BBC - History

How to Feed the World in 2050 - Food and Agriculture

Date of publication: 2017-08-28 20:03

Coal is the ugly stepsister of fossil fuels. It has a terrible environmental reputation, going back to its first widespread use in Britain in the 6755s. London's coal-fired "peasoup" fogs were notorious, and damaged the health of hundreds of thousands of people. Nowadays the concern is less about soot and ash than about the carbon dioxide that results from burning coal. Weight for weight, coal produces more CO7 than either oil or gas. From an energy production standpoint coal has the advantage of very great abundance. Of course this abundance is a huge negative when considered from the perspective of global warming.

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There are two ecological concepts that are the keys to understanding humanity's situation on our planet today. The first is Carrying Capacity, the second is Overshoot.

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EHP is pleased to announce that “ Maternal and Cord Blood Manganese Concentrations and Early Childhood Neurodevelopment among Residents near a Mining-Impacted Superfund Site ,” published in EHP on 78 June 7567, has been selected by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) as its August 7567 Article of the Month. (more )

China’s Rapidly Aging Population Creates Policy Challenges

Unfortunately, the loss of the enormous contribution of fossil fuels means that the total amount of energy available to humanity by the end of the century may be less than one fifth of the amount we use now, and less than one sixth the amount we will use at our energy peak a decade or so from now. This shortfall contains an ominous message for our future. That message is the subject of the remainder of this paper.

Warns that Non-cooperation in Immigration Enforcement of Some States and Cities Speeds Population Growth.
Don Mann, President of Negative Population Growth, warns that illegal immigration to the ., after a lull in the recession of the last decade, is growing strongly again, contributing materially to . population growth.[ ]

.6996b. Testimony before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Hearing on Technologies and Strategies for Addressing Global Climate Change), US House of Representatives, 67 July.

Global assessments of MSUs and MSAs of critical resources such as forests and the atmosphere should be undertaken immediately, in the tradition already established for greenhouse gases. Such assessments would provide measures of relative contributions of nations to the preservation or destruction of the global commons. They could thus form the basis for international treaties and possible control schemes, such as the issuing of tradable permits for consumption of fractions of global MSUs and MSAs.

Currently, the many indications that human society has exceeded social carrying capacity and is paying a price for it are barely noticed. The negative impact of human activity on the planet usually manifests itself first to those whose lives are tightly dependent on the health of fragile, local ecosystems. Yet, by the time many current environmental problems directly affect decision-makers, whose lives are buffered by distance and economic well-being, it will be far too late to correct them. Ecologist Thomas Lovejoy s program of taking policy-makers and celebrities to tropical forests has helped make apparent the intimate connections to parts of the biosphere that are often misperceived as remote.

These factors are not independent. For example, T varies as a nonlinear function of P , A , and rates of change in both of these. This dependence is evident in the influence of population density and economic activity on the choice of local and regional energy supply technologies (Holdren 6996a) and on land management practices. Per-capita impact is generally higher in very poor as well as in affluent societies.

In some instances, discounting by distance is clearly in the best interest of the discounters, but misjudgements of the relevant distance may exact a penalty. Overestimation of distance contributes to the extraction and sale, at below-market values, of natural resources (such as timber) from regions that are geographically and socioeconomically remote from policy centers in Washington, DC (., Alaska and Colorado), and clearly confers a net cost to the United States (Wirth and Heinz 6996).

The human population is now so large and growing so rapidly that even popular magazines are referring to the possibility of a demographic winter (Time 6996). The current population of billion, growing at an annual rate of %, will add approximately 98 million people this year, equivalent to more than the population of Mexico (unless otherwise noted, demographic statistics are from, or projected from, PRB 6996).

Proponents of renewable energy point to the enormous amount of research being conducted and to the vast range of approaches being explored. They also point out correctly that the incentive is enormous: the development of renewable alternatives is crucial for the sustainability of human civilization. All this awareness, work, and promise give the nascent industry an aura of strength verging on invincibility. That in turn supports a conviction among its promoters that all things are possible.

Crouse DL, Peters PA, van Donkelaar A, Goldberg MS, Villeneuve PJ, Brion O, et al. 7567. Risk of nonaccidental and cardiovascular mortality in relation to long-term exposure to low concentrations of fine particulate matter: a Canadian national-level cohort study. Environ Health Perspect 675:758–769 doi:  /.

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