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Limits to growth redux
February 12, 2006 3:39 PM   Subscribe

State of the World 2006, an annual research report prepared by the Worldwatch Institute, has just been released, with a special focus on China and India. Although Limits to Growth type predictions have had their critics, many of the stats and projections presented have a certain brutal inevitability about them.
posted by wilful (14 comments total)

 
From the last link:

"Since 1980, China's economy has been growing at a rate averaging about 9.5 per cent a year. That means it doubles in size every eight years. India's economy has been growing by only about 5.5 per cent a year, meaning that it doubles only every 13 years."

"The US, with less than 5 per cent of the world's population, requires a remarkable quarter of global biocapacity to support itself. Europe and Japan, with 10 per cent of the world's population, require another quarter. At present, China and India, with almost 40 per cent, require another quarter."

"China already uses 26 per cent of the world's crude steel, 32 per cent of the rice, 37 per cent of the cotton and 47 per cent of the cement."
posted by wilful at 3:44 PM on February 12, 2006


was there any mention of the word: "sustainable" ?
posted by specialk420 at 3:46 PM on February 12, 2006


So, to be brief, we're all screwed?
posted by unreason at 3:58 PM on February 12, 2006


Of course, for the pedants amongst us (oh I know you're around) the 2006 report is not released annually. Here's the full list, BTW, since 1984.
posted by wilful at 4:02 PM on February 12, 2006


unreason, short answer, yes.

soil loss, desertification, excess water use, anthropogenic climate change, aren't things that loook easily amenable to a tech fix, not without a radical revolution in agriculture and lifestyle expectations.
posted by wilful at 4:04 PM on February 12, 2006


peak earth
posted by sourbrew at 4:07 PM on February 12, 2006


Oh well, I'm sure we'll figure out some way of living so that we all don't die. It'll just take a while.
posted by grex at 4:22 PM on February 12, 2006


Paul Ehrlich vs. Julian Simon.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:30 PM on February 12, 2006


I have hope in future generations, but not my own. It will take a WWI-scale environmental catastrophe to wake up from this age of innocence we all live in.
posted by stbalbach at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2006


Damnit, if we were going to have a doomsday, why couldn't we get a cool one with aliens and robots and shit, rather than the low rent Soylent Green one?
posted by unreason at 5:03 PM on February 12, 2006


Re Julian Simon: Christ, what an asshole.
posted by sourwookie at 7:36 PM on February 12, 2006


"Since 1980, China's economy has been growing at a rate averaging about 9.5 per cent a year. That means it doubles in size every eight years. India's economy has been growing by only about 5.5 per cent a year, meaning that it doubles only every 13 years."

For that to mean anything, you need to account for the corresponding population growth rate. If your economy is growing at 4% and your population at 5%, then that's not quite good, is it? I don't know; I'm not an economist, but I think that's how it works.
posted by Eideteker at 10:44 AM on February 13, 2006


Except, eideteker, the population growth rate is immaterial to the point of the quote, which is that consumption of inputs is predicted to double in 8 years for China.

BTW, China's population growth is about 1%, India's about 2.5% (not that that's relevant).
posted by wilful at 2:26 PM on February 13, 2006


Ok, thanks. I wasn't being sarcastic when I said I'm not an economist; I'd like to understand more about these numbers being thrown around.
posted by Eideteker at 2:32 PM on February 13, 2006


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