The major problem with the UN’s approach is that it has revised upwards the projected growth rates of the world from its predictions in 2008 despite the fact that the current actual world population and growth rates are lower than that predicted two years ago. So in effect the UN has predicted that the future growth rates will be higher than it predicted at a time when the actual growth rate and population was higher.
I think we'll eventually end up not having to impose too hard a hand there, since people do have to pay to raise the children they have
Really, nobody under the poverty line or homeless in Iowa? Great job.
I used to live in Southern California; we had smog alerts in the 70s and couldn't play outside. There are twice as many people there now, and the air is cleaner, not worse.
You're exactly right about that. Clearly there is an upper bound for human population on this planet. I just think that there is no way to accurately determine that number, as no model can sufficiently capture the impact of technological discoveries.
Lomborg's estimate of extinction rates is at odds with the vast majority of respected scholarship on extinction. His estimate, "0.7 percent over the next 50 years" -- or 0.014 percent per year -- is an order of magnitude smaller than the most conservative species extinction rates by authorities in the field. Here is my brief response to the analysis of extinction rates in The Skeptical Environmentalist.
Before humans existed, the species extinction rate was (very roughly) one species per million species per year (0.0001 percent). Estimates for current species extinction rates range from 100 to 10,000 times that, but most hover close to 1,000 times prehuman levels (0.1 percent per year), with the rate projected to rise, and very likely sharply. To wit:
Based on the work of Stuart Pimm of Columbia University's Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, anywhere from one to several bird species go extinct annually out of 10,000 known species -- hence, say 0.01-0.03 percent of living bird species are extinguished per year. But birds are unusual in that threatened bird species receive an extraordinary amount of human intervention: The real figure of observed extinctions would be much higher, very likely 10 (0.1 percent) per year or more, were it not for heroic efforts to save species on the brink of extinction. Captive breeding, strict protection, and maintenance of reserves especially designed for bird and mammal species have many species hanging on that would otherwise have gone globally extinct in the past several decades. See, for example, the special treatment accorded the nine critically endangered but extant psittacids (parrots). If you look at non-bird species -- for example, terrestrial and freshwater mollusks, a relatively unprotected group -- the extinction rates are much higher.
between half a million and 2 million species - 15 to 20 percent of all species on earth - could be extinguished by 2000, mainly because of loss of wildlife habitat but also in part because of pollution
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