Mass, I belong to this association and that one; but my life is not Christian, I don’t pay my workers a just wage, I exploit people, I am dirty in my business, I launder money…’ A double life. And so many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others. How many times have we heard – all of us, around the neighbourhood and elsewhere – ‘but to be a Catholic like that, it’s better to be an atheist.’ It is that, scandal. You destroy. You beat down. And this happens every day, it’s enough to see the news on TV, or to read the papers. In the papers there are so many scandals, and there is also the great publicity of the scandals. And with the scandals there is destruction.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: anthropocene on March 03, 2017, 09:09:30 PM
I will also keep it short.
Blaming population for climate change is a straw man. It will most probably be the last defence climate action deniers will hide behind. In the future the population will be greater than now and there is (I hope) no way in which a reasonable person would suggest to actively cut global population. Therefore some people blame climate change on population increase knowing full well that population increase doesn't have a quick fix so therefore they will argue climate change cannot be tackled. Even with today's population we produce too much CO2. The solution is not reducing population but removing the coupling of economic growth and production of CO2. End of argument.  Other factors (bringing people out of poverty and education and empowerment of women) will naturally reduce population growth.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on March 03, 2017, 09:48:04 PM
Full disclosure dictates that I announce that I am an both an Atheist and a Pastafarian. That said I don't think it affects my position.


If an organization invests in ff, it has no moral standing WRT global warming.
If excessive population growth adds to the problem, then defending excessive population growth is immoral.


edit)
Send him a case of condoms to distribute to the poor!
 
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: CognitiveBias on March 03, 2017, 09:56:12 PM
+1 for the underrepresented Pastafarian
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: GeoffBeacon on March 03, 2017, 11:00:41 PM
Climate destruction is not a problem of population per se but the affluent population of the world. In  Why the Paris climate deal must put the poorest, lowest emitting and most vulnerable people first (https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/extreme-carbon-inequality), Oxfam shows the richest 10% of the world’s population produce half of Earth’s CO2 emissions and that the average emissions of someone in the poorest 10% of the global population is 60 times less than that of someone in the richest 10%.

Oxfam kindly let me use their following infographic in Green growth or degrowth? (http://www.brusselsblog.co.uk/green-growth-or-degrowth/)  (I hope they don't mind here.)

(https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fbrusselsblog.co.uk%2Fimg%2FOxfam_CO2.jpeg&hash=b69363bb5154bccd44e87787fc9715ea)

We must examine consumption patterns and lifestyles of the rich and their population growth.

TerryM: For the sake of the planet, perhaps we should be restricting the population of the rich, who have high carbon footprints (one child then snip?) rather then distributing condoms to the poor. 

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on March 03, 2017, 11:24:38 PM
I will also keep it short.
Blaming population for climate change is a straw man. It will most probably be the last defence climate action deniers will hide behind. In the future the population will be greater than now and there is (I hope) no way in which a reasonable person would suggest to actively cut global population. Therefore some people blame climate change on population increase knowing full well that population increase doesn't have a quick fix so therefore they will argue climate change cannot be tackled. Even with today's population we produce too much CO2. The solution is not reducing population but removing the coupling of economic growth and production of CO2. End of argument.  Other factors (bringing people out of poverty and education and empowerment of women) will naturally reduce population growth.
The solution is both reducing population by avoiding as many new births as possible, AND reducing CO2 emissions per capita and per economic output. By avoiding new births I don't mean by force as China did, but by enacting economic policies that take into consideration the problems caused by excessive population, climate change being just one of these problems.
So in countries with a high birthrate, provide economic incentives for people to have fewer children, or at least avoid economic incentives for people to have more children. In addition, use education to directly explain why two children are enough and why couples should avoid having five, seven or ten children. And why couples need not hurry having their first child at 18, and can wait to 25 for that. Even if the effect is small, it accumulates to a large difference over time.
Bear in mind that as current human population exceeds the planet's long term carrying capacity, assuming that population will be even higher in the future is an optimistic view. Sadly global population could be reduced by violence, famine, loss of habitat and other catastrophes at some point in the next few decades. And unfortunately poor countries will probably fare worse even though they are less to blame.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: anthropocene on March 04, 2017, 09:03:34 AM
Many thanks for that graphic Geoff Beacon. That shows the point beautifully. The title and question of the thread was "Population - climate change public enemy No.1?".  By the graph the answer is a resounding NO!. Next discussion topic.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on March 04, 2017, 10:20:13 AM
The graph is labelled "Lifestyle Consumption Emissions", which presumably excludes emissions required to maintain existence (and what else ?)
Yes, obviously the rich are totally amoral in their squandering of scarce resources.
But the current economic system needs to pull all the population up the consumpton ladder. Without continuous world economic growth the system dies.

On a planet with finite and already over-stretched resources the end result is obvious. When remains problematical.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: GeoffBeacon on March 04, 2017, 03:05:07 PM
gerontocrat

Quote
Without continuous world economic growth the system dies.

What 'system' is that?

Quote
Lifestyle Consumption Emissions

I though  that meant "Consumption Emissions by Lifestyle". I will look into this - but don't hold your breath. However, the Global Carbon Project gives emissions of CO2 on a per capita basis as

CountryCO2
USA16.8  tonnes
China7.5  tonnes
Eur287.0  tonnes
Eur287.0  tonnes
World4.9  tonnes
India1.7  tonnes

Within each country the rich will be creating more pollution than the poor so the rich in the USA will be creating well over 3 times the world average of CO2 emissions and lots (and lots and lots) more than the poor in India and Nigeria.


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on March 04, 2017, 08:27:56 PM
First post from new commenter (welcome, DannyIce2, your profile has been released):

you can't stop polution problem, because there are too many people and they are main cause of this problem. Polution is raising. There are more planes every year, cars( esspecially old one ), facotories. Another think is that government don't care about polution, maybe they just pretending. If you really care about something you will do your best to achieve the goal.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tor Bejnar on March 04, 2017, 08:33:45 PM
Pope Urges Families to Have Fewer Kids to Make World More Sustainable  (http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/03/04/pope-francis-fewer-children-world-sustainable-vatican-workshop)
I thought some of you would like to know at least what he is preaching.  (And, hey, I expect he hasn't fathered any children, either!  See, we should all be priests.)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on March 04, 2017, 09:37:27 PM
Full disclosure...  not a fan of Christian mythology in any form, but still a fan of the new pope.
+1
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: budmantis on March 05, 2017, 06:58:38 AM
Pope Urges Families to Have Fewer Kids to Make World More Sustainable  (http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/03/04/pope-francis-fewer-children-world-sustainable-vatican-workshop)
I thought some of you would like to know at least what he is preaching.  (And, hey, I expect he hasn't fathered any children, either!  See, we should all be priests.)

Being brought up Roman Catholic that is a major concession from the Pope. Probably the most realistic leader of the Church since John the 23rd. I am an atheist now, but I have a lot of respect for this pope.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on March 05, 2017, 07:15:40 AM
I am not a Roman Catholic, but i was schooled by Roman Catholic missionaries, and I attended a Jesuit college. The pope has quite a formidable intellect and sharpened by Jesuitical training. A very good interview with  La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal, may be found (in english translation) at

http://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2013/09/30/big-heart-open-god-interview-pope-francis (http://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2013/09/30/big-heart-open-god-interview-pope-francis)

"Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?"

" ... I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner."

I highly recommend it together with his encyclical Laudato Si. In fact just go to www.va (http://www.va) and read everything the guy writes.

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on March 05, 2017, 03:31:41 PM
Two enemies: overpopulation and overconsumption. The latter is seen in higher footprints for the global middle class.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on March 15, 2017, 08:43:32 PM
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on March 15, 2017, 09:58:34 PM
Two enemies: overpopulation and overconsumption. The latter is seen in higher footprints for the global middle class.

not saying it's not correct but still, without too many consumers consumption would not be an issue, hence ultimately it's down to overpopulation which is a known fact for many decades, just that everyone has to grow in every aspect, including population, to fill the voids from the current exploiting generation.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on March 15, 2017, 11:51:18 PM
Not really.

About 20% of the population do about 80% of the consumption. So you could get rid of (hypothetically) 80% of the population and not make much of a dent in consumption/pollution.

And it is of course entirely possible for an even smaller number of people to consume at even higher rates.

So ultimately it's down to consumption  :)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on March 16, 2017, 12:21:08 AM
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger)
This article is so depressing. Such a poor country with such a high birth rate and such a culture. Totally hopeless.The only questions remaining are when will Niger collapse, and in what manner (Widespread famine? Civil war? Attacking neighbouring countries? A fundamentalist revolution? All of the above?)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on March 16, 2017, 01:13:14 AM
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger)
This article is so depressing. Such a poor country with such a high birth rate and such a culture. Totally hopeless.The only questions remaining are when will Niger collapse, and in what manner (Widespread famine? Civil war? Attacking neighbouring countries? A fundamentalist revolution? All of the above?)

I don't know of any woman that wants to have many many kids. It does awful thinks to their body. It is usually due to religion or coercion (husbands).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on March 16, 2017, 01:33:51 AM
Not really.

About 20% of the population do about 80% of the consumption. So you could get rid of (hypothetically) 80% of the population and not make much of a dent in consumption/pollution.

And it is of course entirely possible for an even smaller number of people to consume at even higher rates.

So ultimately it's down to consumption  :)

one can see it like that while the 80% with the much smaller consumption pollute the globe much more. just visit any african big city like i.e. "LAGOS" and compare the air and water quality with that of a 10 times greater city of the first world and you'll see that i.e. tokyo or any other huge city, including the needed heating, pollutes less than a much smaller third world city. it's not that simple and then the most damaging consumption is "FOOD" especially meet and those 80% eat not much less, except certain regions of course.

however i see what you're heading at and it would take huge resources and numbers of studies to narrow this down, it's just not as simple as your statement sounded to my understanding while at the end we agree, both
factors count a lot and it's probably useless to know exactly which more, hence i'm with you in general :-)

thanks
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on March 16, 2017, 04:24:55 AM
" ...  the 80% with the much smaller consumption pollute the globe much more ... "

The pollution that 80% of the world poor generate is at the behest of an economic system that has exported pollution generation to poor areas from those better off.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on March 16, 2017, 11:19:59 AM
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger)
This article is so depressing. Such a poor country with such a high birth rate and such a culture. Totally hopeless.The only questions remaining are when will Niger collapse, and in what manner (Widespread famine? Civil war? Attacking neighbouring countries? A fundamentalist revolution? All of the above?)

I don't know of any woman that wants to have many many kids. It does awful thinks to their body. It is usually due to religion or version (husbands).

And there are still pro-life evangelical and catholic missionaries in Africa still preaching that contraception is a sin against God to a deeply religious people.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on March 16, 2017, 10:20:57 PM
" ...  the 80% with the much smaller consumption pollute the globe much more ... "

The pollution that 80% of the world poor generate is at the behest of an economic system that has exported pollution generation to poor areas from those better off.

true but that was not the question, nevertheless it's a fact worth (needed) to be mentioned on each opportunity.

thanks
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on March 17, 2017, 07:31:37 PM
Quote from: magnamentis link=topic=473.msg106460#msg106460

not saying it's not correct but still, without too many consumers consumption would not be an issue, hence ultimately it's down to overpopulation which is a known fact for many decades, just that everyone has to grow in every aspect, including population, to fill the voids from the current exploiting generation.

I have the same response as Wili. I'd also like to mention ecological footprint among the global middle class.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on March 17, 2017, 07:35:17 PM
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger)
This article is so depressing. Such a poor country with such a high birth rate and such a culture. Totally hopeless.The only questions remaining are when will Niger collapse, and in what manner (Widespread famine? Civil war? Attacking neighbouring countries? A fundamentalist revolution? All of the above?)

Higher birth rates may be connected to poverty, and the opposite to greater prosperity. The catch is that prosperity may also lead to higher ecological footprint, which in turn negates any benefit from lower birth rates.

Hence, we have countries like the U.S. which has less than 5 pct of the world's population but has to consume around 20 pct of global oil production to support a middle class lifestyle.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on March 17, 2017, 07:42:39 PM
Quote from: magnamentis link=topic=473.msg106487#msg106487

one can see it like that while the 80% with the much smaller consumption pollute the globe much more. just visit any african big city like i.e. "LAGOS" and compare the air and water quality with that of a 10 times greater city of the first world and you'll see that i.e. tokyo or any other huge city, including the needed heating, pollutes less than a much smaller third world city. it's not that simple and then the most damaging consumption is "FOOD" especially meet and those 80% eat not much less, except certain regions of course.

however i see what you're heading at and it would take huge resources and numbers of studies to narrow this down, it's just not as simple as your statement sounded to my understanding while at the end we agree, both
factors count a lot and it's probably useless to know exactly which more, hence i'm with you in general :-)

thanks

From what I know, rich countries have high ecological footprints per capita. Meanwhile, pollution is "outsourced" to poor countries where environmental protection is skirted to keep costs low.

Thus, people in industrialized countries see that their cities are nice and clean, but various products that they use together with some services are manufactured or involve labor in poor countries where pollution levels are higher.

On top of that, they rely on the same poor countries to become richer because their own jobs and investments are dependent on expanding global consumer markets.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on March 17, 2017, 07:47:16 PM

And there are still pro-life evangelical and catholic missionaries in Africa still preaching that contraception is a sin against God to a deeply religious people.

From what I remember, several countries that have high birth rates are not predominantly Christian. Most of them, though, are poor.

Given that, it is possible that poverty is one of the main drivers of higher birth rates. That is, with a lack of financial security coupled with weak education, poor people tend to have more children.

The opposite, though, leads to lower birth rates, which explains what has been taking place in various rich countries.

The catch, though, is that greater prosperity may also mean higher resource and energy use.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on March 17, 2017, 11:14:40 PM
Don't forget the other side, high birth rates tend to lead to poverty.
And in general, the way I look at it, of course high consumption and high population both contribute to the problem. But high consumption can be changed much quicker than demographics. Half of Niger's population is less than 15 years old. It will take 60-70 years to change the trend and lower population. In the US, theoretically the crazy consumption/ecological footprint can be lowered in 10-20 years.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on March 17, 2017, 11:56:42 PM
Quote from: magnamentis link=topic=473.msg106460#msg106460

not saying it's not correct but still, without too many consumers consumption would not be an issue, hence ultimately it's down to overpopulation which is a known fact for many decades, just that everyone has to grow in every aspect, including population, to fill the voids from the current exploiting generation.

I have the same response as Wili. I'd also like to mention ecological footprint among the global middle class.

and the same reply, the greatest ecological footprint is produced by food, especially meat production. most people think about cars and other tech. while it's true, the impact of tech is huge (adds significantly) to the footprint but nothing like food especially meat and then food that is eaten cannot be recycled LOL. further read the rest of my previous reply. 1 careless guy in an underdeveloped place can have the greater environmental impact than a caring and responsible user of technology and gadgets. again this is not meant as a now but, just mentioning that things are not so black and white as they seem on first glance.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: be cause on March 18, 2017, 12:09:49 AM
Magnamentis .. All the food I eat is recycled .. composted it becomes nutrients for food production . Human waste is a badly managed precious resource . This too needs to change for humanity to progress .
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on March 18, 2017, 04:49:04 PM
Magnamentis .. All the food I eat is recycled .. composted it becomes nutrients for food production . Human waste is a badly managed precious resource . This too needs to change for humanity to progress .

yeah but you don't eat that product. for me recycling was meant (in the context of the post) that from plastic waste one gets new plastic and from iron wast one gets new iron products while food has to be grown and produced 100% newly as far as the footprint is concerned. the topic was about the footprint and not about the term "recycling" and its various iterations.

beside that you're right of course LOL and do thought crossed my mind while writing the post, just that in that context i thought it's ok to call it non-recyling :-)

i know that the old greek townfathers when they met to make decisions they were 7 hours seeking agreement on terms and once they got that they made their decsions within the hour.

enjoy the weekend and thanks for the input.

cheers
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 18, 2017, 05:41:36 PM
From deep Africa, where population growth is exponential, given that women marry at very young age and give birth to very many children:
"Having lots of children is the norm because they bring wealth (“they come with two hands to work but only one mouth to feed”). So why have four when you could have seven?"

According to the article, women don't want to use contraceptives, even when they are readily available, because they like to have many children.

The article illustrates why population growth is sure to continue for many decades to come.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/mar/15/why-have-four-children-when-you-could-have-seven-contraception-niger)
This article is so depressing. Such a poor country with such a high birth rate and such a culture. Totally hopeless.The only questions remaining are when will Niger collapse, and in what manner (Widespread famine? Civil war? Attacking neighbouring countries? A fundamentalist revolution? All of the above?)

I don't know of any woman that wants to have many many kids. It does awful thinks to their body. It is usually due to religion or coercion (husbands).

One reason for having many children is they are another set of hands to work the fields, to carry water, etc.  More children in that sense means more wealth; and given that infant moratlity rate is high, each additional child is a kind of "insurance."  If acquiring food and water were made less labor-intensive, fewer people per family would be required for survival.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on March 19, 2017, 09:50:26 AM
Quote from: magnamentis link=topic=473.msg106718#msg106718

and the same reply, the greatest ecological footprint is produced by food, especially meat production. most people think about cars and other tech. while it's true, the impact of tech is huge (adds significantly) to the footprint but nothing like food especially meat and then food that is eaten cannot be recycled LOL. further read the rest of my previous reply. 1 careless guy in an underdeveloped place can have the greater environmental impact than a caring and responsible user of technology and gadgets. again this is not meant as a now but, just mentioning that things are not so black and white as they seem on first glance.

There is a reason why ecological footprint per capita is many times higher in richer countries than in poorer ones, and it's not because people in the former eat a lot more food.

For example, one of the components of footprint is oil, and countries like the U.S. consume up to 20 pct of world oil production even if they have less than 5 pct of the world's population. One of the reasons is that they have over 250 million passenger vehicles, or one vehicle for each adult. Similar phenomena can be seen in products ranging from smart phones to clothes.

What makes matters worse is that that consumer spending society is made possible through incredible increases in credit, part of which is invested in various countries in order to access cheap labor and various resources as well as to expand consumer markets for businesses that need to grow more gadgets, etc. Hence,

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-22956470 (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-22956470)

What this situation means is that if only 25 pct of the world's population live like citizens of countries like the U.S., Australia, and Canada, we would need more than one earth. If most people worldwide wanted the same, we'd need several earths.

And since all of that is based on a global capitalist system and competition, then businesses have to keep selling more goods and services each time to expanding markets. That means your "caring and responsible user of technology and gadgets" will not only need cheap labor and resources overseas to make his gadgets, he will need the same workers to earn (and borrow) more so that they too can buy the same gadgets. Why? Because his increase in wages, promotion, benefits, and higher returns on investment are dependent on increased sales of the same gadgets and more.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 30, 2017, 03:49:24 AM
A New Kind of Male Birth Control Is Coming
Quote
Doctors are on the cusp of launching the first new male contraceptive in more than a century. But rather than a Big Pharma lab, the breakthrough is emerging from a university startup in the heart of rural India.
...
For Sujoy Guha, the 76-year-old biomedical engineer who invented the product, the challenge is to now find a company who wants to sell it—even though male contraception is an area Big Pharma has so far shown little interest in.

“The fact that the big companies are run by white, middle-aged males who have the same feeling—that they would never do it—plays a major role,” said Herjan Coelingh Bennink, a gynecology professor who helped develop the contraceptives Implanon and Cerazette as head of research and development in women’s health for Organon International from 1987 to 2000. “If those companies were run by women, it would be totally different.”
...
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-29/a-new-kind-of-male-birth-control-is-coming (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-29/a-new-kind-of-male-birth-control-is-coming)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Forest Dweller on June 19, 2017, 03:42:06 PM
IMHO calling population numbers the nr. 1 cause of all those nasty problems on Earth, climate, pollution and so on is a mistake.
Clearly these population numbers exploded along with the other problems as a result of industrialization, look up the graph, it is easy to see.
Do non-industrial folks overpopulate, pollute, destroy biodiversity and so on like we do?
No they usually don't, people on a shitty little island such as North Sentinel have a 60,000 year track record and the place still looks like paradise...60,000 years, let that sink in compared to our industrial society.
"Anthropocene Global Warming" is a faulty name as well for this reason.
Should be Industrial Global Warming....
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on June 20, 2017, 04:34:56 PM
Tomorrow, the UN will release the updated World Population Prospects. The last figures are from 2015 and show that we're heading to 9.7 billion people 2050, and 11.2 billion 2100, (from todays 7.5 billion).
Fertility is declining in fast-growing Africa.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on June 20, 2017, 04:36:18 PM
Fascinating figure.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on June 21, 2017, 06:31:52 PM
So, the 2017 revision of population forecasts are released:
"According to the results of the 2017 Revision, the world’s population numbered nearly 7.6 billion as of mid-2017 (table 1), implying that the world has added approximately one billion inhabitants over the last twelve years."

New estimates are that we're heading
to 8.5 billion people 2030,  i.e. one more billion in the next 12.5 years
to 9.8 billion people 2050,
to 11.2 billion 2100

Pretty stable estimates, figures were more or less the same in the previous report.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on June 21, 2017, 06:47:40 PM
This graph shows that population growth is to a large extent an African issue.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Csnavywx on June 21, 2017, 07:47:26 PM
The good news is we've hit "peak child". The bad news is that because that number is around 2B, demographic inertia and life expectancy increases alone is enough to carry us to 9.5B even with a big forecast bust in Africa. If it's not a bust, we're looking at 11B.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on June 21, 2017, 09:30:19 PM
This graph shows that population growth is to a large extent an African issue.
Africa will never get to 4.5 billion by 2100 as forecast, more than tripling current population, given its current problems and in the face of ongoing climate change and resource depletion. I can hardly see it get to 3 billion before things go horribly wrong. I shudder to think of how it goes wrong. But go wrong it will.
In my humble opiniom of course.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on June 22, 2017, 12:33:36 AM
IMHO calling population numbers the nr. 1 cause of all those nasty problems on Earth, climate, pollution and so on is a mistake.
Clearly these population numbers exploded along with the other problems as a result of industrialization, look up the graph, it is easy to see.
Do non-industrial folks overpopulate, pollute, destroy biodiversity and so on like we do?
No they usually don't, people on a shitty little island such as North Sentinel have a 60,000 year track record and the place still looks like paradise...60,000 years, let that sink in compared to our industrial society.
"Anthropocene Global Warming" is a faulty name as well for this reason.
Should be Industrial Global Warming....

On the contrary, I think overpopulation is clearly the major problem, not industrialization.  If we had a population of 1 billion people on the earth instead of 7.4 billion (with same socioeconomic distribution), we'd need 1/7th as much land used for agricultural production, and the same reduction in land use for  roads, cities, and suburban sprawl.

Beyond this, modern technologic industrialization tends to use resources more efficiently.  Transportation is more efficient, manufacturing is more efficient, and per-acre yields in agriculture are higher. 

On a per-capita basis, technological advances are part of the solution, in general.  The whole problem is too many of those capita.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on June 22, 2017, 01:26:46 AM
On the contrary, I think overpopulation is clearly the major problem, not industrialization.  If we had a population of 1 billion people on the earth instead of 7.4 billion (with same socioeconomic distribution), we'd need 1/7th as much land used for agricultural production, and the same reduction in land use for  roads, cities, and suburban sprawl.

Beyond this, modern technologic industrialization tends to use resources more efficiently.  Transportation is more efficient, manufacturing is more efficient, and per-acre yields in agriculture are higher. 

On a per-capita basis, technological advances are part of the solution, in general.  The whole problem is too many of those capita.

On the other hand, if all of our current 7.5 billion people work working with good intent towards a solution then we would be in very good shape.  However, what our current reality is: "If 'you' are not part of the solution then 'you' are part of the problem".
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DoomInTheUK on June 22, 2017, 09:34:30 AM
It's also an aspirational problem. We probably couldn't support 1Bn people trying to live a Western lifestyle. If we're all happy to live like rural Africans or Indians then maybe 3 or 4Bn.

Sadly, I think we'll find out how this start to pan out within the next 15 years.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on June 22, 2017, 02:28:32 PM
It was industrialization, drawing on the energy stored for billions of years, which allowed for the explosive population growth from the 1800's on. This argument about which is the root cause is pointless. The simple fact is we have exploded past a sustainable population and we have been able to do this by consuming vast quantities of stored energy in the form of fossil fuels. This fuel consumption is at the very heart of the industrialization of our food production system which supports this population. (fertilizers, pesticides, deep aquifer pumping, capital equipment to produce, transport and process the foodstuffs etc.)

It is going to get ugly. The focus over the next 100 years will consist of desperate efforts to save your life. Take care that, in the effort, you don't lose your soul.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on June 22, 2017, 06:26:13 PM
IMHO calling population numbers the nr. 1 cause of all those nasty problems on Earth, climate, pollution and so on is a mistake.
Clearly these population numbers exploded along with the other problems as a result of industrialization, look up the graph, it is easy to see.
Do non-industrial folks overpopulate, pollute, destroy biodiversity and so on like we do?
No they usually don't, people on a shitty little island such as North Sentinel have a 60,000 year track record and the place still looks like paradise...60,000 years, let that sink in compared to our industrial society.
"Anthropocene Global Warming" is a faulty name as well for this reason.
Should be Industrial Global Warming....

On the contrary, I think overpopulation is clearly the major problem, not industrialization.  If we had a population of 1 billion people on the earth instead of 7.4 billion (with same socioeconomic distribution), we'd need 1/7th as much land used for agricultural production, and the same reduction in land use for  roads, cities, and suburban sprawl.

Beyond this, modern technologic industrialization tends to use resources more efficiently.  Transportation is more efficient, manufacturing is more efficient, and per-acre yields in agriculture are higher. 

On a per-capita basis, technological advances are part of the solution, in general.  The whole problem is too many of those capita.

 i totally agree with you! reason why most people refuse to accept that fact is that:

a) it would mean a reduction of population is needed, doable only by very nasty means, be it wars, and other catastrophes or be it by political decisions with the remaining question, who is to decide that without being a dictator and who will be the ones who would face strong restrictions in freedom of life.

b) related to a) until now no-one came up with a really good idea how to achieve that goal or in other words, even though ideas might be good, does not mean that the big mass of population would accept it and/or comply with.

so the question remains, is it worth to find a culprit without solution in sight, i say yes, because only by knowing the root problem solutions can be found (developed) that consider the root problem.

others say no because the do not believe that such a solution could exist, those of course are the same kind of people who thought that a 600000 ton machine could never fly and that locomotives directed by the devil directly from hell LOL
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on June 23, 2017, 04:00:50 AM
The whole thread is, of course, mostly bs.

Something like 20% of the population use something like 80% of the resources.

So the thread should be called "Over-Consumption: Public Enemy No. 1"

or some such.

But most of us here on this forum are (from a global perspective) relatively well off, white, first world men; and most of us imagine that most of the population problem is caused by poor, non-white, third world women.

How very, very convenient to conclude (falsely and insidiously) that the real problem isn't the over consumption of the most privileged, but the sexual activities of those that are the most different from ourselves as can be.

It must make all of you ... sleep well at night to have such a racist sexist wet dream.

Sleep well...

(Various expletives deleted for the purpose of decorum  :D ;) :o :P )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7awW5nrDHk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7awW5nrDHk)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on June 23, 2017, 09:11:59 AM
Actually, I dreamt of a middle-aged white man last night, a Frenchman called Bertrand Roux who had lost his wife several years ago and had come to Amsterdam to help me with my Arctic analysis. We were watching the Worldview satellite images, and flipping one day to the next there was a huge part of the ice pack that disappeared. And I said: Holy crap, this could mean the Arctic goes ice-free this year! Maybe I should report on this now. Bertrand agreed.

But on-topic: I also think that population is public enemy number three, after the system in general (where there is no limit on personal wealth) and over-consumption.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on June 23, 2017, 09:21:47 AM
But on-topic: I also think that population is public enemy number three, after the system in general (where there is no limit on personal wealth) and over-consumption.

Pretty fair.  My ranking would be:
1) Consuming too much (wrong quantity)
2) Consuming the wrong stuff (wrong quality)
3) Overpopulation
4) Denial of the problem
5) Lack of preparedness for the coming changes

We generally need to address all of the above, imho.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: silkman on June 23, 2017, 09:41:25 AM
I have to disagree.

It's not necessarily the carbon footprint of burgeoning populations, especially in Africa, that is the issue. It's the impact of their perfectly legitimate aspirations, driven by smart phone technology, to share in the wealth of the old European elite.

Without addressing the problem of economic migration the world faces a very uncertain future and the threat of Climate Change will be lost in the ensuing chaos.

Both Trump and Brexit exemplify the problem, offering temporary xenophobic "solutions" that will only exacerbate the issue.

It's not a surprise therefore that the resolve of two of the nations that should be leading the way in the Climate Change debate now have other more important problems to deal with - fundamentally driven by global population growth.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: be cause on June 23, 2017, 10:52:14 AM
my simple solution for those who believe in overpopulation has always been the same .. suicide
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on June 23, 2017, 03:53:23 PM
my simple solution for those who believe in overpopulation has always been the same .. suicide

There's no call to joke about suicide.  Nor is there any call to be needlessly hostile to those whose concerns don't entirely mirror your own.

If anyone's reading this who's considering suicide, I'd like to suggest calling your local crisis number:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on June 23, 2017, 09:20:34 PM
Sorry if I came off grouchy above.

I like where Neven and Paddy are going, though.

We really can't know for certain what the 'aspirations' of Africans and others are or are going to be. Especially as it becomes ever more apparent to all what a fundamentally wrong direction FF-based industrialism and consumerism ended up to be.

Africa has the largest chance of relatively large populations growth rates, but also probably the largest chance of horrific, nearly unstoppable dread disease outbreaks, as we've seen recently, sadly.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on June 23, 2017, 10:01:35 PM
Actually, I dreamt of a middle-aged white man last night, a Frenchman called Bertrand Roux who had lost his wife several years ago and had come to Amsterdam to help me with my Arctic analysis. We were watching the Worldview satellite images, and flipping one day to the next there was a huge part of the ice pack that disappeared. And I said: Holy crap, this could mean the Arctic goes ice-free this year! Maybe I should report on this now. Bertrand agreed.

But on-topic: I also think that population is public enemy number three, after the system in general (where there is no limit on personal wealth) and over-consumption.

i know what you're saying and somehow i share your views but please consider one IMO key point.

without too many people all those factors wouldn't have the damaging impact, after all it's the number of people exploiting the planet ( by the means you mentioned and more ) that counts 1 guy living like donald has no effect, hence between one guy without impact and enough people which have that huge an impact that we are facing now must be some kind of threshold (critical number) and this number is "number of consumers, and sh...tters, it's not only consumption that contrubute to co2, it's body functions and nutrition, agriculture and many many things that all together make the whole.

as i said and i think you know by now, one of the biggest screws we should start to adjust ASAP and which we could if we really wanted, is the one with borderless wealth. there i fully agree, only that the above mentioned relation is not deniable, at least not seriously and calling this BS is way off and i have to hold myself not to reply appropriately. LOL

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on June 24, 2017, 12:13:01 AM

a) it would mean a reduction of population is needed, doable only by very nasty means, be it wars, and other catastrophes or be it by political decisions with the remaining question, who is to decide that without being a dictator and who will be the ones who would face strong restrictions in freedom of life.

Not necessarily, it all depends on how fast you want the population to go down.  Consider that quite a few nations, spanning vast stretches of the globe, already have a fertility rate below maintenance.  And only in China was that achieved by draconian means.

Everywhere else, it's achieved by educating and empowering women, making contraception available to them, and instituting a system for care of the aged, so that children don't have to be produced to care for aged parents.  This doesn't always require a high level of per-capita GDP.

Those who point the finger of blame at industrialization perhaps fail to recognize the mechanisms by which industrialization has allowed an expansion of global population.  Industrialization doesn't raise birth rates, it lowers them.  It provides better access to safe drinking water, reliable food security, basic sanitation, and essential public health, such as vaccinations.

To say that industrialization is the problem because it allows population overgrowth, is to say that people shouldn't have access to food, water, and basic health care.  It's saying that more children should die in infancy, essentially. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on June 24, 2017, 01:08:26 AM
What Steve said.

There is one piece of sadder news in the mix, though - progress on access to education worldwide has stalled: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jun/21/drive-to-get-children-back-to-school-failing-worldwide-un-figures-education (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jun/21/drive-to-get-children-back-to-school-failing-worldwide-un-figures-education)

This is particularly bad news for the final countries yet to go through the demographic transition.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bruce Steele on June 24, 2017, 01:22:50 AM
Wili, Could you please source your 20% of population using 80% of resources ?
Just looking at numbers
7.5 billion people.    36 billion tons CO2
With a 80/20 split you get
1.5 billion people emitting  28.9 billion tons CO2
6.0 Billion people  emitting  7.1 billion tons  CO2

So six billion people are getting by with only 1.2 tons of CO2 each ?  Damn hard to believe.
At any rate we gluttons need some lessons in frugality.  If anyone on this site thinks they are getting by on 1.2 tons of CO2 per year I'd be very interested in your story. My friend OrganicSU is probably closer than anyone else who posts here . He is someone I admire for his commitment .
 If we are putting the health benefits of modern society into the balance we should also admit our diets and resulting obesity, death by car, and drug problems balance the scale that modern medicine provides.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on June 24, 2017, 01:25:57 AM
"...1 guy living like donald has no effect..."

What a bizarre thing to say.

Impact/footprint pretty much correlates with wealth/income.

That an infinitesimally small percentage of the world's population has more money than the poorest 50% pretty much means that those wealthiest individuals are causing the same level of harm as that poorest half. Just because you can't imagine that one life (or relatively few lives) can do that much harm does not mean it isn't in fact the case.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on June 24, 2017, 01:35:49 AM
Probably at the time I was thinking of the famous Pareto Principle:

https://www.google.com/search?q=pareto+principle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 (https://www.google.com/search?q=pareto+principle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8)

But according to the World Bank, over 70% of the world's population is poor or low income.

Poor means living on less than $2 a day. Hard to burn much FF on that.

Low income means $2 - $10/day, probably most toward the lower end of that. Again, not much FF burning going on there. Most of the world's poor spend half or more of their income on food, which is often grown locally and is mostly plant based (because...cheap).

http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/global-population-by-income/ (http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/global-population-by-income/)

Further:

1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined)

It is quite probable that nearly everyone on this forum is in that top 1%.

If You Make More Than $35K US You Are In The Global 1% Of Income Earners

https://www.diygenius.com/the-global-inequality-problem/ (https://www.diygenius.com/the-global-inequality-problem/)

(Sorry for the big font, but people don't seem to know these important facts about the mal-distribution of wealth)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on June 30, 2017, 11:15:18 PM
Probably at the time I was thinking of the famous Pareto Principle:

https://www.google.com/search?q=pareto+principle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 (https://www.google.com/search?q=pareto+principle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8)

But according to the World Bank, over 70% of the world's population is poor or low income.

Poor means living on less than $2 a day. Hard to burn much FF on that.

Low income means $2 - $10/day, probably most toward the lower end of that. Again, not much FF burning going on there. Most of the world's poor spend half or more of their income on food, which is often grown locally and is mostly plant based (because...cheap).

http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/global-population-by-income/ (http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/global-population-by-income/)

Further:

1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined)

It is quite probable that nearly everyone on this forum is in that top 1%.

If You Make More Than $35K US You Are In The Global 1% Of Income Earners

https://www.diygenius.com/the-global-inequality-problem/ (https://www.diygenius.com/the-global-inequality-problem/)

(Sorry for the big font, but people don't seem to know these important facts about the mal-distribution of wealth)

and what in your opinion does the distribution exactly tell about global warming and what would the exact relation to overpopulation be?

if one states that the more people live on this planet the more trouble arise, often based on needs but as often based on envy and many other difficult conditons depending on region and political system, that makes somehow sense.

an one point should never be forgotten, a poor man who eats 3-4000kcal per day in cheap food and a rich man who eats the same (often less) kcal in hyper expensive food does not change the impact on the ecology a lot to the negative IMO (there is a difference i know)

so if 7 billion or 8 billion people have to be fed makes a huge difference and has probably the greater impact in the long run (water and food supply )

as well the body waste including methane and everything is not less form a poor mans bean meal than from a rich mans caviar toast.

now some whould say that meat production takes up much more resources than beans, corn or wheat. true that but i think one greater errors is that people in poor countries eat significantly less meat.

a few decades back when i was roaming the streets in several african countries there was more meat made on fire in the street than soups or vegetables.

of course there is much more to this and the subject fills entire libraries, hence cannot be discussed to the end here, just basics and getting perhaps a bit of new input to consider.

thanks for your contribution, it was known here but still never a bad things to be pointed out ;)


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on June 30, 2017, 11:34:36 PM
The richest 10% (700 million) produce half the world's GHG emissions. Just that expensive food for the rich emits massively more GHG's in the process of growing, processing, transportation, and storage (like those organic grapes in the local whole foods store in Toronto in the middle of winter). No comparison to the world's poor, the bottom 50% (3.5 billion) produce just 10% of emissions. These figures ignore historical emissions, which would probably be even more skewed.

Its that 10% that need to work out how to live with much, much, lower GHG emissions, then share that knowledge with the rest that aspire to their levels of wealth. If anyone should be slashing birth rates perhaps it should be the rich? I havn't seen numbers for within the 10%, but its probably highly skewed to the 1% and .1%. What's the carbon footprint of the Trump family?

As Kevin Anderson notes, the rich include the policy makers and climate scientists that keep flying to conferences. Also, the rich hollywood types that make movies about climate change, like DiCaprio.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2016/03/01/leonardo-dicaprios-carbon-footprint-is-much-higher-than-he-thinks/#4926df912bd5 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2016/03/01/leonardo-dicaprios-carbon-footprint-is-much-higher-than-he-thinks/#4926df912bd5)

(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/12/2/1449046370471/4d8525a5-be37-4d04-a275-ccdbd30c98b7-620x431.jpeg?w=620&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=239026531dde5046f419864f8e7875e0)

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on June 30, 2017, 11:57:27 PM
The richest 10% (700 million) produce half the world's GHG emissions. Just that expensive food for the rich emits massively more GHG's in the process of growing, processing, transportation, and storage (like those organic grapes in the local whole foods store in Toronto in the middle of winter). No comparison to the world's poor, the bottom 50% (3.5 billion) produce just 10% of emissions. These figures ignore historical emissions, which would probably be even more skewed.

Its that 10% that need to work out how to live with much, much, lower GHG emissions, then share that knowledge with the rest that aspire to their levels of wealth. If anyone should be slashing birth rates perhaps it should be the rich? I havn't seen numbers for within the 10%, but its probably highly skewed to the 1% and .1%. What's the carbon footprint of the Trump family?

As Kevin Anderson notes, the rich include the policy makers and climate scientists that keep flying to conferences. Also, the rich hollywood types that makes movies about climate change.

(https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/12/2/1449046370471/4d8525a5-be37-4d04-a275-ccdbd30c98b7-620x431.jpeg?w=620&q=20&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&dpr=2&s=239026531dde5046f419864f8e7875e0)

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam)
As I take these numbers with some skepticism, I looked up the report itself. It has this to say on the methodology:
Quote
A technical summary of the methodology behind the estimates presented in this briefing is available at http://oxf.am/Ze4e. (http://oxf.am/Ze4e.) The approach adopted assumes an elastic relationship between income and emissions. Put simply, it takes data on income shares of different percentiles at the national level and distributes aggregate national emissions to those percentiles.
It draws on two datasets: national income distribution data from analysis by Branko Milanovic based on household surveys for 118 countries in the benchmark year 2008; and estimates of CO2 emissions associated with household consumption (which we here term ‘lifestyle consumption
emissions’) from Glen Peters based on a Multi-Regional Input-Output (MRIO) trade model, covering 121 countries, for the year 2007.
Critically, the CO2 model represents emissions from consumption rather than production. The underlying trade model allocates emissions associated with goods/services to the territory in which consumption takes place rather than the country in which the production occurs. This gives a more realistic picture of the actual emissions of citizens of different levels of income within a country. Emissions associated with consumption by governments, capital and international transport are therefore excluded. The proportion of total consumption emissions attributed to the lifestyle consumption of individuals varies by country, but globally accounts for around 64% of the total.
Oxfam’s estimates should only be considered indicative of the orders of magnitude, but also as conservative, for two reasons. Firstly a significant number of mostly low-income countries are missing from the datasets; if they were included it would lower the average per capita emissions of the bottom 50% poorest people, and lower the share of the global total
attributed to the bottom 50%. Secondly, we have assumed a nationally determined threshold of minimum emissions, raising the lower end of the distributions that may otherwise produce emissions values lower than might be considered plausible. See the technical note for a description of the approach taken and rationale.
Clearly there will have been some changes to the income and associated emissions distributions since the benchmark year for the data of 2008; however the orders of magnitude presented here – notably the difference between the richest and poorest people globally – are likely still to hold.
There will likely be a smaller but still very significant share of the global poorest 40% in some middle-income countries like China and Brazil, where growth has been fastest and relatively more inclusive, and a growing representation of some middle-income countries in the global richest 10% (see section 2).

It's a mixed picture, but bear in mind total household consumption emissions do not equal total emissions.

As to the question of who should stop (or slow down) making babies - GHG emissions hurt the emitter just as much as they hurt everybody else. In contrast, explosive population growth mainly hurts the country where it happens. So the "justice" issue is very different.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on July 01, 2017, 12:16:44 AM
From the research done by the French economist Piketty (he authored "Capital in the Twenty First Century", a best seller on inequality), pretty close to the other figures.

" Global CO2e emissions remain highly concentrated today: top 10% emitters contribute to about 45% of global emissions, while bottom 50% emitters contribute to 13% of global emissions. Top 10% emitters live on all continents, with onethird of them from emerging countries."

http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/ChancelPiketty2015.pdf (http://piketty.pse.ens.fr/files/ChancelPiketty2015.pdf)

Oren, you state that "GHG emissions hurt the emitter just as much as they hurt everybody else". No they don't. The impact of GHG emissions will depend upon a numbers of factors which will include location (localized AGW impacts and ability of society to adapt) and wealth (individual ability to adapt/move). AGW will tend to impact the poor much more than the rich. DiCaprio will suffer much less from his emissions than a poor African farmer, for example.

If AGW is the problem, then more poor people is not a big contributor. The consumption of the rich is. Also, the relatively rapid population growth in some of the richer nations such as Canada and the USA.

On an individual happiness basis, the rapid rates of population growth we will see in an African continent that will be hit hard by AGW, may be a disaster.

Public Enemy Number 1 is consumption per capita, which is increasing much faster than population in the richest 50% of the population. China is a great example.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on July 01, 2017, 12:56:47 AM
The globalist need to learn to better manage the implications of the Elephant Chart or they will lose out to populists (like Trump):

Title: "The hottest chart in economics, and what it means"

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/hottest-chart-economics-means/ (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/hottest-chart-economics-means/)

Extract: "The Elephant Chart. Rarely has one economic picture had as much impact as this one. Tonight’s Making Sen$e Thursday story on the PBS NewsHour profiles its creator, economist Branko Milanovic. It explains the rise of populism in the developed world and so much more."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on July 01, 2017, 02:00:04 AM
Great chart, havn't seen this before. Neoliberal globalization at its best, the rich make more money (quite a lot of it by moving work to abroad and the resulting lower wages at home) and pay less taxes! The rich, such as the bankers, also get bailed out when they fail.

Let's not forget massive amounts of illegal immigration (in the US) and legal immigration (misuse of the H1B Visa program in the US for example), to knock down local wages. The UK got hit by the same thing when the poorer Eastern European countries joined the EU and their citizens had the right to work in the UK (their second language tending to be English).

Let's also remember that the poorer end of the Elephant are increasing their incomes from a very low level.

Populism can be Corbyn and Sanders rather than Trump, if their party establishments allow it!
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: pileus on July 01, 2017, 08:16:47 PM
Some positive news on US birth rates.  Hopefully fertility rates will continue to decline, not just in the US but in all developed countries.

Also, the attached chart from ourworldindata.org is a great visualization of historical fertility and replacement rates.

-----
Americans keep having fewer babies as U.S. birthrates hit some record lows

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-us-birth-rate-20170630-htmlstory.html (http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-us-birth-rate-20170630-htmlstory.html)

In 2016, the U.S. general fertility rate hit a record low of 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In 2015, the general fertility rate was 62.5.

Another useful statistic is the total fertility rate. This is an estimate of the total number of babies that 1,000 women would have over their lifetimes, based on the actual birth rates for women in different age groups.

In 2016, the total fertility rate for American women was 1,818 births per 1,000 women. That’s the lowest it has been since 1984.

In order for a generation to exactly replace itself, the total fertility rate needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. The U.S. has been missing that mark since 1971 (though the country’s population has grown due to immigration).

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 06, 2017, 09:02:57 PM
Elon Musk: The world's population is accelerating toward collapse and nobody cares
- Musk tweeted Thursday to his nearly 10 million followers: "The world's population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care."
- He was replying to a New Scientist article titled, "The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded."

“Rather than a meltdown where the Earth's population outstrips the planet's ability to feed everyone, we could be headed toward a more subtle but equally disastrous outcome where our population simply does not replace itself fast enough.”

Quote
"The world has hit peak child," the late Hans Rosling, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, said in the article.

Indeed, Japan's fertility rate is 1.4 children per woman, well below what is required to sustain population growth.

While Japan is perhaps the most well-known example of a country's population aging, the article in the London-based magazine also points to Germany and Italy, both of which "could see their populations halve within the next 60 years."

The article spells out some of the problems an older population might bring, including less innovation, cultural shifts and worse and more recession-prone economies.
...
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/06/elon-musk-the-worlds-population-is-accelerating-toward-collapse-and-nobody-cares.html (http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/06/elon-musk-the-worlds-population-is-accelerating-toward-collapse-and-nobody-cares.html)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ghoti on July 06, 2017, 09:49:41 PM
The hysteria over population collapse has been driven in the last couple of decades by American evangelicals who rail against contraception and women's rights. My take is their real fear is that Christians are becoming a smaller and smaller part of the world population. In reality over-population is still the real issue.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on July 08, 2017, 01:13:50 PM
I will attempt to explain this seemingly strange comment about falling world populations.

Elon Musk is very much an optimist, but not a climate optimist (otherwise why would he have made Tesla/Solar City?). As such, he likely believes we will be able to produce ten-fold sustainable improvements in farming efficiency (i.e. through in vitro meat and gene editing of plants). He is also very much a believer in capitalism as he has skyrocketed from a South African nobody to the world's most important visionary, and why wouldn't you after such an experience?

And unlike some people have said on this topic, the carrying capacity of Earth for humanity is not a fixed number, and never was the second we began innovating. It started rising as soon as we began intentional ecosystem modification and has continued rising ever since, although currently long-term carrying capacity is far below the population due to unsustainable farming practices.

If carrying capacity was fixed, of our 7,516,913,663 (http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/) people, about 7.506 billion of us would be doomed to die from famine and starvation rather imminently, with perhaps 10 million making it out on the other side.

I do, however, highly doubt that a falling population will ever be a problem, because
1) advancements in genetics and biology will likely allow us to grow infants entirely outside the womb in 10-25 years time
2) a growing population is only necessary to sustain an exploitative profit-based capitalism

And with that, I went and checked his Twitter feed and the culprit tweet seems conspicuously absent  ???
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on July 08, 2017, 02:22:04 PM

Elon Musk likely believes we will be able to produce ten-fold sustainable improvements in farming efficiency (i.e. through in vitro meat and gene editing of plants).

I do, however, highly doubt that a falling population will ever be a problem, because advancements in genetics and biology will likely allow us to grow infants entirely outside the womb in 10-25 years time


With luck I will be dead by the time the world accepts that in vitro meat, gene editing and growing babies outside the womb is normal.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on July 08, 2017, 03:38:58 PM
1) advancements in genetics and biology will likely allow us to grow infants entirely outside the womb in 10-25 years time

Ever read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on July 08, 2017, 09:15:27 PM
1) advancements in genetics and biology will likely allow us to grow infants entirely outside the womb in 10-25 years time

Ever read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World?

Just because it is technically possible does not mean society will actually implement the technology. In 25 years, science will be far more focused on desperate geoengineering in an ultimately futile attempt to halt accelerating global warming.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on July 08, 2017, 10:40:00 PM
1) advancements in genetics and biology will likely allow us to grow infants entirely outside the womb in 10-25 years time

Ever read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World?
Yes, actually. I don't believe that because of its depiction in the book that the technology by itself is a horrible thing, but I also don't believe it will ever be widely necessary. Sure, LGBT and other couples incapable of making babies in their own wombs will use it, but I don't think there will be wide adoption just to bring population numbers up. (There's always robots for that! ;) )
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Darvince on July 08, 2017, 10:56:34 PM
Just because it is technically possible does not mean society will actually implement the technology. In 25 years, science will be far more focused on desperate geoengineering in an ultimately futile attempt to halt accelerating global warming.
My beliefs on where we're going re: climate change are much closer to those of Bob Wallace than the forum median. I think we don't know that yet wrt your expectations, but if the 2020s don't see sufficient climate action, that we are probably going to see it. I also don't think that climate change is literally unstoppable, because we did it to ourselves. Sure, I think there are feedbacks that are probably going to cause double the damage than would happen in their absence, but that does not dictate that society is most definitely going to collapse from global warming. Again, there's always robots for that. ;)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on July 08, 2017, 11:13:54 PM
Although this is not the thread for it I see "an exploitative profit-based capitalism" as a much larger problem than either high or low population shifts.
The inefficiencies inherent in capitalism, combined with the pressure that climate change adds to the mix, is causing the haves to strike out blindly to preserve what they see as theirs, while the have-nots fight for their very existence.
If we all pulled together, as they have in Cuba, there would be enough for everyone. However, we've all been convinced that dog eat dog capitalism is the only way to get ahead no matter what this does to those less fortunate.


Apologize for the OT rant
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Neven on July 08, 2017, 11:54:38 PM
Ever read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World?
Yes, actually. I don't believe that because of its depiction in the book that the technology by itself is a horrible thing, but I also don't believe it will ever be widely necessary.
It's been a long time since I read the book, and at the time I was a bit of a pothead (to make reading classic literature even more fun/mindblowing  ;) ), but Huxley lets the characters explain the system quite clinically, and without judgment, in rather positive terms, very convincingly, much better than childbearing and family-induced neuroses. And remember, everyone in that ideal society is happy. But the Savage still hangs himself.

Man, I have to read that book again, this time without the weed.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 09, 2017, 12:18:59 AM
...
And with that, I went and checked his Twitter feed and the culprit tweet seems conspicuously absent  ???

It's there. It is under the New Scientist tweet he replied to, not his own timeline.

Elon Musk: @newscientist The world's population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care
https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/882939670895755264
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on July 09, 2017, 12:59:30 PM
It's a very nuanced issue, but:

1) Anyone who tries to predict demographic trends in the 2070s is talking nonsense. Forecasting this kind of thing in advance is always sketchy beyond 10 years or so.

2) That said, all the countries with very low fertility rates today (Japan, South Korea, Singapore etc) don't seem to be falling any further on this index, and some are rising again slightly. So I don't anticipate any countries will go below a fertility rate of 1.2 or so, and a lot of western countries seem to be stable on rather higher rates, around or above the EU average of 1.6. Still subreplacement, but "fast enough" to keep things going.

3) The parallel question of how long life expectancy will go on rising will also play a big role in how demographic trends develop. Although I think personally that many countries are close to a peak, people have thought this before...

4) While some countries have too few children for replacement, others will go on having far too many for a good while to come. Different problems in each, and different measures required. And we shouldn't overlook either issue because of the other.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on July 09, 2017, 08:31:52 PM
Incidentally, this article is worth a browse, despite the overly dramatic title: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/09/2017-the-year-we-lost-control-of-world-population-surge-london-family-planning-contraception-summit-trump (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jul/09/2017-the-year-we-lost-control-of-world-population-surge-london-family-planning-contraception-summit-trump)

"On the eve of a landmark summit in London called to accelerate family planning progress in 69 of the world’s poorest countries, latest figures show that an eight-year programme to get contraception to more than 100 million women is way off target."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on July 09, 2017, 08:32:20 PM
Why Are So Many Americans Dying Young?
A new pair of studies show why—and where—American life expectancy has grown worse in a generation.


"For the first time since the 1990s, Americans are dying at a faster rate, and they’re dying younger. A pair of new studies suggest Americans are sicker than people in other rich countries, and in some states, progress on stemming the tide of basic diseases like diabetes has stalled or even reversed. The studies suggest so-called “despair deaths”—alcoholism, drugs, and suicide—are a big part of the problem, but so is obesity, poverty, and social isolation.

American life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year since 2014, from 78.9 to 78.8, according to a report released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics. As The Washington Post reported, the last time the life expectancy went down instead of up was in 1993, during the throes of the AIDS epidemic. Meanwhile, the number of years people are expected to live at 65 remained unchanged, suggesting people are falling ill and dying young.

The overall death rate rose by 1.2 percent in 2015, the first time since 1999. The death rates went up for white men and women and for black men, but did not change significantly for Hispanics or black women."

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/12/why-are-so-many-americans-dying-young/510455/ (https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/12/why-are-so-many-americans-dying-young/510455/)

Of course, there is still legal and illegal immigration to drive an overall increase in US population.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on July 09, 2017, 08:43:02 PM
Average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030

"Average life expectancy is set to increase in many countries by 2030—and will exceed 90 years in South Korea, according to new research. The study, led by scientists from Imperial College London in collaboration with the World Health Organization, analysed long-term data on mortality and longevity trends to predict how life expectancy will change in 35 industrialised countries by 2030."

"The team calculated life expectancy at birth, and predicted a baby girl born in South Korea in 2030 will expect to live 90.8 years. Life expectancy at birth for South Korean men will be 84.1 years.

Scientists once thought an average life expectancy of over 90 was impossible, explained Professor Majid Ezzati, lead researcher from the School of Public Health at Imperial: 'We repeatedly hear that improvements in human longevity are about to come to an end. Many people used to believe that 90 years is the upper limit for life expectancy, but this research suggests we will break the 90-year-barrier. I don't believe we're anywhere near the upper limit of life expectancy -if there even is one.'

Professor Ezzati explained that South Korea's high life expectancy may be due to a number of factors including good nutrition in childhood, low blood pressure, low levels of smoking, good access to healthcare, and uptake of new medical knowledge and technologies."

"The results also revealed that the USA is likely to have the lowest life expectancy at birth in 2030 among high-income countries. The nation's average life expectancy at birth of men and women in 2030 (79.5 years and 83.3 years), will be similar to that of middle-income countries like Croatia and Mexico. The research team say this may be due to a number of factors including a lack of universal healthcare, as well as the highest child and maternal mortality rate, homicide rate and obesity among high-income countries."

"The five countries with the highest life expectancy at birth for men in 2030 were: South Korea (84.1), Australia (84.0), Switzerland (84.0), Canada (83.9), Netherlands (83.7)"

Cool to be a Canadian man ....

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-02-average-life-countries.html (https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-02-average-life-countries.html)


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 11, 2017, 03:49:17 AM
Wildlife is dying out due to habitat destruction, overhunting, toxic pollution, invasion by alien species and climate change. But the ultimate cause of all of these factors is “human overpopulation and continued population growth, and overconsumption, especially by the rich.”

Earth's sixth mass extinction event already under way, scientists warn
Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as new study reveals that billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/10/earths-sixth-mass-extinction-event-already-underway-scientists-warn (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/10/earths-sixth-mass-extinction-event-already-underway-scientists-warn)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Andre on July 11, 2017, 05:23:20 AM
This is the paper that the Guardian article is based on:

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114 (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114)

Abstract
The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species. We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range. In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage). Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on July 11, 2017, 12:03:36 PM
The 6th Extinction.

To add to the gloom, when the paper says "In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges ", one should also remember that that implies all the life forms in the food chain on which those mammals depend may also have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges.

ps: Population is not Public Enemy No. 1, homo sapiens is.

pps: We are in Joni Mitchell territory, and have been for a long time (Big Yellow Taxi).

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go   
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 11, 2017, 09:09:23 PM
Elon Musk: Burning Fossil Fuels Is the 'Dumbest Experiment in History, By Far'

Quote
"If we don't find a solution to burning oil for transport, when we then run out of oil, the economy will collapse and society will come to an end.

If we know we have to get off oil no matter what, we know that is an inescapable outcome, why run this crazy experiment of changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans by adding enormous amounts of CO2 that have been buried since the Precambrian Era?

That's crazy. That's the dumbest experiment in history, by far."

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4x3pmn/elon-musk-burning-fossil-fuels-is-the-dumbest-experiment-in-history-by-far
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 12, 2017, 02:43:09 PM
Quote
Virtually everything humanity constructs provides an example of habitat destruction

You don’t need a scientist to know what’s causing the sixth mass extinction
(us)

Paul Ehrlich

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/11/sixth-mass-extinction-habitats-destroy-population (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/11/sixth-mass-extinction-habitats-destroy-population)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: numerobis on July 12, 2017, 07:23:28 PM
Canada is not a monolith. Here's the fertility rate by province:
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/hlth85b-eng.htm (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/hlth85b-eng.htm)

It varies from 1.4 to 1.9 in the provinces. It's over 3 in Nunavut. Live expectancy here is also quite bad. Accordingly, senior discounts start at 65, but elder discounts start at 55 for beneficiaries (Inuit people). Nunavut is just starting the demographic transition.

You'll see about the same if you break out the stats for First Nations versus the rest of the population, across Canada. Nunavut is 80% Inuit, everywhere else is just a few percent.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 15, 2017, 04:30:54 PM
Unplanned birth control:  Lowered sperm counts in China.

China’s Sperm Count Problem Has Created a Billion-Dollar Market
Quote
A study in central China showed that only about 18 percent of those tested had healthy enough semen to be sperm donors in 2015. That number had been much higher at 56 percent in 2001....
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-12/as-sperm-counts-drop-in-china-the-fertility-market-cashes-in (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-12/as-sperm-counts-drop-in-china-the-fertility-market-cashes-in)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on July 15, 2017, 05:32:48 PM
Elon Musk: Burning Fossil Fuels Is the 'Dumbest Experiment in History, By Far'

Quote
"If we don't find a solution to burning oil for transport, when we then run out of oil, the economy will collapse and society will come to an end.

If we know we have to get off oil no matter what, we know that is an inescapable outcome, why run this crazy experiment of changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans by adding enormous amounts of CO2 that have been buried since the Precambrian Era?

That's crazy. That's the dumbest experiment in history, by far."

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4x3pmn/elon-musk-burning-fossil-fuels-is-the-dumbest-experiment-in-history-by-far

And burning these fuels in ever increasing amounts is what allowed for the industrial revolution which is the very foundation of the world wide market economy that we know today. And the attendant technologies and benefits of the market economy made available to everyone is what has allowed the dramatic growth of the human population.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 15, 2017, 06:27:23 PM
Elon Musk: Burning Fossil Fuels Is the 'Dumbest Experiment in History, By Far'

Quote
"If we don't find a solution to burning oil for transport, when we then run out of oil, the economy will collapse and society will come to an end.

If we know we have to get off oil no matter what, we know that is an inescapable outcome, why run this crazy experiment of changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans by adding enormous amounts of CO2 that have been buried since the Precambrian Era?

That's crazy. That's the dumbest experiment in history, by far."

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/4x3pmn/elon-musk-burning-fossil-fuels-is-the-dumbest-experiment-in-history-by-far

And burning these fuels in ever increasing amounts is what allowed for the industrial revolution which is the very foundation of the world wide market economy that we know today. And the attendant technologies and benefits of the market economy made available to everyone is what has allowed the dramatic growth of the human population.

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
 ;)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on July 19, 2017, 07:46:08 AM
Some bad news on this front from the USA: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/teen-pregnancy-donald-trump-funding-cut-projects-213-million-prevent-projects-pro-life-a7844886.html (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/teen-pregnancy-donald-trump-funding-cut-projects-213-million-prevent-projects-pro-life-a7844886.html)

Cutting funding for family planning in rich countries is particularly problematic due to higher levels of resources consumed per additional baby.  And It's worth noting that this is also bad news on the public health and inequality fronts as well.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on July 26, 2017, 01:14:22 PM
Nature has its own ways of adjusting population growth....

Sperm counts of Western men plummeting, analysis finds
Quote
(CNN) Sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging, according to a new analysis published Tuesday.

Among these men there has been a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011, the analysis, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, said. ...
https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/07/25/health/sperm-counts-declining-study/index.html
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 02, 2017, 07:51:23 PM
Today, August 2, is Earth Overshoot Day. This means we’ve used more resources than the planet can renew in a whole year.

Each of us can help reduce our impact, by making more sustainable choices in our daily lives.

https://mobile.twitter.com/UNFCCC/status/892723378209132544/video/1 (https://mobile.twitter.com/UNFCCC/status/892723378209132544/video/1)

http://www.overshootday.org (http://www.overshootday.org)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on August 02, 2017, 07:58:04 PM
Until we see the overuse of the planet's resources by the rich as an assault upon the current poor, and future generations, the date will keep getting earlier. We should have individual carbon quotas, with jail time for those that wantonly exceed them. Behaviour change will then happen rapidly, and the example of the rich to the rest will be swung away from consumption.

We can do that now in a relatively consensual way, or later in a much less pleasant way.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on August 22, 2017, 06:14:08 PM
The first linked 21 June 2017 article is entitle: "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision", the extract and associated image indicates that we already have a world population of about 7.6 billion, and the median value for 2050 (when I expect a socio-economic collapse to begin) may well be around 9.8 billion:

https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/world-population-prospects-the-2017-revision.html (https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/world-population-prospects-the-2017-revision.html)

Extract: "The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new United Nations report being launched today. With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline."

See also:
https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/ (https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/)

The second linked article argues against the use of coercive population control:

Title: "Why We Don’t Need Coercive Population Control"

https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/dont-need-coercive-population-control/ (https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/dont-need-coercive-population-control/)

Extract: "Demographers have estimated that simply eliminating unintended births would lower Earth’s projected end-of-century population by 2-3 billion people, and this could be accomplished with exclusively voluntary policies. If such a reduction would be inadequate or too unlikely, there are other ways to reduce fertility without coercion. As my co-authors and I have noted, people can be influenced by media and by economic incentives to reduce the number of children they otherwise would have had. It is likely due to similar cultural and economic changes in developed nations that have led to their falling fertility rates in recent decades. Along with improvements in gender equity, healthcare access, and family planning education, non-coercively influencing attitudes and choices about family size could be a powerful tool for reducing population growth."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: mustangchef on September 23, 2017, 01:04:18 AM
ya i knew this chick in Ann Arbor that was into some movement {no one having  babies and letting the human race die out }
she smoked too. Funny , she was kinda sexy.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on October 01, 2017, 06:03:10 PM
Africa's Population Will Soar Dangerously Unless Women Are More Empowered

"The U.N. has in recent years continually raised its midline projection for 2100 world population, from 9.1 billion in a 2004 estimate to 11.2 billion today. Almost all of the unanticipated increase comes from Africa."

Fertility rates are not dropping as expected in Africa, while death rates have fallen. The result is that the vast majority of population growth will be in the Africa, mostly in the some of the poorest countries in the world. UN estimates now put the Africa population at between 3-6 billion in 2100 depending on growth rates - previously they had assumed 2 billion. Of course, the probability of extensive social collapse and widespread famine before we get there is extremely high. With an extremely young population, a lot of violence can be expected.

North Africa seems to have lowered its population growth rate to 2%ish, and South Africa is now below 2%. In between though, very high growth rates - many in the specific areas that climate change will negatively affect. A good example - Nigeria already has 186 million people (under 100million 20 years ago), and with a 2.6% growth rate will double every 28 years - so nearly 400 million by the mid 2040's. Uganda's population is growing at over 3% a year (doubles every two decades, now at 40 million)

In 40% of the world's nations, the birth rate is already at or below replacement level (2.1) while in Africa it is still at 4.7.

Also a big issue for possible population migration: "As many as 37 percent of young adults in sub-Saharan Africa say they want to move to another country, mostly because of a lack of employment."

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/africa-s-population-will-soar-dangerously-unless-women-are-more-empowered/ (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/africa-s-population-will-soar-dangerously-unless-women-are-more-empowered/)

There is quite a convincing case that the rapid population growth with a limited supply of land was a significant factor in the Rwanda genocide, although there were other significant factors as well. The same kindling for conflict is growing in many places in Africa with the combination of population growth and usable land/yields decreasing (overuse, climate change).

"As with other genocides in the world, the one in Rwanda was complex with multidimensional causes and effects. Environmental causes, such as land scarcity, the increasing pressures of population on the land only aggravated the circumstances that led to the genocide"

http://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/%EF%BF%BCenvironmental-causes-and-impacts-of-the-genocide-in-rwanda/ (http://www.accord.org.za/ajcr-issues/%EF%BF%BCenvironmental-causes-and-impacts-of-the-genocide-in-rwanda/)

Given how dirt poor all of these extra people will be though, they will have little impact on climate change. It will still be the growth in wealth in China and India that will keep emissions high without radical action.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Alexander555 on October 01, 2017, 07:55:14 PM
That population growth in Africa will be the end of Europe. They already walk in by the thousands every day. And they will all bring their brothers and sisters in. RIP europe.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on October 01, 2017, 10:43:08 PM
Or it's savior? Since many Euro nations show negative population growth...
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on October 02, 2017, 05:45:54 AM
RIP Europe? Seriously? I live in one of the most ethnically mixed cities in Europe or anywhere (London) and it's very much alive.

Also, contraceptive access is finally on the way up, although there's a lot of progress still to be made: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/01/contraceptive-rates-poorest-countries-leap-by-30-million-users-in-four-years-family-planning-2020-report (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2016/nov/01/contraceptive-rates-poorest-countries-leap-by-30-million-users-in-four-years-family-planning-2020-report)

Child marriage is also (painfully slowly) on the way down: http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2017/08/22/educating-girls-ending-child-marriage (http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/immersive-story/2017/08/22/educating-girls-ending-child-marriage)

And female enrolment in education is on the way up: https://unstats.un.org/unsd/gender/chapter3/chapter3.html (https://unstats.un.org/unsd/gender/chapter3/chapter3.html)

We're moving in the right direction. It's just slow.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on October 02, 2017, 09:16:15 AM
Sadly, I believe that for Africa this slow pace of improvement will not be enough, and that the population bomb will explode in large scale wars and famines well before the end of the century.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on October 02, 2017, 07:45:53 PM

Given how dirt poor all of these extra people will be though, they will have little impact on climate change. It will still be the growth in wealth in China and India that will keep emissions high without radical action.


Population growth remains popular however as it is the only metric that can't be blamed on the old white males that own our media. 8)


Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Alexander555 on October 02, 2017, 09:32:06 PM
That's questionable Terry. In the 60's we were with 2 billion, today with 7,6 billion. Who has been driving that globalisation ?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on October 02, 2017, 11:13:57 PM
In 1960 the global population was 3 billion, in 1970 3.7 billion.

Biggest growth since then was in Asia - China, India, Indonesia etc. as well as Africa. Asia's birth rates have now fallen back, so the biggest driver is now Africa (and Pakistan and Bangladesh which will both be climate change hot spots).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on October 02, 2017, 11:18:08 PM
Bangladesh birth rate (Now 2.14) has dropped dramatically and is now below India's and is below replacement levels (for third world countries).

This was the result mostly of programs aimed intentionally to reduce birthrates mostly through improving the lives of women. If that can be done in Bangladesh, presumably it can also be done in Pakistan and in many countries in Africa. There is nothing inevitable about it. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on October 02, 2017, 11:54:57 PM
The first two attached images provide projections from the World3 model (see the linked pdf & the linked Wikipedia article that indicates that while birth rates dropped fast than Limits to Growth assumed, so did the death rates) both showing model runs about 40-years after Limits to Growth was first published in the 1970's.  Both images show a normalized peak in population circa 2050.

Title: "40 years after Limits to Growth The World3 system dynamics model and its impacts"

http://www.wrforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Limits-to-growth.pdf (http://www.wrforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Limits-to-growth.pdf)

&

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World3 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World3)

Extract: "At least one study, however, claims that "30 years of historical data compare favorably with key features of a business-as-usual scenario called the 'standard run' scenario" produced by the World3 model."

The third image shows the 2017 UN world population projection, which shows a projected median population of 9.8 billion people by 2050.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on October 03, 2017, 12:11:40 AM
Those last two graphs differ rather dramatically.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on October 03, 2017, 12:49:06 AM
Those last two graphs differ rather dramatically.

The main difference is that the first two plots compare population X consumption per capita vs the Earth's Degraded Carrying Capacity (Overshoot Day of August 2 in 2017) while the last plot assumes that population growth is not limited by the Earth's Carrying Capacity.  The attached image is a cartoon illustration of this point.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on October 03, 2017, 02:56:42 AM
Thanks for the explanation (and cool graphs) ASLR.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on October 18, 2017, 03:16:01 PM
One bit of trivia that may interest people here: in the latest year for which we have data (2015), life expectancy actually declined both in the USA (from 78.9 to 78.8 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38247385)) and in the EU (from 80.9 to 80.6 (http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Mortality_and_life_expectancy_statistics)).  This is just a one year dip so far, in what was previously a steady, if slowing, upwards trend, but is it possible we may be getting close to a life expectancy ceiling now, pending significant medical advances and/or public health improvements?

If so, and life expectancy is going to stick around the 80 mark rather than rising further to 90 or beyond, there are obvious implications for total future population forecasts.

EDIT: And while most of the rest of the world has a slightly lower life expectancy, the bulk of the eorld's population has now caught up much if the way to the peri-80 point at which the EU and USA may now be getting stuck (worldwide, the average life expectancy at birth is now 71.4 (http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends/en/)).

EDIT 2: However, the fact that life expectancy continues to rise in world champions at not dying like Hong Kong or Japan  (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/tag/life-expectancy-3/) shows that this ceiling can still be pushed up at least as far as the 83.7 mark.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 18, 2017, 05:41:35 PM
Although this is not the thread for it I see "an exploitative profit-based capitalism" as a much larger problem than either high or low population shifts.
The inefficiencies inherent in capitalism, combined with the pressure that climate change adds to the mix, is causing the haves to strike out blindly to preserve what they see as theirs, while the have-nots fight for their very existence.
If we all pulled together, as they have in Cuba, there would be enough for everyone. However, we've all been convinced that dog eat dog capitalism is the only way to get ahead no matter what this does to those less fortunate.


Apologize for the OT rant
Terry

Not so off topic.

While I won't rule out that a planet wide shift to subsistence living might allow us to support the current population and the special period in Cuba demonstrates what can be accomplished in a very short time out of necessity, I am skeptical that the wealthy on the planet will agree to a life without toys.

I still flash back on a bumper sticker on a large, club cab pickup truck that I saw several years ago. (I live in Chicago.)

"He who dies with the most toys wins."

This says all you need to know about Americans.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on October 18, 2017, 10:06:51 PM

"He who dies with the most toys wins."

This says all you need to know about Americans.
As much as I enjoy bashing Americans, I've seen the same attitude here in Canada, and I suspect we'd find it in much of the Western (and Eastern) World.
I think there was a time when greed was seen as a sin, but that was long, long ago and far, far away. :'(
Terry

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on October 29, 2017, 11:06:51 AM
If we went back to subsistence living we could grow to a population of 20bn. And then what? We'd be up against the planetary limits again. It's not that population per se is the only problem, but there's no denying it's a very significant problem.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 29, 2017, 03:35:29 PM
If we went back to subsistence living we could grow to a population of 20bn. And then what? We'd be up against the planetary limits again. It's not that population per se is the only problem, but there's no denying it's a very significant problem.

We need to shift to subsistence living and simultaneously get a whole lot smarter.

I won't hold my breath.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bligh8 on November 17, 2017, 04:06:28 PM
I’ve done a fair amount of traveling this year, by plane, car and sailboat.  The population explosion was never more evident than it was this year in the Caribbean.  There was a cattle car type of moving folks within and around the airport.  There was one check-out area for fast (garbage) food, four cash registers with at least 15 people in line moving at the speed of light. Once out of the airport facility there was row after row of taxis and ferryboats dispersing travelers around the islands. Once on-board our sailing vessel and sailing about the islands I could not help but notice all the Dive boats all lined up with 50 to 80 air tanks ready to take folks into the underwater wonder world.  For my own part I was snorkeling behind Peter, Norman, St. Johns and Yost Van Dyke islands on reefs that I had visited many times before over the last 35 years.  Sadly this year I saw many more dive tanks awaiting divers than I did tropical fish.  The once staggeringly beautiful reefs were, for the most part .. dead.  And the new generation of divers had no idea of what was once there.   
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 16, 2017, 08:16:17 PM
An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried
Working back from human extinction.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xwvgeq/an-incomplete-timeline-of-what-we-tried
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 17, 2017, 03:03:00 PM
“Japan has entered a vicious cycle of low fertility and low spending that has led to trillions in lost GDP and a population decline of 1 million people, all within just the past five years. If left unabated, experts forecast severe economic downturn and a breakdown in the fabric of social life.”

'This is death to the family': Japan's fertility crisis is creating economic and social woes never seen before
http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-fertility-crisis-2017-4
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on December 17, 2017, 04:55:40 PM
Finally some country is reversing the global population trend, and everyone starts screaming. Young people are not supposed to take the burden the old people left for them, and populations don't have to grow endlessly. Think of all the money Japan is saving by avoiding the need to build more schools, housing, roads etc., with this money they should hire some foreign nursing professionals from the Philippines or wherever, take care of the elderly, and leave the young people to live a normal life without excessive taxation. But of course the national debt - a wonderful method of the old robbing the young - prevents that. The economy must "grow", with endless fiscal and monetary stimulus driving up real estate prices and increasing the debt ever higher. Why should a young person in Japan join this scam? No wonder they choose to act as they do and leave childbirth to others.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on December 17, 2017, 05:08:20 PM
Capitalism is a growth system, absolutely dependent on a growing population to consume all of the shit we make. A shrinking population will bring down the entire crumbling edifice.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Bernard on December 17, 2017, 10:13:03 PM
Finally some country is reversing the global population trend, and everyone starts screaming.
Japan is far from being alone in this case, a lot of European countries have a demography close to zero growth or under. See figures for e.g., Germany, Spain, Italy. And this happened in a couple of generations. When I was a child in the 60's, Italy and Spain were famous in France for their numerous catholic families, and were countries of strong emigration. Spain population has now stalled, sustained only by immigration (which Japan is not at all akin to accept). Similar trend in Germany, which supports a massive immigration, not without problems.
Japan is in fact a singular case, with pathologic demographics. If a sustainable approach to demographics is ever to be found, Europe will be the place.

See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Spain
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Germany

Also http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/population-by-country/
Sort the table by fertility rate, to see that countries like Portugal, Greece, Spain and Poland have a fertility rate of 1.3 slightly lower than Japan, Italy, Austria and Germany at 1.4.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: rboyd on December 17, 2017, 10:31:58 PM
Our concept of retirement came into place when life expectancies were significantly less, there is no reason why people should not be supported in continuing to have productive lives - including the "not to old" looking after the "older".

In Japan, they also have a huge under-utilized resource - women. If women were given much more equal job opportunities as men (say as in Europe) overall output per worker would significantly increase over time. Add the usual ongoing efficiency gains and there is no reason why the economy could not remain stable while the population shrinks a small amount each year.

There would be less demand for housing, which would reduce the cost and get rid of multiple areas of non-productive rent seeking (land speculation, bank lending, realtors). Also, less demand for food etc., so a greater ecological balance The debt could be cancelled by a move to 100% reserves and non-debt government-created money, but that would be fought by the bankers and their US backers.

In North America, the large-scale immigration from countries that have lower ecological footprints and emissions is counter-productive. For Canada the Tar Sands and large-scale immigration both stand in the way of reducing carbon emissions. Instead, we pave over class-1 farmland to make way for yet more housing subdivisions.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on December 21, 2017, 01:41:44 PM
Life expectancy has dropped for a second year running in the USA between 2015 and 2016. Only by 0.1 years, but this might represent a break in the previous consistent rise in life expectancy in the West, especially considered the parallel drop in the EU between 2014 and 2015. What's interesting, and a little tragic, however, is that the drop comes primarily due to rising mortality among young adults, with a particular rise in drug overdose deaths.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db293.htm

This may suggest a lower peak for life expectancy among both western countries and other countries adopting western lifestyles than had been forecast, potentially. In turn, this would lead to smaller populations

However, the drop in life expectancy may well be reversible if, for starters, the opioid epidemic in the USA is addressed,  and it's worth noting that the USA is well off any hard limit on modern life expectancy, as Japan etc are so far ahead, so life expectancy may very well rise again.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: pileus on December 21, 2017, 03:16:28 PM
Life expectancy has dropped for a second year running in the USA between 2015 and 2016. Only by 0.1 years, but this might represent a break in the previous consistent rise in life expectancy in the West, especially considered the parallel drop in the EU between 2014 and 2015. What's interesting, and a little tragic, however, is that the drop comes primarily due to rising mortality among young adults, with a particular rise in drug overdose deaths.

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db293.htm

This may suggest a lower peak for life expectancy among both western countries and other countries adopting western lifestyles than had been forecast, potentially. In turn, this would lead to smaller populations

However, the drop in life expectancy may well be reversible if, for starters, the opioid epidemic in the USA is addressed,  and it's worth noting that the USA is well off any hard limit on modern life expectancy, as Japan etc are so far ahead, so life expectancy may very well rise again.

For the US the opioid epidemic is also part of the broader “deaths of despair” dynamic, that includes fatalities from alcohol related causes and suicide.  And it’s easy to see suicide rates increasing as automation accelerates and people across all skill sets and education levels are made obsolete and without traditional purpose in the 2020s and beyond.

The more significant variable wrt US (and other developed Western countries) population is birth rates.  In the US white birth rates have been flat or decelerating.  The only thing keeping population afloat and the workforce growing is the birth rate from immigrants, who are of course under constant assault from the current federal administration and by extension many of those same whites who aren’t having babies.  The irony runs thick.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on December 22, 2017, 06:04:36 AM
Agreed re the deaths of despair, although the opioid deaths slso represent a failure in both pain control practice and public health.

A curious statistical note about this data is that age-adjusted death rates actually reduced in spite of the drop in life expectancy. This happened because life expectancy is a median figure, and the distribution of deaths changed, with older adults slightly less likely to die than previously and younger adults slightly more likely:

Quote
The age-adjusted death rate for the total population decreased 0.6% from 733.1 per 100,000 standard population in 2015 to 728.8 in 2016

...

Death rates increased significantly between 2015 and 2016 for age groups 15–24 (7.8%), 25–34 (10.5%), 35–44 (6.7%), and 55–64 (1.0%) (Figure 3).

Death rates decreased significantly for age groups 65–74 (0.5%), 75–84 (2.3%), and 85 and over (2.1%).

Total deaths in the USA, meanwhile, increased by 30000 to 2.74 million in spite of this drop in the age-adjusted death rate, an apparent discrepancy that can be explained by population aging plus 0.7% per annum population growth.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on December 25, 2017, 01:33:23 AM
Singapore’s Aging 'Time Bomb' Will Tick Louder in 2018
Quote
- Population of 65 years and older to match youngest: UOB’s Tan
- Faster aging will necessitate policy changes, including tax

Next year marks an ominous turning point for Singapore’s graying population, according to research by Francis Tan, an economist at United Overseas Bank Ltd. in Singapore.

In 2018, the share of the population that’s 65 years and older will match those younger than 15 for the first time, Tan wrote in a report on Wednesday. As the elderly population starts to crowd out the youth, the “demographic time bomb” may mean changes to taxes, immigration rules, and social services, he said.

“Singapore is facing one of the toughest economic and social challenges since its independence in the form of a rapidly aging workforce and population,” Tan said. ...
https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2017-12-06/more-grandmas-means-singapore-time-bomb-ticks-louder-in-2018
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on January 01, 2018, 10:14:45 PM
This is not primarily about population, but as India is one of the real fast growers in terms of population, I thought it might fit in this thread.
It's about consumption preferences as poor people get a higher average income. One of the most needed and preferred consumption good is the air conditioner. Across South Asia, whose tropical zones include some of the world’s largest cities, extreme heat waves are becoming more common and deadly, making air conditioners lifesaving pieces of technology.

 "As temperatures and incomes rise, the air conditioner is now what Nikit Abhyankar, a researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory calls “a threshold good — the moment you cross into that middle-class income level, you go and buy one.”

"By 2030, Abhyankar projects, the explosion in air conditioning alone will raise India’s electricity demands by 150 gigawatts, the equivalent of adding three economies the size of California to its power grid.

Most of that electricity will come from coal, pumping out more of the carbon emissions that are blamed for worsening pollution, respiratory diseases, millions of premature deaths and hotter air temperatures — which will only push people to buy more air conditioners.

India is in the midst of one of the biggest urban transitions in history, with more than 400 million people projected to migrate to cities by 2050. "

This is one of the reasons why this thread is headlined 'Population:  Public Enemy No. 1'. Not that earth's population grows rapidly, or that we are too many people, but that it grows in the poorest countries, where the masses have consumption preferences that are very detrimental to our climate. India, Africa (south of Sahara), etc.

http://www.latimes.com/world/asia/la-fg-india-air-conditioners-2017-story.html
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on January 01, 2018, 10:31:10 PM
It always struck me that AC should be the appliance most practically and easily sold with dedicated plug-n-play solar panels. You generally need AC most when the sun is shining, and if you can cool the temp of your home or apt enough in the afternoon, they will likely keep fairly cool through the night. I assume AC can be manufactured to take direct current right from the panel, right?

Dehumidifiers would likely also get people most of the way to the comfort they seek, at a much lower electric demand.

But yeah, the 'human feedback' you point out here is one of many that are likely to bite us. The US, of course, has long been at the forefront of AC adoption, and could point the way toward various alternatives.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on January 02, 2018, 11:23:17 AM
It always struck me that AC should be the appliance most practically and easily sold with dedicated plug-n-play solar panels. You generally need AC most when the sun is shining, and if you can cool the temp of your home or apt enough in the afternoon, they will likely keep fairly cool through the night. I assume AC can be manufactured to take direct current right from the panel, right?

Dehumidifiers would likely also get people most of the way to the comfort they seek, at a much lower electric demand.

But yeah, the 'human feedback' you point out here is one of many that are likely to bite us. The US, of course, has long been at the forefront of AC adoption, and could point the way toward various alternatives.

Sure, it's no big deal, technically speaking. But it will add to cost, so poor Indians won't buy the AC with solar panels. In the quoted article, it's evident that Indians are extremely cost conscious as they arise from poverty. An AC that costs $500 is beyond reach for most people, and if you add solar panels to the unit it will be an option only for the richer hipsters.
De-humidifiers also suck a lot of energy, b.t.w. A bit less than an AC, but not that big difference, afaik.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ghoti on January 02, 2018, 03:12:59 PM
Quote
It always struck me that AC should be the appliance most practically and easily sold with dedicated plug-n-play solar panels.
Solar PV doesn't produce enough electricity per m2 to be practical to power A/C. At peak output you'd need about 5 m2 of panel to produce 1000W and that's not enough to power most small A/C units. You need a large array and probably batteries to run an air conditioner.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on January 02, 2018, 04:03:04 PM
Back in 1990 when in Karachi one of my Brit colleagues noticed how many of the houses come with flat roofs. He said we could collect heat on the roofs, use it to power a compressor that compressed air into a cylinder at high pressure, and then a pressure valve releases the air into the rooms below -  air released this way is cold. In other words - a really cheap frigidaire.

The hotter the weather the better the system would work.

We found no takers.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: pileus on January 02, 2018, 04:31:50 PM
Nothing has solidified my sense of hopelessness for the future climate more than driving through (more technically correct, being driven through by a driver) several of India’s large cities.  Knowing that consumption is only going to increase and multiply as living standards raise, and much like traffic there the results will be chaotic.  I’ve always thought that sanitation and access to clean water and toilets should be a larger priority than something like AC, as more than a half billion there practice open defication.

None of this is to suggest that Indians are more culpable than the US and western countries that have created the great majority of the global warming crisis.  It’s just disconcerting for the future biosphere as hundreds of millions across India and Asia come on line as consumers and polluters.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on January 02, 2018, 04:37:19 PM
There are much cheaper ways to cool buildings than traditional A.C., such as a Bangladeshi invention called the Eco-cooler: https://inhabitat.com/this-amazing-bangladeshi-air-cooler-is-made-from-plastic-bottles-and-uses-no-electricity/

But yes, solar a.c. units cost at least a couple thousand us $
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on January 02, 2018, 06:57:21 PM
There are much cheaper ways to cool buildings than traditional A.C., such as a Bangladeshi invention called the Eco-cooler: https://inhabitat.com/this-amazing-bangladeshi-air-cooler-is-made-from-plastic-bottles-and-uses-no-electricity/ (https://inhabitat.com/this-amazing-bangladeshi-air-cooler-is-made-from-plastic-bottles-and-uses-no-electricity/)

But yes, solar a.c. units cost at least a couple thousand us $
I'm truly sorry to rain on this parade, but if this were to operate as advertised it would at best provide the benefits of a fan, not an air conditioner.
If the ambient temperature is 35 C, this apparatus might help bring the interior temperature down toward this 35 C temperature, always assuming that provisions have been made to exhaust an equal volume of air, but never lower.
An A/C on the other hand will drop the temperature of the air by ~10 C every pass through the coils.


Reverse chimneys can lower temperatures close to wet bulb temperatures which can be quite chilly in low humidity regions. They require no electricity if provisions are made to get water to the apex of the unit, and they provide a fan like airflow.


The State of Arizona has been using these at highway rest stops for decades.


I've designed on paper a positive flow chimney that sucks input air through ground level inlets covered by wet pads, thereby eliminating the need to get the water to above the roof height, but it still requires water being evaporated, and a fairly airtight structure to be effective.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on February 01, 2018, 02:49:33 AM
Probably at the time I was thinking of the famous Pareto Principle:

https://www.google.com/search?q=pareto+principle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 (https://www.google.com/search?q=pareto+principle&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8)

But according to the World Bank, over 70% of the world's population is poor or low income.

Poor means living on less than $2 a day. Hard to burn much FF on that.

Low income means $2 - $10/day, probably most toward the lower end of that. Again, not much FF burning going on there. Most of the world's poor spend half or more of their income on food, which is often grown locally and is mostly plant based (because...cheap).

http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/global-population-by-income/ (http://www.pewglobal.org/interactives/global-population-by-income/)

Further:

1% of people own more wealth than the other 99% combined

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jan/18/richest-62-billionaires-wealthy-half-world-population-combined)

It is quite probable that nearly everyone on this forum is in that top 1%.

If You Make More Than $35K US You Are In The Global 1% Of Income Earners

https://www.diygenius.com/the-global-inequality-problem/ (https://www.diygenius.com/the-global-inequality-problem/)

(Sorry for the big font, but people don't seem to know these important facts about the mal-distribution of wealth)

and what in your opinion does the distribution exactly tell about global warming and what would the exact relation to overpopulation be?

if one states that the more people live on this planet the more trouble arise, often based on needs but as often based on envy and many other difficult conditons depending on region and political system, that makes somehow sense.

an one point should never be forgotten, a poor man who eats 3-4000kcal per day in cheap food and a rich man who eats the same (often less) kcal in hyper expensive food does not change the impact on the ecology a lot to the negative IMO (there is a difference i know)

so if 7 billion or 8 billion people have to be fed makes a huge difference and has probably the greater impact in the long run (water and food supply )

as well the body waste including methane and everything is not less form a poor mans bean meal than from a rich mans caviar toast.

now some whould say that meat production takes up much more resources than beans, corn or wheat. true that but i think one greater errors is that people in poor countries eat significantly less meat.

a few decades back when i was roaming the streets in several african countries there was more meat made on fire in the street than soups or vegetables.

of course there is much more to this and the subject fills entire libraries, hence cannot be discussed to the end here, just basics and getting perhaps a bit of new input to consider.

thanks for your contribution, it was known here but still never a bad things to be pointed out ;)

In order to earn more, the businesses that the rich own and that the middle class work in have to sell more goods and services to expanding markets worldwide. That's because the global economy in which those businesses operate is capitalist and competitive. At the same time, the same economy has to continue growing, as more more is created through borrowing and reinvested in the same economy, leading to expansion of businesses, and in turn requiring expanding markets.

In short, the middle class can only maintain its status if they are able to sell more goods and services to others, but for others to buy more they eventually have to become part of the same middle class (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-22956470). And as markets become saturated, then the same middle class will have to count on a growing population, as that means more clients and customers for their growing businesses.

At the same time, more goods and services available (including more food, better sanitation and health care, etc.) were likely some of the reasons why the population increased significantly from 1945 onward, and why it continues to rise through population momentum.

These imply that there are many public enemies.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Daniel B. on February 01, 2018, 03:43:27 PM
Let us assume for argument's sake that the third world's working poor are on the same path as the first world's were a century ago.  Throughout the path taken to reach a significant middle class, safety and the environment were ignored.  Building a reasonable shelter, putting enough food on the table, and receiving adequate medical treatment trumped all.  Now that the first world has achieved their current status, significant attention is being paid to safety and environmental issues.  Every country went through this stage, and China and India are in the midst of it today.  Additionally, once they emerge out of this transition period, population growth declines rapidly, and may stagnate.  As long as they remain poor, population will continue to grow at a rapid pace. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: AbruptSLR on February 06, 2018, 12:32:49 AM
While estimates of current world populations vary, the linked website indicates at as of February 5, 2018 we are essentially at 7.6 billion people on the planet"

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on February 09, 2018, 10:12:02 PM
”It seems to me that we’re living in the wizard’s world, but we are guided more and more by the prophet’s politics.”

Wizards and prophets face off to save the planet
https://grist.org/article/wizards-and-prophets-face-off-to-save-the-planet/
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on March 07, 2018, 06:55:55 AM
Lawler over at calculatedrisk has a post on Census projection overestimates of US population due to higher mortality in the 15-44 age group. Looks like the new projections out next month will be siignificantly lower. Lawler also has numbers on increased drug deaths which are a contributor the the underestimate.

Since the US is one of the highest percapita emitters, the projections for US emissions ought to drop as well, but that is not his focus.

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2018/03/lawler-population-outlook-uncertainty.html

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on March 07, 2018, 11:50:25 PM
Thank Gawd for opioid crises.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on March 15, 2018, 10:51:42 PM
Lawler details census underprojections of mortality and overpredictions of immmigration and household growth in the USA. The last will have significant impact on the real estate market, which is why CalculatedRisk and Lawler are analysing it. There is also impact on preditions of working age population.

"What this means, of course, is that if one were to incorporate the higher “actual” death rates the US has recently experienced into population projections over the next several years, the result would be substantially lower projections in the size of the “working age” population "

"Obviously, an updated population projection from those from 2014 produces slower projections for labor force growth, and significantly slower if one uses “realistic” growth rates. Similarly, household projections using 2014 projections are a LOT higher than those using updated assumptions and realistic death rates. E.g., from mid-2018 to mid-2020 a reasonable projection for annual household growth using the 2014 population projections of about 1.455 million. Using the “raw” 2017 projections would, using similar headship rates, produce an annual household growth forecast of about 1.345 million. Adjusting the 2017 projections for more realistic death rates, however, would (using same headship rates) result in an annual household growth forecast over the next two years of about 1.245 million, or about 210,000 a year less than one would get using the old C2014 projections."

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2018/03/lawler-new-long-term-population.html

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: idunno on March 18, 2018, 03:33:54 PM
The population bomb has been defused...

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-16/decline-in-world-fertility-rates-lowers-risks-of-mass-starvation
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on March 18, 2018, 05:40:13 PM
The population bomb has been defused...

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-16/decline-in-world-fertility-rates-lowers-risks-of-mass-starvation
Good article, very well written, though I disagtee with the headline and the optimism throughout. 11 billion is IMHO much over the Earth's carrying capacity, and this will manifest itself one way or another.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on March 23, 2018, 07:23:25 PM
The population bomb has been defused...

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-16/decline-in-world-fertility-rates-lowers-risks-of-mass-starvation
Good article, very well written, though I disagtee with the headline and the optimism throughout. 11 billion is IMHO much over the Earth's carrying capacity, and this will manifest itself one way or another.
This should provoke a comment or two. I like Prof. Ehrlich's humour.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/22/collapse-civilisation-near-certain-decades-population-bomb-paul-ehrlich

Paul Ehrlich: 'Collapse of civilisation is a near certainty within decades'

Quote
In May, it will be 50 years since the eminent biologist published his most famous and controversial book, The Population Bomb. But Ehrlich remains as outspoken as ever.

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

Ehrlich is also concerned about chemical pollution, which has already reached the most remote corners of the globe. “The evidence we have is that toxics reduce the intelligence of children, and members of the first heavily influenced generation are now adults.”

He treats this risk with characteristic dark humour: “The first empirical evidence we are dumbing down Homo sapiens were the Republican debates in the US 2016 presidential elections – and the resultant kakistocracy. On the other hand, toxification may solve the population problem, since sperm counts are plunging.”

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on March 24, 2018, 06:25:58 PM
The population bomb has been defused...

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-16/decline-in-world-fertility-rates-lowers-risks-of-mass-starvation
Good article, very well written, though I disagtee with the headline and the optimism throughout. 11 billion is IMHO much over the Earth's carrying capacity, and this will manifest itself one way or another.

It is a good article.

It's worth noting that the relative change in population, and thus the extent to which carrying capacity is stretched, should drop year on year.  It's not like global population will leap to 11 billion overnight, but instead it's loosely forecast over the next 80 years.  (Not that we can really trust any population projection more than ten years in advance).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on March 25, 2018, 02:15:00 PM
It's worth noting that the relative change in population, and thus the extent to which carrying capacity is stretched, should drop year on year.  It's not like global population will leap to 11 billion overnight, but instead it's loosely forecast over the next 80 years.  (Not that we can really trust any population projection more than ten years in advance).

No, if you accept that the carrying capacity for humans has already been exceeded, the extent that it will be exceeded will continue to rise until human population finally peaks and begins to fall. If the added billions are part of the global consumer class the degree that carrying capacity is exceeded may even continue to rise at an accelerating rate.  If we can successfully decouple consumption from environmental harm, perhaps the rate of added harm can begin to level off.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on April 01, 2018, 11:35:17 PM
Some interesting insights into the population dynamics of Middle east societies.

"The Mideast is doomed. Egypt alone needs to create 700,000 jobs every single year to absorb the new job seekers out its 98 million population. A third of this population already live below the poverty line (482 Egyptian Pounds a month, which is less than $1 a day). The seeds of the vicious circle that the Mideast region finds itself in today were planted at least 5 decades ago. Excessive public spending without matching revenues were the catalyst to a faulty and dangerous incentive system that helped to balloon populations beyond control. A governance system that was ostensibly put in place to help the poor ended up being a built-in factory for poverty generation. Excessive subsidies helped misallocate resources and mask the true cost of living for households. Correlation between family size and income was lost.

Successive Mideast leaders are often referred to as evil dictators. I see them more as lousy economists and poor users of simple arithmetic and excel spreadsheets that can help demonstrate the simple, yet devastating power of compounding. Unless you are a Gulf-based monarchy enjoying the revenue stream from oil and gas that can postpone your day of reckoning, the numbers in nearly every single Arab country don't add up."


https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-01/peak-fragility-why-middle-east-doomed
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on April 02, 2018, 12:28:51 AM



https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-01/peak-fragility-why-middle-east-doomed

Every word of this *might* be true.  It fits with my perceptions.  However, zerohedge not infrequently has anonymous material -- this is an example.
"Authored by "Ehsani" - a Middle East expert, Syrian-American banker and financial analyst who visits the region frequently and writes for the influential geopolitical analysis blog, Syria Comment. "

This blog tries to stick to more authoritative/scholarly/verifiable information sources.  We owe it to each other.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on May 27, 2018, 11:12:08 PM
A small piece of good news on the population front: Ireland has liberalised its abortion laws. Not a huge difference in itself as it applies to only 2 million out of the 1.25 billion women without access to safe abortions, but it's a step in the right direction.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on May 28, 2018, 09:20:18 AM
US death rates jumping : "substantial increase in death rates for the 15-44 year old age groups from 2014 to 2016."

Prime childbearing years, this will reverberate. Not the least in  projections for the economy.

Wonder how much this is due to a hopeless life

"the fruitless years behind us, the hopeless years before us ..."

As i have posted before, Case and Deaton(2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518393112 ) have shown increasing mortality among white folk above 30 from poisoning, suicide, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis. I attach fig 4. Might be spreading to younger folk too, and thats what i hear.

Coroners office at Dayton has bodies stacked in refrigerated trailers, cant process em (what a term) fast enuf.

http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2018/05/lawler-us-deaths-jumped-in-2017.html

sidd

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Alexander555 on May 28, 2018, 11:14:54 AM
A few weeks ago there was something in the newspaper about a guy that has a transport company. Before they started with the European Union he had 10 trucks, and he made more money with these 10 trucks. Than with the 100 trucks he has today. Probably they hoped that it would lower their costs by bringing these borders down. But it mainly created more competition. It made everything almost worthless. And now they have to print money day and night. The ECB printed already 2500 billion in the last 3 years. Obama printed 10 000 billion. But it want help. The only winners are the criminals. The human trafficers, the drug dealer. They can go wherever they want, no barriers anymore.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on May 28, 2018, 07:02:15 PM
  The ECB printed already 2500 billion in the last 3 years. Obama printed 10 000 billion. But it want help. 

Clear language can be helpful here.  I believe the EU operates in a system essentially like the US.  Fiscal (government) spending is funded by a combination of tax revenues and issuance of bonds.
The federal bond debt is NOT "printed money" by itself.  It's entirely borrowed from the private sector.

Only the central banks have the ability to "print money."  It's the electronic equivalent these days.
Currently, the US Federal Reserve holds ~4.4 trillion dollars on it's balance sheet, procured by printing money.  That's effectively the sum total of all "printed money" involved.  And it's falling slowly.

Note that while "printing money" has awful connotations to most people, it's not bad.  It purchased real, bona fide securities.  Exactly the kind you or I might have in our retirement accounts.  Macroeconomically, this is the exact equivalent of a "sovereign wealth fund."  The sort that Norway and Saudi Arabia have trillions of.  Nobody whines about these sovereign wealth funds, so why should the Fed's balance sheet come in for criticism?

The Fed creates and eliminates money circulating in the economy.  Printing money is absolutely essential when economic contractions happen, when the money supply contracts on the private side of the economy.  It also needs to happen as an economy grows.   

Too much printing, and inflation becomes a problem.  That's the ONLY downside.  Inflation hasn't been a problem for 20 years or more.  Ergo, there's been no excess of money printing.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on May 30, 2018, 12:07:12 AM
As i have posted before, Case and Deaton(2014, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518393112 ) have shown increasing mortality among white folk above 30 from poisoning, suicide, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis. I attach fig 4. Might be spreading to younger folk too, and thats what i hear.

From the stats I've seen, life expectancy in the USA has dropped among both white and black people (whose life expectancy is significantly lower again, if not so low as native americans'). But it doesn't seem to have dropped among americans of hispanic origin, whose life expectancy is significantly better than the white american average https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/life-expectancy.htm (more akin to that of people in western european countries). Would americans on this forum have any guesses on why there is this ethnic divide?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 25, 2018, 05:17:21 PM
Would you give up having children to save the planet? Meet the couples who have
The environmental toll of having even one child is enormous - 58.6 tonnes of carbon each year. So is going child-free the answer to our climate crisis?
Quote
When people ask her if she has children, Münter, who is 44, has a prepared answer: “No, my husband and I are child-free by choice.” Saying child-free, she argues, doesn’t imply you are deprived, as the more standard “childless” might. And by letting them know it isn’t a sad topic to be avoided, she says, “it opens up the door for them to ask: ‘Oh, that’s interesting, why did you choose not to?’” Münter wants to move the awkward topic of overpopulation into the mainstream. “The more we talk about it, the more comfortable people will feel talking about it and then, maybe, things will change.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/20/give-up-having-children-couples-save-planet-climate-crisis
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on June 25, 2018, 05:27:12 PM
My sister and her husband are child-free by choice, though the reason is mostly a personal lifestyle choice (but also awareness of the dire situation of the environment and the poorer prospects going forward). I note they are also vegan, and strongly anti-consumerism. We need many more people of their attitude and opinions.
I also note with sadness that children being born are brought up mostly by those who hold other attitudes and opinions. An inevitable catch-22.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: ralfy on July 25, 2018, 08:47:11 AM
From List of countries by ecological footprint (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_ecological_footprint):

Quote
The world-average ecological footprint in 2012 was 2.84 global hectares per person (22.1 billion in total). With a world-average biocapacity of 1.73 global hectares (gha) per person (9.2 billion in total), this leads to a global ecological deficit of 1.1 global hectares per person (7.8 billion in total).

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on August 01, 2018, 09:08:07 PM
Population projections for India may be too high:

"Since education level across all of India has increased over time, and is associated with a lower fertility rate, the same projection may predict a drastically smaller population when accounting for education and increasing urbanisation.

Combining both effects, the influence of education appears to dominate, resulting in a lower population projection."

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-s-population-growth-rate-is-overestimated-says-study/story-WhmIANZ4ktoVKbkmHaEkwL.html

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on August 05, 2018, 08:05:32 PM
Aging poulations in India and China:

"Recent reports from the Indian Government show that those over the age of 60 now account for 8.6 percent of the country's population of 1.21 billion, based on the 2011 census.

According to a report by the Ministry of Statistics, the population of those over the age of 60 has increased by 35.5 percent from 76 million to 103 million. This hike has been the largest since India gained Independence in 1947. By comparison, China has 222 million people aged 60 years or older as of the end of 2015, which makes up 16.1 percent of its total population. "

"India's population between 2001 and 2011 grew by 17.7 percent while the population of those over 60 grew at the rate at 35.5 percent."

" the Railways – one of India's top employers – has to foot a huge pension bill with the number of pensioners now at 133.5 million. "

 http://en.people.cn/n3/2018/0803/c90000-9487568.html

sidd

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on August 05, 2018, 08:20:15 PM
Population projections for India may be too high:

"Since education level across all of India has increased over time, and is associated with a lower fertility rate, the same projection may predict a drastically smaller population when accounting for education and increasing urbanisation.

Combining both effects, the influence of education appears to dominate, resulting in a lower population projection."

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-s-population-growth-rate-is-overestimated-says-study/story-WhmIANZ4ktoVKbkmHaEkwL.html

sidd
Well luckily they will have hundreds of millions of Bangladeshis fleeing across the border within the next decade or two to make up for the shortfall.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 06, 2018, 05:19:29 AM
Regarding the aging population, it's worth noting that this is increasingly a worldwide phenomenon. See the world bank data here https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.65UP.TO.ZS

The proportion of the world's population over 65 is now rising increasingly sharply. And it's going to keep on rising, since as Hans Rosling put it, we hit peak child in the 1980s. This means we don't expect to hit peak 60 year old until at least the 2040s [assuming no drastic die-off by then], peak 70 year old until the 2050s, etc. Or indeed a tad later, due to a subsequent drop in mortality before age 60.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: RikW on August 06, 2018, 12:56:27 PM
Though this graph is probably the most important one (more girls --> more possible pregnant women in 10-30 years)
 https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.0014.FE.IN

And that number is still rising
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: anthropocene on August 06, 2018, 11:06:26 PM
Recent "Warm Regards" podcast hits the nail on the head (About half way through) and shows why making people the enemy of climate change is wrong-headed. 
https://soundcloud.com/warmregardspodcast/this-is-zero-hour-the-voices-behind-the-july-21-youth-climate-march

Basically this thinking  comes from "blue dot" planet earth environmentalism: i.e. The earth is a pristine natural wonder and it is people that have caused all the problems. Not a very effective political statement and it hasn't got very far up to this point. Also setting people vs people (e.g. developed countries against developing, developing countries that are controlling population growth vs those that aren't) is most likely to have negative consequences. Yes, I most probably am part of the "blue dot" generation - time's moved on & that should now be history. Fortunately the next generation have it right - putting people left, right and centre in the potential impacts of climate change and also the solutions.

As usual, Warm Regards is a good listen - if nothing else - because of how motivational it is.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on September 25, 2018, 11:53:37 PM
US fertility drops to all time low:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db318.htm

sidd


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on October 20, 2018, 08:11:46 AM
More on US fertility drop:

"the trend holds across races and for urban and rural areas."

"The biggest recent drops in birthrate have been among teenagers as well as people in their 20s. In 2016, the teen birthrate hit at an all-time low after peaking in 1991."

"William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, said that what struck him about the new report is the figures on Hispanic women, who have traditionally had high fertility rates. From 2007 to 2017, Hispanic women experienced a 26 percent drop in fertility rates in rural areas, a 29 percent drop in smaller metro areas and a 30 percent decline in large metro areas.

He said the fertility rates for Hispanic women in urban areas are now below the “replacement rate” of 2.1 children per woman, which would keep the population stable."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2018/10/19/us-fertility-rates-collapse-finger-pointing-blame-follow/

report at

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db323.htm

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on October 20, 2018, 08:28:45 AM
Thanks for the article sidd. Good news for Mother Earth, considering the high levels of cosumption and pollution in the US.
What's driving me nuts is quotes like this:
Quote
Fertility and birthrates are among the most closely monitored indicators of a country’s economic health. When too high, a surging youth population might be unable to find work and become susceptible to unrest. When too low, economies can rapidly contract, and a small working-age population has to support a large retired population. The United States is somewhat more buffered because of its relatively high levels of immigration, but if the decline in fertility continues, demographers say, the country may face an extreme population imbalance in the future.
Oh dear, the economic ponzy scheme is at risk. The children are planned as slaves to the old people, we must have them.
We are told that world population should stabilize at 10 billion in 2050. Part of that will be, has to be, developed countries in contraction. So instead of embracing it people are alarmed, and next will come policies to increase birth rates, while the globe is far over carrying capacity.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on October 20, 2018, 11:25:41 AM
I found this comment to the article as insightful:
Quote
I'm a young Millennial/Gen Z and myself and most of my friends aren't planning on having children. It's not that we don't want to, it's that it doesn't feel within reach for us in this current economy. 

In an America where wages are stagnant, good jobs are hard to find, hospital bills (even for something like a routine uncomplicated birth) can bankrupt a family beyond repair, cost-of-living is rising faster than we can keep up, climate change is going unaddressed, and the average college graduate is saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, is it REALLY any wonder why people aren't having kids?

I note all this is before having to bail out improperly funded pension plans and social security, knowing full well their own generation will never get the same terms.
And of course the ever-receding affordability of housing.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on October 20, 2018, 02:24:37 PM
Oren this is one of my absolute biggest pet peeves!!  You are so right.  If we know population has to peak and recede at SOME point, likely in just a few decades, what possible rationale is there for not tackling the demographic transition NOW, rather than later?  It will be easier down the road??

I fear the answer is that our "planners" know full well that the global economy and its underlying system of finance, money creation, interest and growth will become catastrophically unstable under contraction.  Without a new economics, there is no hope of ever taming the beast.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on October 20, 2018, 09:00:21 PM
In terms of CO2 emission, i note that, in general,  cutting birthrate in developed countries helps more than cutting birthrates in poor ones, since hunas in rick countires emit much more fossil carbon.

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on October 21, 2018, 12:11:44 AM
In terms of CO2 emission, i note that, in general,  cutting birthrate in developed countries helps more than cutting birthrates in poor ones, since hunas in rick countires emit much more fossil carbon.

Except the populations in developed countries don't stop growing. We just import people from other places. You could argue that this is even worse, since it allows a population growing much to fast for its own borders to alleviate some of the pressure through emigration, meaning not only does the population of the developed world not decline (and so CO2 consumption is unaffected), but the population growth in the developing world slows down less quickly.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Red on October 26, 2018, 12:19:20 PM
Some people think there exists a conspiracy that prevents the media from ever mentioning the charged word, "overpopulation." Conspiracies do exist but, in this case, my impression is that population is such a charged issue simply because it has to do with the fact that we are all humans and discussing about reducing population touches some inner mechanisms of our psyche that we feel uncomfortable about.

But there is more to that: the real problem with overpopulation is that most decision makers lack the concept of "overshoot,"  a view that didn't exist in the study of social systems until Jay Forrester introduced it in the 1960s.If you don't understand overshoot, at best you can understand that there are limits to population, but you can't understand that population could exceed the limits and crash down ruinously with the deterioration of the agricultural system that feeds it.

The lack of a the concept of overshoot may well be what leads the concerned and the unconcerned to minimize the problem. Many people seem to think that the "demographic transition," the reduction in fertility observed in most rich nations of the world, will spread over all humankind and stabilize the world's population at a sustainable level without any need for governments to intervene to force lower birth rates.

Almost certainly, it is too late for that: we should have started decades ago. But only China implemented a serious policy birth control -- for the rest of the world it was a historical failure.

In the discussion, below, Bernard Gilland discusses the problems we will face in the attempt of stabilizing the human population mainly in terms of the degradation of the agricultural system in its dependence on non-sustainable resources. It is not the only problem, with climate change potentially able to do even more damage to agriculture. At the same time, the many young people in poor countries will push population onto a still growing trajectory. If these two tendencies, population growth and agricultural decline, crash against each other, the result might well be a Seneca Cliff for the world's human population.

https://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on October 27, 2018, 01:56:11 PM
No need to suppose a conspiracy.
- Most media attention falls on national issues, but population is a global concern. (And national population trends are often very different to global trends)
- Most media attention is focused on sudden new events, ie news, but population growth is a constant steady process (the absolute growth of 75 to 80 million people per year has basically been unchanged for the last forty years, and the fact it’s forecast to gradually slow down makes it still less dramatic)
- Some media sources get wary of printing anything that might be construed as backing family planning
- Many media sources get wary of printing anything that might be construed as racist
- Practically no major politicians or celebs beyond David Attenborough are bringing the subject up, and media attention also tends to be very personality driven.

TLDR: Important is not the same as newsworthy
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 27, 2018, 04:01:23 PM
We have blown well past the human carrying capacity of the planet and anyone who would suggest otherwise is either misinformed or duplicitous.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: vox_mundi on October 27, 2018, 04:54:14 PM
This could go in Limits to Growth, but population is the ultimate cause. Peak Food is in the rear-view mirror...

The World Has Reached Peak Chicken, Peak Rice, And Peak Milk (https://www.fastcompany.com/3041927/the-world-has-reached-peak-chicken-peak-rice-and-peak-milk)
https://www.fastcompany.com/3041927/the-world-has-reached-peak-chicken-peak-rice-and-peak-milk

We still haven’t reached peak oil. But peak milk happened in 2004, peak soybeans in 2009, and peak chicken in 2006. Rice peaked in 1988.

A new study published in Ecology and Society explains that 21 key resources that humans rely on–mostly food–have already passed their peak rate of production.

“Peak,” in this case, doesn’t mean that we’re actually producing fewer chickens or less milk yet. Instead, the researchers looked at the fact that the rate of production has plateaued, at the same time that population is increasing.

The researchers analyzed production rates over time for 27 key resources, including some fossil fuels. But while they found that nonrenewable resources like coal, oil, and gas haven’t peaked, most foods have.

“We were actually surprised to find so many peak year signs–surprised that this is such a consistent pattern happening in the last 10-20 years,” Seppelt says.

The production rate is slowing across so many foods at the same time partly because each relies on the same limited resources, like land and water. Some foods rely on each other, like meat, an industry that uses around 70% of the grain grown in the U.S.

... “We approached the whole thing with an open mind,” he says. “We didn’t want it to be apocalyptic. We tried to seek patterns that give reliable information about how we really harvest the Earth, knowing that no one really wants to experience the time when the whole thing plateaus.”

... “The major part of the story is that renewable resources aren’t as infinite as we always thought,” ... “We should carefully use them. ...”
____________________________

Open Access: Seppelt, R., A. M. Manceur, J. Liu, E. P. Fenichel, and S. Klotz.  Synchronized peak-rate years of global resources use (https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/). Ecology and Society 19(4): 50. 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07039-190450

(https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/figure4.png)
Fig. 4. Synchrony of the peak-rate years is evident. For each of the 16 out of 20 statistically independent global resources showing a peak-rate year, one peak-rate year out of the 5000 from the bootstrap resample was randomly selected. The mode of the resulting smoothed distribution of 16 peak-rate years was obtained, and the process repeated 5000 times resulting in the mode histogram, with a median of 2006 (1989-2008) in red. A nonparametric goodness of fit test rejected (P < 0.001) the two-sided null hypothesis that the histogram was sampled from a uniform distribution (i.e., no synchrony).

Quote
Introduction
Sustainable appropriation of nonrenewable and renewable resources is required for society’s long-term well-being. Four decades ago, Meadows’ limits to growth model reignited the old Malthusian debate about the limits of the world’s resources (Mathus 1798, Bardi 2000, Griggs et al. 2013). Limits to growth of specific resources such as oil (Hallock et al. 2014) or fossil water (Gleick and Palaniappan 2010) have been analyzed separately, by estimating the peak-rate, or maximum, year, defined as the year of maximum resource appropriation rate. For which renewable and nonrenewable resources can a peak-rate year be identified given the most up-to-date time series of human resource appropriation? Exploring the relation among peak-rate years for multiple resources then raises an important second question: are global peak-rate years synchronized, i.e., occurring at approximately the same time in the long history of human civilization? Calculating the appropriation rate of resources allows the detection of the maximum increase year or peak-rate year, which indicates the timing of scarcity or change in demand (Fig. 1). We analyzed peak-rate years for many of the world’s major resources and found synchrony in the peak-rate years of statistically independent resources by a method that is standardized, nonparametric, generalizable, and allows analysis of nonrenewable and renewable resources (Table 1), and we will conclude by giving clear implications for sustainable development goals (Arrow et al. 1995).

We focused on 27 nonrenewable and renewable resources essential for human well-being and daily needs, e.g., energy and food. ...

The data sources are listed in Table 2 (https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/figure2.html). All data is accessible at Figshare http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.929619.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on October 27, 2018, 05:44:17 PM

. . .
We analyzed peak-rate years for many of the world’s major resources and found synchrony in the peak-rate years of statistically independent resources by a method that is standardized, nonparametric, generalizable, and allows analysis of nonrenewable and renewable resources (Table 1), and we will conclude by giving clear implications for sustainable development goals (Arrow et al. 1995).

We focused on 27 nonrenewable and renewable resources essential for human well-being and daily needs, e.g., energy and food. ...

The data sources are listed in Table 2 (https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss4/art50/figure2.html). All data is accessible at Figshare http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.929619.
[/quote]

Something doesn't make sense at all with this analysis.  They note stabilization of production rate of a range of products, rather than continued increase, and *presume* that resource limitation is the cause. 

If this were the cause, commodity prices would have been increasing since the "peak" of their production.  Demand for food is quite inelastic.  We're all going to eat to satisfy hunger.  If there isn't enough grain being produced, prices will skyrocket.  Here's the past 10 years of rice prices, attached.

I have no doubt but that resource limitations in the face of increasing population will devastate humanity.  We're just simply not there yet.

Low prices have inhibited increased production, not resource limitations.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on October 27, 2018, 05:47:31 PM
You are assuming that everyone is able to pay the growing rate for rice which is simply not the case. There are 1 billion people who are malnourished and they depend on outside market mechanisms to eat what they are able. A farmers decision to reduce the planting of any crop has nothing to do with the 30 odd million who starved to death in 2017.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on October 27, 2018, 05:54:02 PM
You are assuming that everyone is able to pay the growing rate for rice which is simply not the case. There are 1 billion people who are malnourished and they depend on outside market mechanisms to eat what they are able.

Well, there will imminently be significant-scale famine in Yemen, but famines across the world are less of a problem generally than they used to be.

On average, more of the world is able to afford basic necessities than before.
While poor nutrition is definitely a problem, the number one nutrition-related problem across the developing world is obesity.

No, rice hasn't become cheap because fewer people are able to afford to eat.  Quite a lot more people are able to afford to eat too many calories.

Edit:  Figure attached. global rates of extreme poverty have plummeted, not increased.  Almost nobody is failing to eat rice due to inadequate income:
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on October 27, 2018, 09:04:36 PM
the 30 odd million who starved to death in 2017.

Where on earth did you get that statistic from?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on October 27, 2018, 10:15:38 PM
the 30 odd million who starved to death in 2017.

Where on earth did you get that statistic from?

I thought I'd dig into that figure.  It may come from this story:
20 million starving to death: inside the worst famine since World War
https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/1/15653970/south-sudan-hunger-crisis-famine

20 million at risk of starving.  I don't know how many actually perished.  But to bring this  back to the discussion, this famine really had nothing to do with "peak rice."  It, like Yemen today, is a result of civil war and disrupted systems for food distribution.

Rice is pretty cheap, and cheaper than it used to be.  Global incomes of the poor are up.  If we've reached "peak rice," it reflects soft demand, not resource constraints on production.

This doesn't mean the world won't face "peak food" in the near future, related to resource constraints.  It's just that that's not remotely the situation today.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 04, 2018, 01:51:51 PM
Not sure if this is the best thread for this article, but it’s related:

'The most intellectual creature to ever walk Earth is destroying its only home'
By Jane Goodall
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/03/the-most-intellectual-creature-to-ever-walk-earth-is-destroying-its-only-home
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on November 09, 2018, 10:02:24 PM
Fertility rates worldwide dropping: worldwide average total fertility rate drops from 4.7 to 2.4 from 1950-2017, population growth rate now 1.1, decreasing from 2.0

[TFR is total fertility rate, ASFR is age specific fertility rate]

"From 1950 to 2017, TFRs decreased by 49·4% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 46·4–52·0). The TFR decreased  from 4·7 livebirths (4·5–4·9) to 2·4 livebirths (2·2–2·5), and the ASFR of mothers aged 10–19 years decreased from  37 livebirths (34–40) to 22 livebirths (19–24) per 1000 women. Despite reductions in the TFR, the global population  has  been  increasing  by  an  average  of  83·8  million  people  per  year  since  1985.  The  global  population  increased  by 197·2% (193·3–200·8) since 1950, from 2·6 billion (2·5–2·6) to 7·6 billion (7·4–7·9) people in 2017; much of this increase was in the proportion of the global population in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The global annual rate  of  population  growth  increased  between  1950  and  1964,  when  it  peaked  at  2·0%;  this  rate  then  remained  nearly constant until 1970 and then decreased to 1·1% in 2017."

https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(18)32278-5.pdf

open access. read all about it.

coverage at

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46118103

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on November 10, 2018, 02:22:58 AM
The other studies in that series are also worth a glance, visavis the state of the world: https://www.thelancet.com/gbd?utm_campaign=gbd17

One thing that the editorial flags up is that progress in reducing adult mortality rates may be stalling just at the moment (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32858-7/fulltext "In 2017, global adult mortality rates decreases plateaued, and, in some cases, mortality rates increased.").  This is obviously bad news given the general association between death and suffering, but may also suggest a slower rate of global population growth than had been forecast, if life expectancy rise worldwide is indeed slowing down.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on November 10, 2018, 04:30:22 PM
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46118103
"The report, part of the Global Burden of Diseases analysis, says affected countries will need to consider ... introducing policies to encourage women to have more children, which often fail. Report author Prof Murray argues: "On current trends there will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65 and that's very difficult to sustain global society."

OMFG!!! OK demographers, answer these questions: "Is INFINITY the ideal population for humans on planet Earth? (I didn't think so). If not, when is the best time for our species to plateau its global population and take on the challenges of the "demographic transition", including an aging population for a generation or two?" Oh, right, sometime in the future. That makes sense.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on November 10, 2018, 05:55:09 PM
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46118103
"The report, part of the Global Burden of Diseases analysis, says affected countries will need to consider ... introducing policies to encourage women to have more children, which often fail. Report author Prof Murray argues: "On current trends there will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65 and that's very difficult to sustain global society."

OMFG!!! OK demographers, answer these questions: "Is INFINITY the ideal population for humans on planet Earth? (I didn't think so). If not, when is the best time for our species to plateau its global population and take on the challenges of the "demographic transition", including an aging population for a generation or two?" Oh, right, sometime in the future. That makes sense.

Growth systems require and/or cause growth of every major input or output of the system. Humans as both units of production and consumption are arguably the most important component of this growth system which we have used to organize global society. If we were to somehow halt the growth of the world's population or perhaps establish a trend of a subtle decrease, we would bring capitalism to its knees.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on November 10, 2018, 06:19:19 PM
Exactly, SH, exactly.  There is no plan to tame the beast because the beast can't be tamed.  The economic order is far less stable than the ecological order.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on December 03, 2018, 11:35:31 PM
US life expectancy dropped a little further in 2017: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46389147

Population growth worldwide may yet slow down still further if more countries hit a life expectancy peak. Currently it seems to be just the UK and USA, though...
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on December 05, 2018, 04:56:54 AM
Thought I would share these two graphs. The first shows the correlation between CO2 ppm in the atmosphere and global population from 1958 to 2018. The correlation is 0.9941975 (with 1 being perfect correlation and 0 being inverse correlation).

The second graph shows the same thing but with the global urban population. The correlation is 0.9996965. When a simple linear regression model treating urban population as a predictor for CO2 ppm in the atmosphere is run on an 80:20 test (to predict 20% of the data that we already have) the results are:

actual            predicted
1. 315.2910   314.7350
2. 315.9758   315.6139
3. 318.9867   319.3612
4. 330.2383   330.3226
5. 341.1258   340.4967
6. 342.7775   341.9325

I'm not suggesting that this is a complete picture by any means, but it's interesting.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on December 05, 2018, 07:38:58 PM
Thought I would share these two graphs. The first shows the correlation between CO2 ppm in the atmosphere and global population from 1958 to 2018. The correlation is 0.9941975

The second graph shows the same thing but with the global urban population. The correlation is 0.9996965.
How did you resist saying that, all other things being equal, a rise in population to x billion implies a CO2 ppm of y ?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on December 06, 2018, 03:10:05 AM
Thought I would share these two graphs. The first shows the correlation between CO2 ppm in the atmosphere and global population from 1958 to 2018. The correlation is 0.9941975

The second graph shows the same thing but with the global urban population. The correlation is 0.9996965.
How did you resist saying that, all other things being equal, a rise in population to x billion implies a CO2 ppm of y ?

Hah, I've been batted down for making bold claims so many times that I thought I would play it safe. But also, both models (population total, and urban population), tended to under estimate the co2ppm the closer to present and into the future. So, for example, it predicts 408.3 ppm for a population of 8 billion, though we're already over 408.3 ppm and just under 7.7 billion.

That said, ceteris paribus, a global population of 9.5 billion would be 437.28ppm, 10 billion would be 446.94 and 11 billion gives 466.26 ppm. Again, all are likely to be low. Just for fun, upper estimate for population for 2100 is about 16 billion, which predicts 562.87 ppm of co2.

Just to demonstrate how striking this correlation is. Compare it to the one that exists between co2 ppm in the atmosphere to global energy consumption of co2 emitting fuels in TWH (I included nat gas since CH4 eventually contributes to co2). Correlation is 0.9927435, a worse fit than either of the other two.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on December 06, 2018, 03:58:47 AM
I don't think this has predictive value. Both curves are sadly growing steadily and appear to correlate well, but their drivers are quiet different. And should population plateau at last, CO2 will most probably continue growing.
Total population x Affluence x Emission intensity = Rate of change of CO2.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on December 06, 2018, 05:05:14 AM
I don't think this has predictive value. Both curves are sadly growing steadily and appear to correlate well, but their drivers are quiet different. And should population plateau at last, CO2 will most probably continue growing.
Total population x Affluence x Emission intensity = Rate of change of CO2.
Why'd you have to go and ruin the fun oren? Of corse it is one of those beautiful correlations that are overly simplistic.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on December 06, 2018, 05:06:18 AM
Sorry...  :-[
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on December 06, 2018, 05:16:11 AM
Sorry...  :-[
Science would be so much easier if it didn't have to be right.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on December 06, 2018, 05:32:29 AM
Re: Science would be so much easier if it didn't have to be right.

And prettier. Many beautiful theories have foundered on ugly facts.

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on December 06, 2018, 07:52:06 AM

A wonderful job making the graphs wdmn!
Did you make them believing they might follow so closely?

The correlation is amazing, and unexpected - at least by me.

Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on December 06, 2018, 08:04:22 AM
Thank you Terry. I actually got the idea from looking at the attached graphs. I couldn't help but notice that the shape of growth in co2 (upper left blue) and population (upper left red) were nearly identical, going back even as far as pre-industrial.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: gerontocrat on December 06, 2018, 06:33:46 PM
Thank you Terry. I actually got the idea from looking at the attached graphs. I couldn't help but notice that the shape of growth in co2 (upper left blue) and population (upper left red) were nearly identical, going back even as far as pre-industrial.
As Oren said:-
Total population x Affluence x Emission intensity = Rate of change of CO2.

Looking at the graphs, the GDP growth is far steeper than population growth (post WWII), and this would produce a lower correlation if used instead of population? Is this because Emission Intensity per unit of GDP has fallen somewhat.

And again, this equation surely gives CO2 emissions.

To do the change in CO2 ppm, one would have to put in the effectiveness of the carbon sinks. E.g. the scripps keeling curve website states that the effectiveness of the ocean sinks today is less than in pre-industrial times.

Suddenly a beautiful simple X-Y equation has A, B, C, D......... to be chucked in as well.

Ho-hum.

Ps: The point is still valid. Until today (and until 2030 at least) the more people, the more economic activity, the more emissions and the more CO2 ppm (even if the well-off do more than their fair share). It is built into the IPCC scenarios.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on December 06, 2018, 08:02:42 PM
Global GDP per annum and co2 ppm have a correlation of 0.9734885.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on January 04, 2019, 11:04:23 PM
China population decreasing:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/01/04/asia-pacific/social-issues-asia-pacific/chinas-population-shrinks-first-time-70-years-despite-two-child-policy-experts/

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sebastian Jones on January 05, 2019, 06:05:35 AM
This is fabulous news!
It is very important, even though the linked article bemoans the trend as presaging a drop in GDP growth.
If the juggernaut of population growth can change course in a nation like China, there may be hope for the world after all.
Now I just hope this trend continues and expands in tandem with the shift to renewable energy and away from ICE transportation.
It is a rare thing indeed to see such a hopeful announcement.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on January 05, 2019, 03:15:43 PM
I am always totally mystified by the "demographic crisis" cries when a society reaches peak population or begins to recede.  Do these people truly believe that "infinity" is the best population level for their country? And if not, don't they see that the peak will have to come at some point, so why not "now"?! It makes no sense.  What makes them think it will be easier at some unspecified point in the future?  We need a complete paradigm shift whereby tackling the demographic transition NOW becomes the organizing goal of every society.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on January 05, 2019, 06:32:31 PM
I am always totally mystified by the "demographic crisis" cries when a society reaches peak population or begins to recede.  Do these people truly believe that "infinity" is the best population level for their country? And if not, don't they see that the peak will have to come at some point, so why not "now"?! It makes no sense.  What makes them think it will be easier at some unspecified point in the future?  We need a complete paradigm shift whereby tackling the demographic transition NOW becomes the organizing goal of every society.

There's a happy medium where a population pyramid looks basically rectangular with a fertility rate of about 2 children per woman. Right now, the lower half of China"s population pyramid looks more like a mushroomhttps://goo.gl/images/pPBTzA . This has the risk of going down to fewer and fewer children to support the elderly of generations before, now that there's a culture of one child families and with each generation there'll be fewer people of reproductive age to have children as well.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on January 05, 2019, 06:42:45 PM
I think that given the global population is above the planet's sustainable carrying capacity, the new generation must be smaller than the one before.  The alternative is much worse.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on January 05, 2019, 06:47:54 PM
This has the risk of going down to fewer and fewer children to support the elderly of generations before, now that there's a culture of one child families and with each generation there'll be fewer people of reproductive age to have children as well.

This argument, too few workers to support too many retirees,  makes intuitive sense, but I don't think it makes economic sense.  A hundred years ago, when there were no social programs, a typical family might have one bread winner supporting a wife, six children, and an elderly grandparent or two.  Perhaps (I'm guessing) an 8:1 ratio of dependents to workers.

A worker back then represented much less real income than a worker today--we've had 100 years of productivity gains per employee.

Now, a dependent today costs much more to support (especially medical care for the elderly).  Nevertheless, if we could could support such a high ratio of dependents per worker back then, I don't see why we should have much of a challenge with perhaps a 4:1 ratio today.

Seems to me the big challenge isn't the shape of the demographic pyramid, but having too little of the accumulated productivity gains going into workers' paychecks.  It's a wealth/income inequality problem that necessitates having so many workers per dependent.

Medical costs would be the second great challenge.  For the US, simply adopting cost controls used by every other advanced economy would solve most of that problem.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on January 05, 2019, 07:32:32 PM
I understand the basic argument that demographers are making about the supposed need for younger workers to support the elderly.  The point is - as Oren points out - that we are already far past the global carrying capacity for humans and we need to peak, and then reduce, the human population.  It will not be easier to do this in the future when natural systems are more degraded than they are now.  We need to take it on NOW. Anything else is just kicking the can down the road.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on January 05, 2019, 07:40:46 PM
I understand the basic argument that demographers are making about the supposed need for younger workers to support the elderly.  The point is - as Oren points out - that we are already far past the global carrying capacity for humans and we need to peak, and then reduce, the human population.  It will not be easier to do this in the future when natural systems are more degraded than they are now.  We need to take it on NOW. Anything else is just kicking the can down the road.
So we have two options here.

1) Have an annual event where everyone over retirement age is placed on ice floes and left to their own devices in the Greenland Sea or another location equally hostile to life.

2) Have more wars in developing regions where surplus young labor from all countries is expanded on the fronts, generating $$$ for mechanization and increasing automation back on the home fronts, until the abundance of global youth is brought into line with employment needs under an economy that is by then, proportionally substantially less reliant on young human labor.

Surprisingly, the second option actually sounds quite reasonable! This is also what keeps things moving along (or rather, cemented in place) in 1984, which can hardly be coincidental.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on January 05, 2019, 07:56:19 PM
I understand the basic argument that demographers are making about the supposed need for younger workers to support the elderly.  The point is - as Oren points out - that we are already far past the global carrying capacity for humans and we need to peak, and then reduce, the human population.  It will not be easier to do this in the future when natural systems are more degraded than they are now.  We need to take it on NOW. Anything else is just kicking the can down the road.

Totally agree.  The civilization-threatening problems we face are multiplied by overpopulation.  I was just pointing out that non-optimal demographic age curves are a relatively trivial problem in comparison.  We can (and should) afford to have lots of retirees per worker, if that's a consequence of getting overpopulation and excessive births under control.  I find it gob-smacking that so many people don't see this.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on January 05, 2019, 08:40:30 PM

Medical costs would be the second great challenge.  For the US, simply adopting cost controls used by every other advanced economy would solve most of that problem.
Can you expand on the bolded.
I've never head of "cost controls" on healthcare since I left the US.
AFAIK every Canadian, or at least every Ontarian, is entitled to the best treatments available anywhere.
Unproven quackery excepted of course.


Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on January 05, 2019, 08:45:29 PM
I think that given the global population is above the planet's sustainable carrying capacity, the new generation must be smaller than the one before.  The alternative is much worse.

It's not just a larger or smaller binary choice, though. Imho, the best thing would be if each generation was *slightly* smaller than the one before. If the next generation is *a lot* smaller, however, you run into the problems I've described above. So we might be better off aiming for a fertility rate of 1.9 rather than 1.1 (EDIT: or than 1.5), basically.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on January 05, 2019, 09:36:54 PM

Medical costs would be the second great challenge.  For the US, simply adopting cost controls used by every other advanced economy would solve most of that problem.
Can you expand on the bolded.
I've never head of "cost controls" on healthcare since I left the US.
AFAIK every Canadian, or at least every Ontarian, is entitled to the best treatments available anywhere.
Unproven quackery excepted of course.


Terry

Sure.  There's no shortage of concrete examples.  When the Canadian (or UK, or EU, or Singapore, or...etc) decide to make Viagra available, they decide (in negotiations with Pfizer) exactly how much each pill will cost the health care system.  In the US, Pfizer charges whatever the market will bear.  Offhand, I'm guessing Viagra costs 3 times as much  in the US.

Multiply that by every other kind of pill by every manufacturer in the world.  Availability of generics reduces that differential, but US doctors get perverse incentives to prescribe patent-only meds.

In the US, the same holds for daily charges for hospital bed-days, including ICU bed-days.  Medicare pays fixed amounts, but each hospital gets to demand what they demand of insurers.  Big insurers, having more market clout, get better rates.  Uninsured folks, insanely, have to pay the very highest amounts.

In the US, the same holds for medical devices.  You need a stent for a cardiac artery in the US, the cost will be whatever the market will bear, not a price negotiated on behalf of the whole healthcare system.  Or use of a defibrillator.  Or a patented bed for control of pressure ulcers. Or, or, or, or. . .

Insanely, US doctors are vehemently opposed to "price controls."  It's insane, because doctor fees are the *only* part of the system that are currently under effective price controls.  Medicare pays a specific, set, non-negotiated fee for a doctor's time, and all the insurers pay a fixed percentage close to that.  Of course, uninsured folk have to pay whatever the market price will bear.  And almost nobody shops for doctors on the basis of the demanded fee structure.

So, yes, Canada has strong price controls while making sure all essential needs are covered.  The US has minimal price controls, where "coverage" isn't necessarily what determines what consumers actually can afford.

This isn't a feature of single-payer healthcare.  Some countries enact effective price controls under "all-payer" healthcare systems.  Medicare in the US (currently) is a single-payer system, with utterly inadequate price controls.  That's why Medicare is far more expensive than the Canadian system, while still imposing steep premiums, copays, and deductibles.  "Medicare for all" isn't remotely a solution.  Cost controls would make *any* system vastly more affordable, certainly including the ObamaCare structure.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on January 06, 2019, 07:02:46 AM
Chinagov confirms: population decline unstoppable

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-46772503

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on March 27, 2019, 05:42:37 PM
Male Birth Control Pill Passes Human Safety Tests
Quote
A new male birth control pill passed tests of safety and tolerability when healthy men used it daily for a month, and it produced hormone responses consistent with effective contraception, according to researchers at two institutions testing the drug. The Phase 1 study results was presented Sunday, March 24 at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

The experimental male oral contraceptive is called 11-beta-methyl-19-nortestosterone dodecylcarbonate, or 11-beta-MNTDC. It is a modified testosterone that has the combined actions of a male hormone (androgen) and a progesterone....
https://www.technologynetworks.com/drug-discovery/news/male-birth-control-pill-passes-human-safety-tests-317223
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on April 22, 2019, 05:23:59 AM
I reply to

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,2205.msg196289.html#msg196289

Over my life and in my experience i have seen exactly one policy that cuts fertility rate and that is education of girls. Economic standing does not seem to matter, the same results are seen in saud as in bangladesh and africa and india.

it takes a generation, but it works. Educated women take control of their own bodies and their family and, most important,  make sure all their children are educated.

One of those gifts that keep on giving. Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly, educating boys has much smaller effect. Men think with their penis too much of the time.

sidd

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on April 22, 2019, 04:55:02 PM
I think one key reason why educating women and girls works is that without access to education, the main route to gaining social status and financial security as a woman will always be getting married and having kids. The alternatives without education are generally low status options like manual labour, prostitution, or never moving out of your parents' house. But these would neither get you social status nor get you someone to look after you in your old age.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on April 23, 2019, 01:06:46 PM
As a would be astronomer, the long term growth rate of a planet's population must be zero. Not +0.001%/annum, not -0.001%/annum, but zilch. Anything else leads to extinction through overshoot and collapse or dieoff.
Might as well be ASAP, while we still have a rich biosphere.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: b_lumenkraft on April 23, 2019, 01:21:02 PM
It's actually minus 4 % Tom. Edit: (at least for us as humans now)

BTW, this is like the best talk i've ever seen; a must watch even if you are not into maths and modeling.


Mike Lee: World Modelling


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDZkKvC8r40
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on April 23, 2019, 03:32:22 PM
b_lumenkraft:
That is actually the short term necessity (from the astronomical viewpoint).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: b_lumenkraft on April 23, 2019, 03:36:42 PM
Okay, from an astronomical standpoint, what is humans anyway?  :P
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on April 23, 2019, 05:57:05 PM
b_lumenkraft:
From an astronomical perspective, bupkis. From a human perspective, a little more.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: vox_mundi on April 24, 2019, 04:46:36 AM
For Some Millennials, Climate Change Clock Ticks Louder Than Biological One   
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna993331

“I had this internal struggle: ‘Do I really want to bring a child into this world?’” a Seattle 29-year-old said.

... “There is this sense that if you don’t have kids soon, you could be putting them in a harder position,” Lundahl said. “But if you do have them, that will not be easy either, with the storms, the intense droughts, the precariousness of the times. It’s like you are playing with two ticking time bombs — yours and the planet’s.”   

... With each child, citizens of the developed world increase their carbon footprint sixfold, adding roughly 60 metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, one oft-quoted study concluded. The calculation figures the probability that each offspring may also reproduce — potentially expanding an individual's carbon footprint for decades after they die. Put another way, forgoing having a child has more than 25 times the carbon-reducing impact of giving up a gas-burning car.

... “Procreating both contributes to climate change and creates a new victim of climate change,” said Rieder, a research professor and father of one. “I don’t know whether people should have kids, or whether they should have a big family, but I do believe that climate change should be part of their deliberation, because the consequences of bringing a new person into a changing world are really morally serious.”
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on April 24, 2019, 01:23:43 PM
 The calculation figures the probability that each offspring may also reproduce — potentially expanding an individual's carbon footprint for decades after they die.

Then it should also figure the probability that each of those offsprings's children will also reproduce...ad infinitum, so that the carbon contribution of having a child is millions of times greater than not having a child.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: b_lumenkraft on April 24, 2019, 01:36:49 PM
The best way to control population growth is not to bring the rich countries down. It's bringing the poor countries up that has a real impact!

See Youtube video above for numbers and arguments.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on April 24, 2019, 05:51:05 PM
The best way to control population growth is not to bring the rich countries down. It's bringing the poor countries up that has a real impact!

See Youtube video above for numbers and arguments.
I don't mean to be rude but this is incredibly wrong and is the reason why we have had exploding GHG emissions and worsening AGW since the 1970s-1980s.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: b_lumenkraft on April 24, 2019, 05:56:04 PM
Have you even watched the video Bbr?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on April 24, 2019, 07:15:35 PM
Have you even watched the video Bbr?
Have you seen China's impact on the planet since it was "elevated"? India's impact as it is "elevating"? Truth > propaganda, the burgeoning global middle class is the reason the planet is being obliterated.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on April 25, 2019, 12:49:44 AM
What about the Environmental Kuznets Curve? Will that affect China and then India in the future?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sebastian Jones on April 25, 2019, 01:44:01 AM
What about the Environmental Kuznets Curve? Will that affect China and then India in the future?
The Kuznets curve is a model, so by definition it will have no effect.
And that is leaving aside the considerable doubts that the phenomenon it purports to describes is valid.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: magnamentis on April 25, 2019, 03:01:15 AM
The calculation figures the probability that each offspring may also reproduce — potentially expanding an individual's carbon footprint for decades after they die.

Then it should also figure the probability that each of those offsprings's children will also reproduce...ad infinitum, so that the carbon contribution of having a child is millions of times greater than not having a child.

that thought goes into the right direction, no further details would be TLTR but
procreation for the sake of procreation is animalic and soonder or later procreation
will be done with meaningful purpose and wisdom while the current majority will
protest to see there "human" in fact "animalic" rights taken from them.

one fact ist that the lower the level of a creature the higher the procreation rate is.
i don't dare to giving this fact a ultimate value but of course have an opition on the matte ;)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on June 12, 2019, 08:46:51 PM
Ocean Preservation Society board member Leilani Munter describes her choice to go childless.
5-minute video, spoken English with French subtitles.
Quote
Brut nature FR (@brutnaturefr) 6/10/19, 2:22 PM
"J'ai décidé de ne pas d'avoir d'enfant pour préserver le futur de notre planète."

Ce choix, @LeilaniMunter l'a fait il y a 25 ans. Aujourd'hui, face aux crises environnementales, elle est plus que jamais convaincue d'avoir pris la bonne décision.
https://twitter.com/brutnaturefr/status/1138149519307280384
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on June 18, 2019, 03:21:21 PM
UN confirms population growth in its latest report.
We will be 9.7 billion people on Earth in 2050.
This is fairly well locked in, see the green 2 st.dev. bands in figure.
And by 2100 we will be 10.9 billion people.
Thus, previous estimates a couple of years ago were more or less correct.

The population growth in the nearest decades will be pretty devastating for the climate, yes those new billions will be in developing countries, but they will all want to Consume. And Consume They Will.

https://population.un.org/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2019_Highlights.pdf
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on June 18, 2019, 03:31:44 PM
UN confirms population growth in its latest report.
We will be 9.7 billion people on Earth in 2050.
This is fairly well locked in, see the green 2 st.dev. bands in figure.
And by 2100 we will be 10.9 billion people.
Thus, previous estimates a couple of years ago were more or less correct.

The population growth in the nearest decades will be pretty devastating for the climate, yes those new billions will be in developing countries, but they will all want to Consume. And Consume They Will.

https://population.un.org/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2019_Highlights.pdf

These numbers are total nonsense, as bad or worse as IPC, we could easily lose 2 billion by 2050 instead of gaining, all we need is a BOE (which is a lock by then) and someone with an itchy trigger finger. I would be shocked if India and Pakistan are still functioning countries in 33 years when they are running out of water as we speak.

A BOE followed by nuclear war on the Indian subcontinent is actually a pretty optimistic scenario for controlling growth (IMO). The fallout would be fairly limited and would only affect the most populated regions of the planet in a severe manner (i.e. China and India), while the ensuing food shortages etc would trim off another billion or so. I think it is actually one of the only scenarios that allows business as usual to continue for the developed world, maybe with some reductions in standards of living, as the global population is brought back to 4.5 billion or so, which is a number that is actually manageable.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on June 18, 2019, 10:44:48 PM
Population is not the problem, consumption is:
https://metro.co.uk/2019/06/17/how-close-is-the-world-to-being-too-full-of-people-9896880/
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: vox_mundi on June 21, 2019, 05:58:49 PM
Elon Musk Doubled Down On His Theory That World Population is Headed for Collapse
https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-reiterates-global-population-is-headed-for-collapse-2019-6

In a tweet on Friday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO doubled down on a theory he has backed in the past — the human population is headed for implosion.

Responding to a tweet, which projected the global population to grow by roughly 1.6 billion by 2050, Musk said the real problem facing humanity is an "aging and declining world population."

https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1141977875567919104

Musk cited Jørgen Randers, a Norwegian academic who in his 2012 book "2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2052:_A_Global_Forecast_for_the_Next_Forty_Years)" said the human population would start dwindling around 2040.

..............

I don't think you'll have to wait that long.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Pragma on June 21, 2019, 07:40:14 PM

I don't think you'll have to wait that long.

I had an epiphany about 40 years ago that things could not continue, but we seem to be still levitating, so what do I know? When do we have our Wile E. Coyote moment?


The Club of Rome and their Limits to Growth seem to have it sorted out pretty well, so far
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on July 24, 2019, 06:14:59 PM
We must stop population growth:
https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on July 24, 2019, 06:49:49 PM
We must stop population growth:
https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026 (https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026)
Blaming too many poor black and brown people for the sins of the wealthy white elite.


If we could just sterilize "them", we could fly our private jets about without facing the condemnation of our peers.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on July 24, 2019, 06:52:33 PM
We must stop population growth:
https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026 (https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026)
Blaming too many poor black and brown people for the sins of the wealthy white elite.


If we could just sterilize "them", we could fly our private jets about without facing the condemnation of our peers.
Terry
Yes, all the white elite's fault, because without the white elite, they would still be dying of malaria and cholera and typhoid. What the f***? If you want to get racist this is not the thread.

Bill Gates has saved untold millions of people due to his efforts, and without the "white elite" the Third World would be an even worse sh*thole than it already is.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on July 24, 2019, 07:06:35 PM
We must stop population growth:
https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026 (https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026)
Blaming too many poor black and brown people for the sins of the wealthy white elite.


If we could just sterilize "them", we could fly our private jets about without facing the condemnation of our peers.
Terry
Yes, all the white elite's fault, because without the white elite, they would still be dying of malaria and cholera and typhoid. What the f***? If you want to get racist this is not the thread.

Bill Gates has saved untold millions of people due to his efforts, and without the "white elite" the Third World would be an even worse sh*thole than it already is.


Which thread would you prefer?
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on July 24, 2019, 07:13:41 PM
How to manage population growth:
- Support female education and employment
- Support access to family planning. If you're in the USA, this means supporting the dems... because the practical impact of the republican party's mexico city policy blocking all US gvt funds to anyone who has anything to do with abortion means that most organisations providing any kind of family planning don't qualify. Which, paradoxically, not only leads to more babies but often also to more abortions, since that's what happens if you cut your funding to people providing contraception.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on July 25, 2019, 12:16:27 AM
How to manage population growth:

- Go knock on the door of one of your heterosexual neighbors of childbearing age
- Ask them if they are planning to have unprotected sex anytime in the future
- Ask them to please be sure that male puts a rubber thingy on his willie
- Go to the hospital to treat your broken nose

:D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUspLVStPbk
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on July 25, 2019, 12:18:45 AM
How to manage population growth:

1) Wait til 2025
2) India runs out of water in many major cities
3) India and Pakistan have a nuclear exchange immediately killing 100,000,000
4) Ensuing firestorms and nuclear winter devastate the Indian subcontinent and much of the developing world resulting in destabilized supply chains and an additional 2,000,000,000 deaths in the subcontinent and elsewhere
5) Collapse of governments etc in the developing world leave another 1,000,000,000 dead in the next few years
6) Global population stabilizes around 4,000,000,000 by 2030-2035.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on August 09, 2019, 10:17:21 PM
Kids: Seen here not so much as the “enemy” but rather the “victims.”

9 People On The Ethics Of Having Kids In An Era Of Climate Crisis
Quote
At the start of July, HuffPost covered a rising grassroots movement of people who are questioning the ethics of having kids in a rapidly warming world, where global leaders seem united only in inaction. Since that article was published, the world has struggled through the hottest month ever recorded, the Arctic has been gripped by hundreds of unprecedented and devastating wildfires, and Greenland’s icebergs have experienced a “major melt event,” sending billions of tons of water flowing into the ocean.

We have also been overwhelmed with responses from readers telling us their stories about kids and climate change.

They’ve told us how they shelved plans to have children and how that caused family rifts. Some even had their fears dismissed by therapists. We heard from a number of older people who said they had seen the environmental crisis coming in the 1970s and ’80s and had decided not to have children or to stop at one. We heard from those who have adopted kids because they did not want to add more people to the planet.

Some responses were uplifting, many were heartbreaking, all were searingly honest. Here’s what they told us. ...
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/climate-change-having-kids-children_n_5d493eaee4b0244052e09033
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Villabolo on August 10, 2019, 11:36:56 PM
Kids: Seen here not so much as the “enemy” but rather the “victims.”

9 People On The Ethics Of Having Kids In An Era Of Climate Crisis
Quote
At the start of July, HuffPost covered a rising grassroots movement of people who are questioning the ethics of having kids in a rapidly warming world, where global leaders seem united only in inaction. Since that article was published, the world has struggled through the hottest month ever recorded, the Arctic has been gripped by hundreds of unprecedented and devastating wildfires, and Greenland’s icebergs have experienced a “major melt event,” sending billions of tons of water flowing into the ocean.

We have also been overwhelmed with responses from readers telling us their stories about kids and climate change.

They’ve told us how they shelved plans to have children and how that caused family rifts. Some even had their fears dismissed by therapists. We heard from a number of older people who said they had seen the environmental crisis coming in the 1970s and ’80s and had decided not to have children or to stop at one. We heard from those who have adopted kids because they did not want to add more people to the planet.

Some responses were uplifting, many were heartbreaking, all were searingly honest. Here’s what they told us. ...
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/climate-change-having-kids-children_n_5d493eaee4b0244052e09033

No children?! The exact opposite! You can rear them to be dedicated environmentalists. It only takes two to compensate for the mortality of the parents.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 11, 2019, 12:12:17 AM
I do love my two children with all my heart, but I believe that at this point in time humanity should be adopting a global one-child policy for the next 20 years, sharply lowering the overshoot beyond the planet's carrying capacity, and releasing vast (physical and human) resources needed for child rearing, directing them towards the actions needed for lowering humanity's environmental footprint. Renewables, EVs, sustainable farming, reforestation, relocation of coastal infrastructure, and much more.
This would reduce total annual births from 130 million to ~50 million, and by 2050 would reduce population by 2.5 billion compated to current forecasts, giving a chance to avoid catastrophic civilizational collapse.
Obviously, this will not happen. But if planet Earth was a simulation game played by a single entity, this would be the only way to win. Of course, starting in the 1970s would have enabled much better and more enjoyable solutions.
I sure am glad a certain Chinese read Limits to Growth and managed to change his country's dempgraphic trajectory, back then, or we would be in much bigger shit by now.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on August 11, 2019, 12:17:09 AM
Oh yeah awesome trajectory, a country like Japan full of old people.

You wanna guess how fast the cries "world government " would be heard ?

I guess every nation would wait the others to start.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on August 11, 2019, 12:19:50 AM
Try getting the various religions to go along. Needs some true enlightenment to go down that path. Although, the affluent will find a way.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 11, 2019, 04:25:06 AM
<snipped>
I sure am glad a certain Chinese read Limits to Growth and managed to change his country's demographic trajectory, back then, or we would be in much bigger shit by now.
Ramen!

China's One Child Policy stands unique as the greatest program to fight climate change proposed or enacted by any nation.


Yet praise for their foresight is lacking. Why?
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sebastian Jones on August 11, 2019, 08:23:38 AM
<snipped>
I sure am glad a certain Chinese read Limits to Growth and managed to change his country's demographic trajectory, back then, or we would be in much bigger shit by now.
Ramen!

China's One Child Policy stands unique as the greatest program to fight climate change proposed or enacted by any nation.


Yet praise for their foresight is lacking. Why?
Terry

Because it was imposed rather than adopted from the bottom up.
I'm a population hawk, and decided many years ago that the last thing the planet needs is more humans, so chose not to breed.
But I love children, and would not impose my choice generally.
Although I did impose my choice on my partner...I doubt she will ever really forgive me.
It's a wicked problem
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 11, 2019, 08:37:27 AM
Studies show that China's population would probably not be very different without the one-child policy since its total fertility ration followed the same path as countries with similar education/GDP levels.

Just an example: Iran had a TFR of 6 (!) in 1985 and now has 1.66
Thailand had 6 in 1965, now has 1.55
China had 6 in 1965 and now has 1.62 (despite the alleged one-child policy)

if you look at the charts they had the same slope, you could not say which one had a "policy" for less child-birth
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 11, 2019, 08:43:00 AM
Oh yeah awesome trajectory, a country like Japan full of old people.
I much prefer Japan's situation to Nigeria's. In the long run, Japan could reach stability, while Nigeria's unlimited growth could end in nothing but collapse.

As for religions and everybody waiting for others to do it, I know obviously this won't happen. But from a resource and population perspective, it's the only remaining theoretical solution, and even that may not be enough to prevent collapse, in my humble opinion.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 11, 2019, 09:35:52 AM
Studies show that China's population would probably not be very different without the one-child policy since its total fertility ration followed the same path as countries with similar education/GDP levels.
Some of the effect would have happened anyway, but are you seriously suggesting the effect was not significant?
In any case, this is all theoretical, as no one is planning on making another such program.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_China#Population_control (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_China#Population_control)

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1e/Birth_rate_in_China.svg/927px-Birth_rate_in_China.svg.png)

Quote
Initially, China's post-1949 leaders were ideologically disposed to view a large population as an asset. But the liabilities of a large, rapidly growing population soon became apparent. For one year, starting in August 1956, vigorous support was given to the Ministry of Public Health's mass birth control efforts. These efforts, however, had little impact on fertility. After the interval of the Great Leap Forward, Chinese leaders again saw rapid population growth as an obstacle to development, and their interest in birth control revived. In the early 1960s, schemes somewhat more muted than during the first campaign, emphasized the virtues of late marriage. Birth control offices were set up in the central government and some provincial-level governments in 1964. The second campaign was particularly successful in the cities, where the birth rate was cut in half during the 1963–66 period. The upheaval of the Cultural Revolution brought the program to a halt, however.

In 1972 and 1973 the party mobilized its resources for a nationwide birth control campaign administered by a group in the State Council. Committees to oversee birth control activities were established at all administrative levels and in various collective enterprises. This extensive and seemingly effective network covered both the rural and the urban population. In urban areas public security headquarters included population control sections. In rural areas the country's "barefoot doctors" distributed information and contraceptives to people's commune members. By 1973 Mao Zedong was personally identified with the family planning movement, signifying a greater leadership commitment to controlled population growth than ever before. Yet until several years after Mao's death in 1976, the leadership was reluctant to put forth directly the rationale that population control was necessary for economic growth and improved living standards.

Population growth targets were set for both administrative units and individual families. In the mid-1970s the maximum recommended family size was two children in cities and three or four in the country. Since 1979 the government has advocated a one-child limit for both rural and urban areas and has generally set a maximum of two children in special circumstances. As of 1986 the policy for minority nationalities was two children per couple, three in special circumstances, and no limit for ethnic groups with very small populations. The overall goal of the one-child policy was to keep the total population within 1.2 billion through the year 2000, on the premise that the Four Modernizations program would be of little value if population growth was not brought under control.

The one-child policy was a highly ambitious population control program. Like previous programs of the 1960s and 1970s, the one-child policy employed a combination of public education, social pressure, and in some cases coercion. The one-child policy was unique, however, in that it linked reproduction with economic cost or benefit.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 11, 2019, 02:21:54 PM
It's not me. Studies suggest that the effect was probably not very significant. The one child polcy was put in place in 1979, I attach a picture of TFR (china, korea, singapore, thailand) - same path regardless of policies. Korea and Singapore started their developement 1-2 decades before China, that is why their charts start to fall earlier

We know why women have fewer children (pretty well researched): education, welfare, urbanization. Same trends everywhere. Chinese births fell BEFORE the one child policy was enacted.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 11, 2019, 02:31:52 PM

I've a very dear friend who was born while China was enforcing the One Child Policy. She's provided interesting commentary on the ramifications of the policy and how it has affected family dynamics.


Insights that even as the only child of an only child I would never have considered.


It is however ~8:30AM here, and I've got to get some sleep.
See you on the morrow
Terry


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on August 11, 2019, 02:41:14 PM
Quote from: El Cid
We know why women have fewer children (pretty well researched): education, welfare, urbanization. Same trends everywhere.

Exactly..
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 11, 2019, 05:08:35 PM
Certainly an interesting discussion regarding the effectiveness of the one child policy in China. In this discussion we should not consider China to be this huge developed monolith.

In 2016, 43.22% of Chinese lived in rural areas.

https://tradingeconomics.com/china/rural-population-percent-of-total-population-wb-data.html

This compares to 19.3% for the U.S.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on August 11, 2019, 06:05:54 PM

No children?! The exact opposite! You can rear them to be dedicated environmentalists. It only takes two to compensate for the mortality of the parents.

Instead of creating stigmas on a personal level by abstaining from having the children you actually want to have, you should indeed have them, and raise them consciously, into non-consumerism, into environmentalism.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 11, 2019, 06:14:34 PM
Abandoning for the moment how we might best slow the growth in population, I would like to simply look at whether population is Public Enemy No. 1 as I know there is some serious disagreement as to whether this is the case.

I've attached a single chart for context.

I have selected a single point in time to highlight on this chart (1800) as it heralds the real beginning of the industrial revolution. (I will allow for the fact that there is disagreement over this selection. Feel free to select an earlier or later date.) For the 1st time in human history, humans were able to implement the widespread use of machines, improving productivity and increasing the wealth of societies who advanced industry. In Europe, industrial associations were formed to petition their governments to institute policies favorable to industry.

At the start of the industrial revolution, we harnessed natural sources of power to the machines we were creating. This accounts for large textile manufacturing centers being developed along rivers where water power could be harnessed. The 1st steam engine was created in 1698 but coal fired steam engines were used mainly for transportation throughout the 18th century and for the 1st half of the 19th century. It was not until the 2nd half of the 19th century that fossil fuels became the primary source of energy for this remarkable period of growth and the creation of all of the magnificent inventions and technology that continues today.

The inventions have allowed us to do things that were previously impossible; dramatically increase food production, construct remarkable cities, send humans to the moon, cure diseases that were previously considered incurable and, more recently, help the Cubs win a World Series in 2016. This has been made possible by harnessing energy stored for hundreds of millions of years.

There is a dark side to all of this growth and accumulation of wealth. We have despoiled the planet, damaged ecosystems beyond repair and are now threatening the entire planet with human induced warming.

In 1800, the human population stood at just under 1 billion. There had been a remarkable growth over the previous 300 years as the population stood under 1/2 billion in 1500. The growth since 1800 has been driven by the industrial revolution and has been largely dependent on fossil fuel consumption.

The preindustrial carrying capacity of the planet was perhaps 500 million, 1 billion at most. With all of the remarkable inventions of the last 2 centuries, you could argue it is higher now. I would set the upper limit at 2 billion. Feel free to pick your own number. Just don't expect me to listen if you think human population is not an enormous problem.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 11, 2019, 06:51:56 PM
We must stop population growth:
https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026 (https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/population-growth-a-threat-to-planetary-health-29686026)
Blaming too many poor black and brown people for the sins of the wealthy white elite.


If we could just sterilize "them", we could fly our private jets about without facing the condemnation of our peers.
Terry

From linked article:

"Since the 1960s, modern methods of contraception have seen global fertility plunge “not by half a child or one child per woman, but by 2.5 children”.
Nearly half of the world’s population lives in mostly industrialised countries where average fertility has fallen below 2.1 children per woman.

“Then, however, there are the 104 to 107 countries with fertility levels above 2.1 children per woman. In 38 of these, fertility exceeds four children per woman with Somalia above six and Niger above seven."


The warfare, famine and fertility rate in Somalia is a tragedy. While suggestions made in the article would lessen the suffering, lets not suggest that getting a handle on 3rd world population growth is the solution to our problem.

Somalia CO2 emissions per capita in 2014 was .05 metric tons.
U.S. CO2 emissions per capita in 2014 was 16.49 metric tons.

Population growth and the growth of industrial capitalism go hand in hand. One cannot survive without the other. We will only solve the problem when we address all aspects of the problem. We have a growth system finally bumping up against the absolute constraints imposed by a finite resource, the planet.

We could eliminate every single person who currently lives in the 3rd world and our problem would not be solved. It would be made worse as the wealthy on the planet (just about everybody in Europe and the U.S.) would suddenly have the means to spend more money.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 11, 2019, 08:11:01 PM
Other than Africa, the world's population is basically not growing. See chart attached (note: you need 2.1-2.2 TFR to have a constant population).

Many countries (like most of Asia) had as high TFR (5-6-7) in 1960 as Sub-Saharan Africa now. 20 years later they went under 2 in most cases. This also happened in Latam 20 years before Asia. And the same thing happened in Europe as well. Why do we think that Africa is special?

Watch Hans Roslings lecures on population statistics, eg:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LyzBoHo5EI

I think the global population will top out below 10 bn ad then will start sliding. And that is very good.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 11, 2019, 08:20:31 PM
and probably the best Rosling lecture on population stats:

https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen?referrer=playlist-the_best_hans_rosling_talks_yo#t-742176
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: philopek on August 11, 2019, 10:09:17 PM
Ramen!

Yet praise for their foresight is lacking. Why?
Terry

- arrogance
- disrespect
- no good and objective education in history
- western propaganda
- educational brainwashing

etc. etc. etc.......

And this is not the only topic where it's like this.

Less self-importance and more respect for other cultures and priorities would be key, because the other parameters depend on it.

BTW Oren just said what would be a good thing to do, he did not say that it would be easy or even feasible, hence to counter a good argument with fatalism is not target leading.

Discarding good approaches with lack of dedicatin is the most certain way with doom at it's terminus.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 12, 2019, 04:15:35 AM
Ramen!

Yet praise for their foresight is lacking. Why?
Terry

- arrogance
- disrespect
- no good and objective education in history
- western propaganda
- educational brainwashing

etc. etc. etc.......

And this is not the only topic where it's like this.

Less self-importance and more respect for other cultures and priorities would be key, because the other parameters depend on it.

BTW Oren just said what would be a good thing to do, he did not say that it would be easy or even feasible, hence to counter a good argument with fatalism is not target leading.

Discarding good approaches with lack of dedicatin is the most certain way with doom at it's terminus.

bingo.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 12, 2019, 04:19:22 AM
I think the global population will top out below 10 bn ad then will start sliding. And that is very good.

I think the global population will top out below 10 billion and then start falling quite rapidly. And it will be very ugly.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on August 12, 2019, 04:38:35 AM
I think the global population will top out below 10 bn ad then will start sliding. And that is very good.

I think the global population will top out below 10 billion and then start falling quite rapidly. And it will be very ugly.
We could easily lose a few billion in the span of a few years, or worse, all of the billions. But I think a reduction of 2-3 billion due to an India-Pakistan nuclear war and resulting famine is the most likely scenario to occur and it could happen before we reach 8 billion planet-wide. This would leave most of the world at a sustainable number.

In a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, I could see --

About 100 nuclear weapons used
Immediate death toll (within one week) of about 100,000,000
Short-term death toll of another 500,000,000 due to fallout, war
Long-term death toll of an additional 1,000,000,000 to 2,000,000,000 due to famine and food shortages, this would occur across most developing countries

The results?

North America: population stabilized
South America: population stabilized
Europe: population growth may temporarily spike due to refugee crisis, otherwise stabilized
Africa: population would halve or worse then stabilize or continue declining
Asia: population would be reduced by a quarter or worse, then stabilize
Oceania: population stabilized
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 12, 2019, 08:53:47 AM
yes, the world could end tomorrow, and yes a nuclear war could happen as well (i can also conjure up any population scenarios if it includes nuclear warheads)

but as these are just fanasies/nightmare scenarios, we should stick to what we have: statistics and data and projections based on these
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 12, 2019, 09:43:36 AM
Other than Africa, the world's population is basically not growing. See chart attached (note: you need 2.1-2.2 TFR to have a constant population).
I wonder then how it is that:
Asia is adding 40 million annually (about 1/3 of that is India).
LatAm is adding 6 million annually.
Northern America and Europe together are adding 3 million annually.
Africa is adding 32 million annually - only 40% of the total.

Africa had the highest growth rate by far, but it started from a low base
BTW, TFR is not the only factor, it also matters at what age people have children.

Source:
https://www.worldometers.info/population/world/ (https://www.worldometers.info/population/world/)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 12, 2019, 02:35:34 PM
So, again, to delay a discussion about methods to control the population, I would again like to get a sense of how people feel now about human population. Given we are mammals living on this planet...

How would you assess the current world's population of 7.7 billion in relationship to the earth's ability to support us in a sustainable fashion while maintaining a healthy biosphere?

1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.

2. We are near or have arrived at a sustainable population level.

3. The earth is capable of supporting a population larger than our current population in a sustainable fashion.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: cognitivebias2 on August 12, 2019, 02:41:34 PM
The answer is:
  3. The earth is capable of supporting a population larger than our current population in a sustainable fashion.

However, with our current technology/politics/political will/etc, the answer is:
  1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.


We are suffering a massive technical debt and its unclear that there is a path to resolve it.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 12, 2019, 02:46:27 PM
The answer is:
  3. The earth is capable of supporting a population larger than our current population in a sustainable fashion.

However, with our current technology/politics/political will/etc, the answer is:
  1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.


We are suffering a massive technical debt and its unclear that there is a path to resolve it.

I second that
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 12, 2019, 02:49:05 PM
The answer is:
  3. The earth is capable of supporting a population larger than our current population in a sustainable fashion.

However, with our current technology/politics/political will/etc, the answer is:
  1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.


We are suffering a massive technical debt and its unclear that there is a path to resolve it.

Thank you for responding. It's a simple question with three answers. Could you limit your selection to one? When I read your qualifier for your 2nd selection, I think your answer is 3. Correct?

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: cognitivebias2 on August 12, 2019, 02:58:03 PM
Sorry SH, I don't think the simple answer suffices.  But yes, especially since the rest is out there, I would pick 3 to the simple question.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 12, 2019, 02:58:37 PM
Other than Africa, the world's population is basically not growing. See chart attached (note: you need 2.1-2.2 TFR to have a constant population).
I wonder then how it is that:
Asia is adding 40 million annually (about 1/3 of that is India).
LatAm is adding 6 million annually.
Northern America and Europe together are adding 3 million annually.
Africa is adding 32 million annually - only 40% of the total.

Africa had the highest growth rate by far, but it started from a low base
BTW, TFR is not the only factor, it also matters at what age people have children.

Source:
https://www.worldometers.info/population/world/ (https://www.worldometers.info/population/world/)

My wording was wrong - you are right.

When you have a low TFR but also a low average age, it leads to population growth for a few years before topping out. That is happening in Asia.

Example: you have 10 10 year olds and 10 20 yr olds in a population (of20), and this population has a very low TFR, say 1. Then, despite a TFR of 1, the population will obviously grow for a while since those 20 people will have 10 children and most of the 20 of the original population will live for a long time, so the population goes to 30 (or 28,29, depending on deaths). However, a TFR of 1 means that eventually this population will shrink and keep on shrinking. This is the situation is most of Asia and Latam. There is still some "leftover" growth, but given that its TFR is 2.19 and going down, Asian population is in the process of topping out.

(BTW, Europe's population is ging up because of migrants according to your data: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/europe-population/
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 12, 2019, 02:59:35 PM
My answer is: theoretically the planet is easily able to support 10 bn people
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 12, 2019, 03:04:33 PM
SH, very easy (you could start a poll BTW):
1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.

IF we all lived on the very minimum amount of resources per person, then maybe we might be able to fit 10 billion people on the planet and feed them in a sustainable way. I very much doubt the feeding part. But we certainly don't, and we certainly won't, so the caveat is irrelevant. IMHO.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 12, 2019, 03:27:05 PM
SH, very easy (you could start a poll BTW):
1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.

IF we all lived on the very minimum amount of resources per person, then maybe we might be able to fit 10 billion people on the planet and feed them in a sustainable way. I very much doubt the feeding part. But we certainly don't, and we certainly won't, so the caveat is irrelevant. IMHO.

Thanks, Oren. I think I will set up a poll later today. I will work on the wording of the questions to make it easier for the community members to comfortably choose an answer. It will be interesting and useful for all of us to understand where we are on this issue.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on August 12, 2019, 03:39:12 PM
SH, very easy (you could start a poll BTW):
1. We have overshot the carrying capacity of the planet significantly.

IF we all lived on the very minimum amount of resources per person, then maybe we might be able to fit 10 billion people on the planet and feed them in a sustainable way. I very much doubt the feeding part. But we certainly don't, and we certainly won't, so the caveat is irrelevant. IMHO.

+1

Imagine what today's world (and CO2 level, etc) would be like if H. Sapiens had kept its numbers down to, say, 1 billion instead of 7 .
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on August 12, 2019, 03:58:58 PM
The answer is an unequivocal 1: We have significantly overshot the global carrying capacity for humans.

The outrageous overshoot has been made possible by abundant and highly concentrated solar energy in the form of fossil fuels, period.

We cannot possibly create a transition to a sustainable economy to support 8+ billion humans.  Not gonna happen.

To come remotely close, the wealthiest 1-2 billions humans will need to consume much, much (~80%) less, starting now.  Not gonna happen.

To come remotely close, the middle 3-4 billion humans will need to give up their aspirations to join the global consumer class, and the global corporate hegemony will need to give up its aspirations to profit off of that.  Not gonna happen.

I have a 16 YO. One kid.  If I knew then what I know now, I would never have procreated.

One HUGE pet peeve: We need to bring the human population to a peak and begin to shrink it, immediately.  That will entail a difficult demographic transition that will include an aging population and a "deficit" of young workers to support them.  Too bad.  If you think it will be easier to go through the demographic transition at some point in the future, you are deluded.

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: cognitivebias2 on August 12, 2019, 05:01:44 PM
Or we could go for smaller humans:

http://nautil.us/blog/the-case-for-making-humans-smaller


Seriously though, the question did not include any caveat that the population needs to retain it's current consumption patterns, nor that technology is stagnant. 

Here's a look at solar energy potential:

https://ag.tennessee.edu/solar/Pages/What%20Is%20Solar%20Energy/Sun's%20Energy.aspx

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: philopek on August 12, 2019, 06:24:47 PM
Without said technology as a whole and it belongs all together, we cannot feed 7.7B and with all the tech we are exploiting the planet even more so, hence it's clearly

1.

and nothing, no buts and ifs can be added. Usually i'm quite liberal but this I will never discuss,
should we ever need a dictatorship to overcome this problem I shall vote for the dictatorship because without strict recognition of and admittance the problem, we are either doomed, or shall recover after a HUGE cut and if such cut is not done willingly it will be brought upon us via
desaster(s).

Not a popular stance I know but the younger of you shall see and I seriously hope to dodge that nukes due to advanced age.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 12, 2019, 07:30:20 PM
Are there too many humans? Yes
Should we have a much smaller population on Earth? Yes
Shall we see a top in population? Yes, between 2050-2100, and then a slide
Can we feed all these people? Yes, we could even feed 20 billion
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on August 12, 2019, 08:16:08 PM
The answer is an unequivocal 1: We have significantly overshot the global carrying capacity for humans.

The outrageous overshoot has been made possible by abundant and highly concentrated solar energy in the form of fossil fuels, period.

We cannot possibly create a transition to a sustainable economy to support 8+ billion humans.  Not gonna happen.

To come remotely close, the wealthiest 1-2 billions humans will need to consume much, much (~80%) less, starting now.  Not gonna happen.

To come remotely close, the middle 3-4 billion humans will need to give up their aspirations to join the global consumer class, and the global corporate hegemony will need to give up its aspirations to profit off of that.  Not gonna happen.

I have a 16 YO. One kid.  If I knew then what I know now, I would never have procreated.

One HUGE pet peeve: We need to bring the human population to a peak and begin to shrink it, immediately.  That will entail a difficult demographic transition that will include an aging population and a "deficit" of young workers to support them.  Too bad.  If you think it will be easier to go through the demographic transition at some point in the future, you are deluded.
This is correct but also incorrect.

The outrageous overshoot was enabled by fossil fuels but that is NOT the cause.

The cause was the French Revolution, which was the launching point for turning elite consumption habits into mass consumption habits.

This enabled the growth of the global middle class, which resulted in worsening exploitation of the planet (fossil fuels) and gave rise to the global slave class, consisting of billions of people near-starvation in developing regions.

Without the French Revolution, there would have been no global middle class, and population controls would have remained in check. Would there have been some limited environmental degradation from that point forward, and could there have been other revolutions resulting in similar trajectories? That is entirely possible.

But I think it is folly to blame the resources in the ground for the demise of our environment instead of the meatbags that are extracting said resources, who do so based on a political ideology that every human should be entitled to consume as much as they desire, with no repercussions.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 12, 2019, 08:35:13 PM
It should be so blindingly obvious that it is rather embarrassing to have to state it here before this very intelligent audience. But...there is no absolute upper limit on how much one person or set of persons can consume, in the general sense (not wrt food).

As it is, about 20% of the global population is consuming about 80% of the resources. And a yet smaller portion is consuming still over half.

But that could be skewed further (and is in the process of doing so).

So you don't need a middle class to consume the world. A particularly voracious elite will do just fine.

ETA: As it is, the global richest 10% (of which we pretty much all are part) produces about half of all CO2 emissions. That's an elite. Lop off that and maybe a bit of the next 10% and most of your carbon pollution problem is mostly solved.

https://me.me/i/figure-1-global-income-deciles-and-associated-lifestyle-consumptiorn-emissions-546271d3b19a4bfeaf44d5e4e39eb4ed

The problem is not the global middle third (~15%) or the global poorest (~5%). The problem is the global richest third (responsible for ~ 80% of CO2 pollution).

Of course, most of those most responsible for any problem, this one included, are likely to howl and scream and point fingers at others when their culpability is suggested. (Not saying that we are seeing any such behavior here, of course  :) ;) :P :-X )
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: bbr2314 on August 12, 2019, 08:49:07 PM
It should be so blindingly obvious that it is rather embarrassing to have to state it here before this very intelligent audience. But...there is no absolute upper limit on how much one person or set of persons can consume, in the general sense (not wrt food).

As it is, about 20% of the global population is consuming about 80% of the resources. And a yet smaller portion is consuming still over half.

But that could be skewed further (and is in the process of doing so).

So you don't need a middle class to consume the world. A particularly voracious elite will do just fine.

ETA: As it is, the global richest 10% (of which we pretty much all are part) produces about half of all CO2 emissions. That's an elite. Lop off that and maybe a bit of the next 10% and most of your carbon pollution problem is mostly solved.

https://me.me/i/figure-1-global-income-deciles-and-associated-lifestyle-consumptiorn-emissions-546271d3b19a4bfeaf44d5e4e39eb4ed

The problem is not the global middle third or the global poorest. The problem is the global richest third.

Of course, most of those most responsible for any problem, this one included, are likely to howl and scream and point fingers at others when their culpability is suggested. (Not saying that we are seeing any such behavior here, of course  :) ;) :P :-X )
The global richest third is the middle class. Or it is probably even smaller than that, it is probably everything under the .1% to about 5-10%. Below that is the working class and below that are the slaves.

Middle class is relative to what the top .1% makes, not what the bottom 50% makes. The fact that the bottom 50% cannot afford anything does not matter if the top .01% can skew affordability on their own (which they do).

The other point to make is without the voracious consumption habits of the middle class, there would not BE a global underclass of slaves numbering 3 or 4 billion. There would be a few tens of thousands of elites, a few million middle class, and a few hundred million slaves.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on August 12, 2019, 08:57:44 PM
bbr, there is no way to disprove your historical argument.  The French Revolution contributed to all the trends you mention.  But had it not happened in that time and place, you cannot conclude that humanity would not have over-exploited fossil fuels and landed us in the mess we're in anyway.

wili, yes, the global consumption class (top 10? %) bears the most culpability.  But the powers that be are working overtime to spread the consumption flu to billions of willing, eager converts.  No one in their right mind blames the bottom third, no matter what their population growth rate is.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wili on August 12, 2019, 09:55:23 PM
Good point, d. He's just making assertions because he is sure they must be true. Nothing whatsoever to back them up.

I guess I'll go back to ignoring him.  :-\
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: vox_mundi on August 12, 2019, 10:05:19 PM
... Can we feed all these people? Yes, we could even feed 20 billion

So El Cid,  What are you going to use for water to grow all this food? ... Or are we talking about Soylent Green?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on August 13, 2019, 12:24:38 AM
Wait for it... desalinated sea water with solar PV !!! There fixed it for ya /sarc
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 13, 2019, 01:56:53 AM
What does this future population that we're going to feed consist of:


If it's an additional billion or so slaves to do the bidding of a few thousand elite - then I'd say we just can't feed them.


If it's an additional billion elite that require even more slaves - again there is just no way.


For a few billion scholars, philosophers, engineers or gardeners I'm sure we can find the means.


The above is only half in jest. We're not feeding everyone that's hungry today, and as temperatures rise it's not going to become a damn bit easier.
If we were feeding every American, European or Canadian that will go to sleep hungry tonight, then we might be prepared to start a program that would feed today's world population.


Once we've swallowed that horse we can hatch plots about enforcing veganism, outlawing "real" meat, or victory gardens sprouting from the roofs of high rise buildings and parking structures.

If we haven't found these measures necessary while not feeding our own countrymen, how will we ever generate sufficient support to feed the children of other races and nationalities around the world?


The answer I'm afraid is that we'll simply let them starve, and the world's population will slide into a very unpleasant equilibrium. We extort governments by withholding food supplies today - do any believe that we'll have a Kumbaya moment where I forgo buying my kid a HappyMeal so that some kid in Nigeria, or Borneo or Estonia has his nutritional needs met?
It won't happen and any government that tries to enforce such a policy will be run out of town before the ink dries on the bill.


They won't overwhelm our capacity to feed them because we won't even try to feed them.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 13, 2019, 02:50:19 AM
Terry...You have a dark, disturbing view of human nature. I would struggle to present a cogent, effective argument in opposition.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on August 13, 2019, 02:55:41 AM
It is dark and disturbing because it's mostly true. We spend gazillions on new nuclear weapons, sending Teslas in space, buying crap we dont need, instead of feeding the starved masses...

Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 13, 2019, 03:05:28 AM
We all believe that the vision we see is simply reality - I'm no different. 8)  Can anyone spare white cane?
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: be cause on August 13, 2019, 10:11:19 AM
We all believe that the vision we see is simply reality -
Terry

 Hi Terry , you could do with some Ayahuasca and a big spliff .. fixes that 'simply reality'  .. b.c.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 13, 2019, 01:26:15 PM
Some good(ish) news on the population front. Birth rates in 2018 hit record lows in quite a few countries, among them China, the USA, Japan, South Korea, England and Wales...

Problematic for many of these individual countries, where the birth rate had already seemed low compared to the number of old people, of course, but from a planetary population perspective it's pretty positive.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 13, 2019, 04:20:55 PM
... Can we feed all these people? Yes, we could even feed 20 billion

So El Cid,  What are you going to use for water to grow all this food? ... Or are we talking about Soylent Green?

It seems that most people commenting here on food issues have never been inside a tractor, combine, etc or seen any real agricultural activity.

Revelation: Most grain/soy, etc (extensive) growing is rain-fed, no additional irrigation is needed or used. And the way to feed people is grains/legumes+ some added horticulture. If people stopped consuming meat (or at least cut back seriously), billions of hectares of land would free up to grow food directly for human consumption. No extra water is needed.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: petm on August 13, 2019, 04:27:42 PM
Yet praise for their foresight is lacking. Why?

Because it led to a lot of killing of babies -- how many? millions? -- mostly girls, and other ghastly crimes.

There's a recent documentary about it, by the way:
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/08/one-child-nation-documentary-nanfu-wang-jialing-zhang/595894/

But I digress. And I happen to agree with your perception of reality, dark though it may be.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on August 13, 2019, 06:06:54 PM
The reality for living nature and humans before 1900AD is having (high) child mortality. There's a good chance our antibiotics won't work anymore in the near future so that may take care of some of the problem.
Back to nature ;).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 14, 2019, 05:13:37 AM
Yet praise for their foresight is lacking. Why?

Because it led to a lot of killing of babies -- how many? millions? -- mostly girls, and other ghastly crimes.

There's a recent documentary about it, by the way:
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/08/one-child-nation-documentary-nanfu-wang-jialing-zhang/595894/ (https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/08/one-child-nation-documentary-nanfu-wang-jialing-zhang/595894/)

But I digress. And I happen to agree with your perception of reality, dark though it may be.


If this should appear as a poorly written copy of a reply I recently posted it's because I hit "post", and the damn thing disappeared, :'(  Please consult the original.


PetM
I've a number of acquaintances and one particular friend that were reared in China while the One Child Policy was being enforced,


To a person they see the "Policy" as enlightened, noble, and a boon to both China and the world. They feel that if other cultures and nations were aware of the benefits that they too would have adopted similar legislation - and that had the world would then be a better place.


They're Chinese students here in Canada. Some plan to live in Canada or North America, most are here as a sort of immersion program to learn a foreign language and culture before returning to live out their days in China. Wonderful people, wonderful students. Little reason to lie - especially to an old man they'll probably not seen again.


My friend at 28 with a new Math/Physics based PhD in hand just paid cash for a modest home in Windsor. She hasn't found permanent employment yet because of rift between China and the US, but has a tenured position offered and accepted.
She paid cash for her home because, like many of her generation her parents have been transferring wealth to her well before their final wills are even written. She sees this as a beneficial byproduct of "The Policy"


She has a close relationship with her maternal uncle, and takes pride in not hating the Japanese even though her uncles nuclear family and his toenails were painfully removed by Japanese troops/torturers.
She recognises that these uncle niece relationships have come to an end after thousands of years and she regrets this. She also recognises that having no siblings has given her a huge advantage.


As an only child of an only child I concur with this. I had an adopted brother when I was 9 and he was 7. We haven't communicated for decades - no big breakup, just no real connection.


Back on topic. I'm sure that the Chinese students I've conversed with on this subject were not prevaricating. When my friend describes her family life she's sometimes emotional and always truthful.
The children, their parents and their parents parents take pride in the fact that their country initiated the One Child Policy.


I've no doubt that this is representative of the majority opinion in China.


I'm also very aware that various religious institutions and individuals see anything that would prevent their disciples from literally growing future generations of followers as the Devils work. That they do all they can to stir up hatred of such programs is entirely understandable. For decades I worked shoulder to shoulder with Mormons who saw any man without 20 children as a failed father.


I'm afraid I saw PetM's "documentary" as just such a propaganda piece.
Sorry for my frankness
 and pissed that I lost my original reply to his post. :'(
Terry

EDIT - never a sign of the missing missive
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: philopek on August 14, 2019, 02:47:20 PM
If this should appear as a poorly written copy of a reply I recently posted it's because I hit "post", and the damn thing disappeared, :'(  Please consult the original.

I'm not kidding, whenever i write more than a few years into a webform's textbox, before i do anything else, in 99% of all cases a "Activate ALL" + "Copy"

This also helps when the nice red message appears that someone posted in the meantime, simply go back to the page with the back button 2-3 steps and click reply and paste the entire copied massage that includes quotes and all into a neutral empty textbox and post it.

Hope it's a helpful tool for many who from time to time get lost with lost messages and other systemic annoyances.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 14, 2019, 03:15:08 PM
^^
Thanks
This is the first time I've lost anything for a while
I'm over it now, but it really got my goat when I discovered it was gone.


Terry
[size=78%]  [/size]
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on August 14, 2019, 03:34:24 PM
That happened to me just a month or two ago when I was writing a part of a story in my Mammaloids universe.
Why the BLAZES couldn’t you have told me this before!?  ;D
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on August 14, 2019, 04:17:33 PM
Can we feed all these people? Yes, we could even feed 20 billion

EC, if every farmer in the world woke up tomorrow with the wisdom gained by Gabe Brown over his decades of regenerative farming experience, and every government decided to change its incentive structures to promote regenerative ag, and everyone on the planet decided to adopt a mostly vegetarian diet, it would take decades to transform the global agricultural system. I think you vastly underestimate the enormity of transforming the system. 

Looking at it another way, could humanity generate a single harvest year that could feed 20 billion? Perhaps, maybe even probably.  Could it generate ongoing annual harvests of this size while solving the biodiversity and climate crises? Preposterous.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: El Cid on August 14, 2019, 04:41:21 PM
dnem,

I am not saying it will happen, all i say is that it is possible. But since we will likely never have 20, or even 10 billion people on this planet, it is not really that important.
Demographics IS important though. I strongly suggest watching Hans Rosling's videos
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on August 14, 2019, 05:34:41 PM
I've been having fun playing with the graphs on the UN population projections site. I recommend having a look at them: https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/POP/TOT/900

Obviously, these graphs assume no cataclysmic events by 2100, no massive game changers etc etc, but given the range of options from current trends, how do you suppose we weight the dice towards the lower end of the projections, rather than the higher?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on August 14, 2019, 05:44:53 PM
I've seen Rosling's vids.  He's a master of data viz.  I'll rewatch when I can.  My recollection is thinking "that's all well and good, but pointless if you believe a large discontinuity in all the major trends is speeding toward us", which I do.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on August 14, 2019, 06:33:15 PM
<snip>
how do you suppose we weight the dice towards the lower end of the projections, rather than the higher?

We don't have to. I'm very certain the cataclysmic events will take care of that before 2100. Before 2040 even. We'll see. (I try to not be there)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on August 14, 2019, 11:31:25 PM
Blaming the climate crisis on overpopulation means blaming the most marginalised for a problem caused by the rich.

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wjwqky/overpopulation-climate-change-cause
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on August 15, 2019, 05:04:56 AM
Completely agree Tom. Glad you mention that.
More bad behaviour by the richer people. What's wrong with those people?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on August 15, 2019, 01:51:52 PM
They're not mutually exclusive.  There are too many rich humans consuming vastly too many resources per capita.  There is too large a global middle class that is increasing its consumption of almost all resources (egged on by the criminal global corporate hegemony) and there are too many impoverished people that need desperately to increase the amount of resources they have access to to improve their standards of living.  All the while, we need to be consuming far fewer resources. Too many people.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on August 15, 2019, 04:36:43 PM
They're not mutually exclusive.  There are too many rich humans consuming vastly too many resources per capita.  There is too large a global middle class that is increasing its consumption of almost all resources (egged on by the criminal global corporate hegemony) and there are too many impoverished people that need desperately to increase the amount of resources they have access to to improve their standards of living.  All the while, we need to be consuming far fewer resources. Too many people.

+1
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: DrTskoul on August 15, 2019, 07:57:16 PM
That's what we are saying....
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on August 15, 2019, 07:58:55 PM
Blaming the climate crisis on overpopulation means blaming the most marginalised for a problem caused by the rich.

https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wjwqky/overpopulation-climate-change-cause (https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wjwqky/overpopulation-climate-change-cause)
Blaming the libedo of poor for the excesses of the wealthy is a theme that will resonate in the ornate halls of justice through the Western World.
And "they" have all the printing presses. >:(
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on August 17, 2019, 03:30:54 PM
Here is one way to tackle it...cash incentive for vasectomies?  :)
http://www.hirezfox.com/km/co/d/20070910.html
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: vox_mundi on August 17, 2019, 08:59:15 PM
It looks like China is interested in pruning the population (... not necessarily their own). If Trump and his white-nationalists buddies think they have problems now ... they ain't seen nothing yet ...

Weaponizing Biotech: How China’s Military Is Preparing for a ‘New Domain of Warfare’
https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/08/chinas-military-pursuing-biotech/159167/

Under Beijing's civil-military fusion strategy, the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) is sponsoring research on gene editing, human performance enhancement, and more.

For example: ... Biology is among seven “new domains of warfare discussed in a 2017 book by Zhang Shibo (张仕波), a retired general and former president of the National Defense University, who concludes: “Modern biotechnology development is gradually showing strong signs characteristic of an offensive capability,” including the possibility that “specific ethnic genetic attacks (特定种族基因攻击) could be employed.

The 2017 edition of Science of Military Strategy (战略学), a textbook published by the PLA’s National Defense University that is considered to be relatively authoritative, debuted a section about biology as a domain of military struggle, similarly mentioning the potential for new kinds of biological warfare to include “specific ethnic genetic attacks.”

...In 2016, the potential strategic value of genetic information led the Chinese government to launch the National Genebank (国家基因库), which intends to become the world’s largest repository of such data. It aims to “develop and utilize China’s valuable genetic resources, safeguard national security in bioinformatics (生物信息学), and enhance China’s capability to seize the strategic commanding heights” in the domain of biotechnology.

The effort is administered by BGI, formerly known as Beijing Genomics Inc., which is Beijing’s de facto national champion in the field. BGI has established an edge in cheap gene sequencing, concentrating on amassing massive amounts of data from a diverse array of sources. The company has a global presence, including laboratories in California and Australia.

U.S. policymakers have been concerned, if not troubled, by the company’s access to the genetic information of Americans. BGI has been pursuing a range of partnerships, including with the University of California and with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on human genome sequencing. BGI’s research and partnerships in Xinjiang also raise questions about its linkage to human rights abuses, including the forced collection of genetic information from Uighurs in Xinjiang.

There also appear to be links between BGI’s research and military research activities, particularly with the PLA’s National University of Defense Technology. BGI’s bioinformatics research has used Tianhe supercomputers to process genetic information for biomedical applications, while BGI and NUDT researchers have collaborated on several publications, including the design of tools for the use of CRISPR.

... The PLA’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, or AMMS, which China touts as its “cradle of training for military medical talent,” was recently placed directly under the purview of the Academy of Military Science, which itself has been transformed to concentrate on scientific and technological innovation. This change could indicate a closer integration of medical science with military research.

... it is unlikely that any weapon would be 100% accurate, because it is impossible to produce a 100% accurate correlation between race and genes. ... Another problem with biological weapons is mutation: a virus specific to a single genotype or combination of genes could mutate to target another combination of genes, or spread throughout the human race. This is true even if the bio-agent is designed to be susceptible to a specific antidote, vaccine, or kill switch: any such limitation might be bypassed by mutation.

(https://www.thewrap.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/stormtroopers-say-move-along-solo-a-star-wars-story-recycled-moments-300x127.jpg)
Move Along!
------------------------

Star Trek: The Omega Glory
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Omega_Glory

... Spock surmises that the history of Omega IV closely paralleled that of Earth, until the former was devastated by a biological war which Earth had avoided.  (... or not)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 19, 2019, 07:47:27 AM
Cross-posted from the coal thread, taken from a Forbes article.
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,347.msg223124.html#msg223124 (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,347.msg223124.html#msg223124)

Quote
In the developing world, there are still over a billion people that have no access to electricity, whatsoever. 2 billion people still burn wood and manure as their main source of energy. And 3 billion more people will be born in the next 30 years.

This is a lot of people that will require a lot of energy. Just to survive. To have a reasonable life, they will need at least 3,000 kWhs per person per year. Together with everyone else, that’s about 35 trillion kWhs per year, 40% more than all the electricity produced in the world today, and the minimum amount of energy needed to eradicate global poverty and its evil stepchildren, war and terrorism.

If you think the poor don;t matter and only the rich are the problem, think again. Unless one is willing to sentence all these newborn poor to a life of poverty with no access to electricity or running water, one must take into account a fair portion of energy for these added 3 billion humans, as well as for the current poor who by rights should be allowed to improve their life by some of the aspects of modern technology.

Of course Forbes doesn't raise the other possibility, that of lowering the birth rate.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on August 19, 2019, 01:57:44 PM
Thanks for adding some numbers to my general statement above, Oren.  And if you believe that some sense of environmental equity and justice demands that the global poor get access to the resources that the upper strata already have, then that means even deeper, immediate cuts to consumption by the wealthy. And the world FREAKS OUT about GDP growth <1%/yr, much less a recession, god forbid. Too. Many. People.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on August 31, 2019, 12:18:58 PM
Capitalists talk, and say that it's not population growth, adding around 50% to current numbers within 50 years or so, that is our problem, it's population decline. "Elon Musk and Jack Ma agree: The biggest problem the world will face is population collapse"

Declining numbers of consumers is surely not going to be good for capitalism, but it might help to save the climate.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/30/elon-musk-jack-ma-biggest-problem-world-will-face-is-population-drop.html
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on August 31, 2019, 06:54:54 PM
Quote
“Most people think we have too many people on the planet, but actually, this is an outdated view,” Musk said while on stage with Ma at at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Wednesday. “Assuming there is a benevolent future with AI, I think the biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is population collapse.”

“The biggest issue in 20 years will be population collapse. Not explosion. Collapse.”

“I absolutely agree with that,” Ma said. “The population problem is going to be facing huge challenge. 1.4 billion people in China sounds a lot, but I think next 20 years, we will see this thing will bring big trouble to China. And … the speed of population decrease is going to speed up. You called it a ‘collapse,’” he said to Musk. “I agree with you.”

“Yeah, accelerating collapse,” Musk said.

I am deeply saddened to read this. Such terrible blindness, and that for someone who is normally quite bright.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: kassy on August 31, 2019, 07:17:29 PM
I always thought a declining population and advancing tech could mesh nicely.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on September 01, 2019, 03:13:35 PM
In some ways Ma and Musk are correct.  The global capitalist economy and finance system ARE dependent on endless growth.  Government health and pension programs like Medicare and Social Security (in the US) are dependent on demographics that provide a growing population of workers to support the elderly. So, the transition to an aging and shrinking population are going to create enormous challenges for existing systems of finance and governance.  However, if we are to avoid collapse, we must tackle the demographic transition as soon as possible while replacing poorly regulated capitalism with a system that can create a sustainable future.  This is the central challenge facing humanity: transitioning from our "growth phase" to a steady state (and shrinking) phase.  To point out that this will provide a challenge to growth-based capitalism is silly, obvious and trivial.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on September 01, 2019, 09:03:57 PM
This is the central challenge facing humanity: transitioning from our "growth phase" to a steady state (and shrinking) phase.  To point out that this will provide a challenge to growth-based capitalism is silly, obvious and trivial.

Yes, yes and yes.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on September 02, 2019, 03:08:00 PM
The thing is, that "population collapse" sounds thoroughly scary... but Japan is continuing to run just fine in spite of negative population growth. Probably something to look at for how we might be doing with this later...
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on September 02, 2019, 03:42:59 PM
Paddy, I am engaged in exactly this discussion on sustainability listserv I am on. Certainly we need to take the demographic transition head on and get on with it.  Getting to a stable or shrinking population will entail going through a phase of an aging population.  It will not get easier to do this in the future so there is no argument whatsoever in favor of pushing off the inevitable.  Japan's experience is heartening as you point out.  However, certain aspects of Japan's society might have helped set it up to weather the transition well: a homogeneous population, strong regard for the aged, a sense of sacrifice and communal purpose, etc., that other societies might not have.  Also, it will put more stress on the global economy as the entire world begins to age at the same time as it tries to rein in consumption to combat ecosystem collapse.

Please don't interpret my comments as saying that I want the global consumption/destruction machine (aka "the economy") to keep on humming.  I don't, only that I fear slowing and unwinding it will be extremely  bumpy and disruptive.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on September 02, 2019, 06:18:32 PM
about the meaning of language

title: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
but,
Population = the Public :o
so,
Humans are their own enemies? Hmm, sounds about right.

-

dnem, I generally agree with you but there is a decreasing time-window to perform those actions. The Keeling curve is accelerating up. Nothing has been done. We now have even more lies.
Quote
entire world begins to age at the same time as it tries to rein in consumption to combat ecosystem collapse.

The opposite is happening. That is reality.

Quote
transitioning from our "growth phase" to a steady state (and shrinking) phase

How much time do you think that would probably take and how much time do you think we have with accelerating climate change effects and biosphere collapse effects?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on September 02, 2019, 08:17:09 PM
We have no time, Nanning.  Growth needs to halt abruptly, and degrowth proceed rapidly and immediately..  That is the task in front of us: Utterly transforming the global economy on the fly. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Hefaistos on September 03, 2019, 05:55:31 AM
We have no time, Nanning.  Growth needs to halt abruptly, and degrowth proceed rapidly and immediately..  That is the task in front of us: Utterly transforming the global economy on the fly.

Nothing of all that will happen the coming 20 years!
We're living in a BAU world, we're adding billions of new people = consumers.
The only thing we'll see is some green BAU/renewable energies.
But it's still economies built on consumption, on the Holy Growth.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on September 03, 2019, 06:27:11 PM
We simply cannot grow our way out of a problem whose root cause is growth It defies reason that anyone would suggest this. You cannot look at any macroscopic metric and not find evidence of growth in the form of exponential trends.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on September 04, 2019, 01:13:38 AM
I don't believe that Jack Ma has ever claimed to be a humanitarian. Fearing a population decline might be rational if your sole goal is to sell more stuff. George Carlin had a few good riffs on "more stuff".
Those seeking a better, sustainable future for mankind seem almost united in calling for a future without population growth.
 
I stroked the "almost" as I removed Das Elon from the list of those that even go through the motions.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on September 04, 2019, 05:30:39 PM
The goal of Bezos and Ma, Amazon and Ali Baba, is to remove all friction from the consumption process.  They desire a world where more products can get into the hands of more consumers, as quickly and easily as possible. It is essentially the diametric opposite of what the world needs: slow, artisanal, localized production of products that are useful, valuable, sustainable and bring meaning to the maker and the user. Globalized, low cost, mass production and true sustainability are mutually exclusive.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on September 07, 2019, 12:09:42 AM
Bernie Sanders in climate change 'population control' uproar
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49601678
Quote
"The answer has everything to do with the fact that women in the United States of America, by the way, have a right to control their own bodies, and make reproductive decisions.

"The Mexico City Agreement which denies American aid to those organisations around the world that allow women to have abortions or even get involved in birth control to me is totally absurd.

"So I think, especially in poor countries around the world where women do not necessarily want to have large numbers of babies, and where they can have the opportunity through birth control to control the number of kids they have, is something I very, very strongly support."
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: wdmn on September 07, 2019, 12:17:26 AM
Bernie knows what's up
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on September 11, 2019, 09:55:19 PM
The World and the UN Must Reduce Population Growth
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/new-sdg-dampen-population-growth-by-frank-gotmark-and-robin-maynard-2019-09
Quote
On September 24-25, world leaders will gather at the United Nations in New York to review progress toward the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs, which aim “to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all,” are commendable, and summarize the kind of world many of us wish to see in 2030. But if this vision is to have any chance of materializing, governments must now add an 18th goal: “Dampen population growth.”
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on September 18, 2019, 06:49:05 PM
For many reporters covering climate, population remains the elephant in the room
https://www.cjr.org/covering_climate_now/population-climate-crisis.php
Quote
If any article is only talking about flying less, or eating less meat, “it’s borderline dangerous and misleading,” Erica Gies, an independent journalist who has written about population and her personal decision not to have children, says. “Or the writer is ill-informed, doesn’t want to look at the reality, or open themselves up to the personal attack that is writing about it.”

If not having another child saves more than 20 times more carbon per year, why aren’t more journalists talking about human population in proportion to the climate impact that it can have?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on September 21, 2019, 01:27:28 AM
Teens pledge to stop having babies over climate change
https://nypost.com/2019/09/19/teens-pledge-to-stop-having-babies-over-climate-change/
Quote
As a result, Lim started a website where people can pledge to abstain from having children until “the government can ensure a safe future for them.” The site has garnered almost 1,000 pledges as of Thursday morning.

“It breaks my heart, but I created this pledge because I know I am not alone,” Lim writes on the site. “I am not the only young person giving up lifelong dreams because they are unsure of what the future will hold. We’ve read the science, and now we’re pleading with our government.”

Her fellow pledges echoed her sentiment with one environmental abstainer from Germany saying “I see it as irresponsible to bring children into such dangers.”
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 31, 2019, 06:19:54 PM
Is population control the answer to fixing climate change?
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/population-climate-change-1.5331133
Quote
"It is a very complicated, multifaceted relationship. Population issues certainly are an important dimension of how society will unfold, how society will be able to cope with this crisis over the course of this century," said Kathleen Mogelgaard, a consultant on population dynamics and climate change and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland.
"But it's not a silver bullet, and it's certainly not the main cause of climate change. And fully addressing population growth is not, on its own, going to be able to solve the climate crisis. But it is an important piece of the puzzle."
God told Man to fill the Earth. When you've filled a cup, you don't just keep pouring.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Sigmetnow on November 17, 2019, 07:37:14 PM
Todd R. Jones on Twitter: "Falling fertility around the world, 100+ years.”
https://mobile.twitter.com/toddrjones/status/1195476826728128514
Truncated image below.  Four graph-gifs in the thread.  Worth a look.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on November 18, 2019, 04:38:06 PM
I found this a thoughtful and interesting essay about falling fertility rates and "late capitalism."  Longish but well worth the time.  Her basic point is that late capitalism is increasingly failing to create the social context within which procreation makes sense.  And people around the world are recognizing that.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/opinion/sunday/capitalism-children.html
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 18, 2019, 04:48:09 PM
dnem:
I am not going to waste one of my few free articles on this,, but I was wondering...
Does this include Africa and the Middle East, which IIRC were still rapidly growing a few years ago?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on November 18, 2019, 06:38:35 PM
Hmm I don't know if that's nice of you Tom, that sounds like the rich country people (you) don't have 'mirrors' and knowledge of our current predicament's causes and global per capita carbon footprint.
Please have some empathy and generosity for the poor in the middle east when you're there.
Perhaps I misinterpret you Tom.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: dnem on November 18, 2019, 06:59:48 PM
Hmm I don't know if that's nice of you Tom, that sounds like the rich country people (you) don't have 'mirrors' and knowledge of our current predicament's causes and global per capita carbon footprint.
Please have some empathy and generosity for the poor in the middle east when you're there.
Perhaps I misinterpret you Tom.

No, not explicitly.  The article is more about how even in places with what should be the best conditions supporting family life, increasingly people are turning away from it, for a range of reasons, causing below replacement rates all over the developed world. She attributes this to a range of failings of modernity.  I believe she makes mention of the desire to expand high-consumption lifestyles to the lesser developed world and how that might impact choices about procreation down the road.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 18, 2019, 07:06:06 PM
nanning, I am on disability. When I was working I was at or near minimum wage. I am living off disability and my father's inheritance. I have to decide what sources of information I can afford. When there is so much available for free on the World Wide Web, I am not going to pay the New York Times for unlimited articles. So I have to pick my monthly articles very carefully.
As for my feelings of people in the places I mentioned, my understanding was that their fertility rate, last I heard, was the highest in the world, and well above the replacement level. My question about them was whether that had changed in recent years.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on November 18, 2019, 07:45:17 PM
Thanks for the explanation :). I would admit that I am wrong were your text not posted in this thread "Population: Public Enemy No. 1". Do you understand what I mean?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 18, 2019, 09:23:39 PM
I do not want population to grow until we are living on the planet Gideon. I don't see why it has to grow more than it has so far, at least until we start building space colonies or discover star drives or something.
Keep population stable with NFP or contraceptives.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Stephen on November 18, 2019, 10:01:59 PM
The biggest problem with population is that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, short of genocide.  I mean, what exactly would you suggest, forced contraception?

Saying that population is a problem is like sitting on a beach and saying that an approaching tsunami is a problem.  Yes. It is.  But there is nothing you can do to stop it.  The only thing we can do is try to figure out how to deal with the consequences.


Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on November 18, 2019, 10:50:21 PM
As has been said in this thread a few times before, population growth can be reduced quite ethically by increasing women's access to education, employment and contraception, all of which reduces the fertility rate and population growth; women have fewer children later when they have education and jobs to focus on.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Stephen on November 18, 2019, 11:22:07 PM
As has been said in this thread a few times before, population growth can be reduced quite ethically by increasing women's access to education, employment and contraception, all of which reduces the fertility rate and population growth; women have fewer children later when they have education and jobs to focus on.

Yes, I know, but that's a very long term solution.  It doesn't help us in the next 10 or 20 years.  Also, it probably won't happen at all because the big religions are all opposed to women's rights and access to contraception and education.  If religion wins the war of culture and ideology then it will be because they can outgrow all of us sophisticated, ethical, secular types. 
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on November 19, 2019, 01:36:00 AM
The biggest problem with population is that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, short of genocide.  I mean, what exactly would you suggest, forced contraception?

Saying that population is a problem is like sitting on a beach and saying that an approaching tsunami is a problem.  Yes. It is.  But there is nothing you can do to stop it.  The only thing we can do is try to figure out how to deal with the consequences.
A. You are quite right.
B. Just to note, I would suggest immediate global voluntary avoidance of having babies for two decades, except for a single child per woman over the age of 27 and then only if she wants it.
C. It will not be implemented, for political and social reasons. But the same is true for a global carbon tax, ban on flights and over-consumption, moving the economy to a war footing and converting it rapidly to renewables, and other such good solutions. That does not mean one cannot advocate for them, especially on this forum.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: SteveMDFP on November 19, 2019, 02:17:47 AM
nanning, I am on disability. When I was working I was at or near minimum wage. I am living off disability and my father's inheritance. I have to decide what sources of information I can afford. When there is so much available for free on the World Wide Web, I am not going to pay the New York Times for unlimited articles. So I have to pick my monthly articles very carefully.
...

There's a workaround.  Many of these sites use javascript to tell you to subscribe.  In many browsers, you can install a javascript switch add-on.  Block javascript, and most of these will open to your eyes.  Turning off javascript selectively can be handy.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 19, 2019, 02:44:27 AM
Intersting, SteveMDFP.
I admit I used to sometimes watch cartoons on pirate sites, and downloaded oldies music on such sites, but I have repented of this and ceased and desisted. How is this morally different?
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: sidd on November 19, 2019, 06:08:56 AM
A. discussion on abortion broke out on another thread. I suggested part of that discussion be moved here, to wit: the pros, cons and moral implications.

Something to note is that humans, great apes and some chimpanzees are the only placentals with an invasive placenta, not easily aborted by the host mother. Other species can resorb the foetus or spontaneously abort with greater ease.  Rabbits do that a lot in response to stress.

sidd
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on November 19, 2019, 06:23:32 AM
<snip>How is this morally different?

Good morning Tom.
Whether something is legal or not has no direct connection with morality. Morality is not dogma or law.
XR is a high morality activity but it breaks the law.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Ktb on November 19, 2019, 11:07:07 AM
I am sure it has been posted before, but making abortion illegal DOES NOT stop abortion. It makes abortion dangerous. Because it will still occur. Except now it will be by coat hangers, baseball bats, and assorted liquids purchased over the internet, instead of by medical professionals.

If people truly wanted to stop/decrease abortion, the way to go about it is better sex education and free, unlimited prophylaxis (condoms, the pill, IUD).
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Aporia_filia on November 19, 2019, 12:32:08 PM
Totally agree ktb. Me, as usual, bring back the idea of finding patterns of behaviour in humanity as a hole. I find Asimov's invention, the psychohistory, a very interesting path to follow. Some of you have just mentioned our impossibility to confront actual population growth, at least in time to stop a catastrophe. Humanity behaves out off control for individual minds.
This is a long read focusing in the effort done in this direction by a few mathematicians. I find the results a bit pathetic comparing them to what our individual understanding can grasp from our little knowledge. Obviously the task of dealing with our evolution is not easy. It's easy to see how we're loosing our jaw and teeth but not where our behavior is taking us to (although we expect problems)
But again, is population boom the only parameter found to explain a latter collapse.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/12/history-as-a-giant-data-set-how-analysing-the-past-could-help-save-the-future
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on November 19, 2019, 12:54:14 PM
No woman should be forced to have an abortion.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on November 19, 2019, 05:29:48 PM
I agree. And no woman should be forced to not use abortion.
What if she's raped, the poor human.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Shared Humanity on November 20, 2019, 12:14:33 AM
The biggest problem with population is that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, short of genocide.  I mean, what exactly would you suggest, forced contraception?

Saying that population is a problem is like sitting on a beach and saying that an approaching tsunami is a problem.  Yes. It is.  But there is nothing you can do to stop it.  The only thing we can do is try to figure out how to deal with the consequences.

This is a very difficult problem and genocide and forced sterilizations are not the solution. The thing is, if we can't figure out a solution, mother nature will impose it's own and it is going to be nasty.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: TerryM on November 20, 2019, 12:48:23 PM
I think that by eliminating abortion and sterilization you've eliminated all of the least horrific solutions possible.


An infinite population in a finite space simply isn't possible. China has shown that a one child policy is viable. When will the rest of the world conceded that breeding more people than can be cared for is inhumane, unjust & impractical.


If you attempted it with any other animal species you would properly be arrested.
Terry
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on November 21, 2019, 09:44:46 AM
As has been said in this thread a few times before, population growth can be reduced quite ethically by increasing women's access to education, employment and contraception, all of which reduces the fertility rate and population growth; women have fewer children later when they have education and jobs to focus on.

Yes, I know, but that's a very long term solution.  It doesn't help us in the next 10 or 20 years.  Also, it probably won't happen at all because the big religions are all opposed to women's rights and access to contraception and education.  If religion wins the war of culture and ideology then it will be because they can outgrow all of us sophisticated, ethical, secular types.

Except that it is happening, among the religious and the irreligious.  The net reproduction rate has fallen to 1.09 daughters per woman.  9% fewer and we're at replacement fertility.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 21, 2019, 02:07:45 PM
Quote
Except that it is happening, among the religious and the irreligious.  The net reproduction rate has fallen to 1.09 daughters per woman.  9% fewer and we're at replacement fertility.
I thought replacement was about 1.05 daughters, to allow for a few who don't reproduce (die early, never marry, etc.)
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: oren on November 21, 2019, 03:43:03 PM
Quote
Except that it is happening, among the religious and the irreligious.  The net reproduction rate has fallen to 1.09 daughters per woman.  9% fewer and we're at replacement fertility.
I thought replacement was about 1.05 daughters, to allow for a few who don't reproduce (die early, never marry, etc.)
I'm not sure where the 1.09 number comes from, but I'm sure it already takes into account those that don't bear children, averaging with those that do.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: GoodeWeather on November 21, 2019, 04:16:47 PM
I think that by eliminating abortion and sterilization you've eliminated all of the least horrific solutions possible.


An infinite population in a finite space simply isn't possible. China has shown that a one child policy is viable. When will the rest of the world conceded that breeding more people than can be cared for is inhumane, unjust & impractical.


If you attempted it with any other animal species you would properly be arrested.
Terry

Sorry gotta do it.   China's One Child policy was not viable for the continued stability of their economy which is why they ended it in 2015.

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2019/oct/07/john-oliver-china-one-child-policy-last-week-tonight-recap

The most alarming thing about this, is the ratio of men to women now in China.  Roughly 34 MILLION more men than women.  Also with an aging population it is putting incredible stress on the younger generation.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 21, 2019, 04:29:09 PM
Quote
Roughly 34 MILLION more men than women.
Knowing the position of genders in China, I'm surprised it's that low.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: Paddy on November 22, 2019, 09:11:06 AM
Quote
Except that it is happening, among the religious and the irreligious.  The net reproduction rate has fallen to 1.09 daughters per woman.  9% fewer and we're at replacement fertility.
I thought replacement was about 1.05 daughters, to allow for a few who don't reproduce (die early, never marry, etc.)
I'm not sure where the 1.09 number comes from, but I'm sure it already takes into account those that don't bear children, averaging with those that do.

Correct: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_reproduction_rate
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: vox_mundi on December 21, 2019, 01:50:46 AM
World's Population to Hit 7.75 Billion in 2019
https://dw.com/en/worlds-population-to-hit-775-billion-in-2019/a-51758905

The alarming increase is the estimate from a German foundation that monitors populations. It also suggests the 8 billion mark will be reached in the year 2023.

The estimate gauges that the world's population will have increased by 83 million since January 1 2019, which equates to roughly the number of inhabitants in Germany.

The globe's population is increasing at the rate of 156 every minute and Germany's Foundation for World Population (DSW) predict the 8 billion mark will be surpassed within four years.

The foundation also predicts that Africa's population will double over the next 20 years. An African mother bears 4.4 children on average compared to the global average of 2.4.
Title: Re: Population: Public Enemy No. 1
Post by: nanning on December 21, 2019, 07:13:36 AM
Historic (in my view):

Civilisation's perverse population explosion was driven primarily by:


Modern: