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Sunday July 11, 2021 – Reduce Population – When I read comments on articles about global warming, I usually come across at least one that says that the problems come not from fossil fuel use but from overpopulation. Over population, of course, is a major contributor to global warming, but this is just because more people means that more fossil fuel is being used. This impacts the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
More people means that we need to extract more natural resources to maintain living standards. We also need to grow more food to feed this growing population. That means we will need to increase the amount of land dedicated to food production and to house all these people. The growing population will also need more energy to maintain their lifestyles.
The impact of the population growth is most obvious in the area of increased energy requirements. These additional energy requirements can be obtained from renewable resources and this will not put additional CO2 into the atmosphere but it may impact our ability to get rid of older fossil fuel power plants slowing the transition to full renewable energy.
Agriculture is a major contributor to the growth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere so expanding agriculture without doing it in a way that will not increase greenhouse gas production could once again slow down reductions in emissions from existing agricultural operations.
The biggest danger though comes from expanded land use. Old growth forests for example may be converted to agriculture which will greatly impact their ability to sequester CO2. We have also seen an increase in slash and burn techniques depleting rain forests and this can be expected to increase as population continues to grow.
Reducing population has always been a thorny issue. For starters, the urge to propagate in one of our basic survival instincts so curbing that is going to be difficult. In addition, we live in a capitalist economy and capitalist economies require growth to flourish. Growth is driven by an increase in customers and in the wide view this means that we need more and more people to fuel the growth of the economy. Of course, the economy can be grown by increasing the wealth of existing people so they purchase more and more stuff, but this can only be taken so far, especially if the population in general is contracting.
When the USA was founded in 1776 the population of the world was around 1 billion people. Since then, it has grown to a staggering 7.7 billion people and the growth shows no sign of slowing down. All these additional people are placing a huge strain on the world’s resources.
If we are to prevent the worst effects of global warming, we are really going to need to address the overpopulation issue we need to stabilize populate at current levels, or at least slow down population growth rates considerably. One way to accomplish this is to increase the standard of living of all people across the world. It has been shown that countries with higher standards of living also have lower growth rates.
Eliminating population growth is important beyond the what we need to do to avoid global warming. If the population continues to grow at the current pace, it will eventually lead to civil unrest as food shortages and increased overcrowding cause mass migrations. It is a very difficult issue that we will have to come to terms with eventually.
Next, I will talk about what to do if all else fails
If you want to comment on this topic, email me, but please include your Name, City and State or Country