3E Intelligence

I already argued in earlier posts that population is the big taboo in our climate/energy crisis. Fortunately, there are some organisations which have the courage and leadership to address the issue, although I still feel they lack the political answers to deal with this issue.

A new report by the UK’s Optimum Population Trust shows future population growth in the UK (from 60 to 77 million by 2050) will cancel out all planned policies to reduce carbon emissions. To live sustainably, the UK will have to reduce its ecological footprint by more than 70% says the study “The sustainability of human populations: How many people can live on Earth?” which was published on 18 February.

Here is an extract of the press release:

Even a zero-carbon Britain would have a maximum sustainable population of 40 million if it refused to change its lifestyle and its non-carbon footprint therefore remained unaltered. ‘In reality,’ the paper argues, ‘a ‘zero-carbon’ UK could never reach sustainability without population reduction: the lifestyle reductions demanded would be too great.'”

The Trust advocates smaller families, increased use of contraception and a national population policy. I think the population crisis needs more sophisticated answers than this, including global education, redistribution and better gender policies.

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  1. Willy,

    Thanks for writing about this important subject. I’m producing a documentary that challenges a lot of the conventional thinking about growth, and I will dwell considerably on population’s role in the sustainability equation, as well as the taboo on talking about it!

    Dave Gardner
    Hooked on Growth: Our Misguided Quest for Prosperity

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