Is life facing real threat on the EARTH ? If population level continues to rise at the current rate, our grand children will see the Earth plunged into an unprecedented environmental crisis ! This startling fact has come to light in a well-known well-researched book- TEN BILLION, written by the Computational Scientist Stephen Emott. I got a chance to see the book at a glance and complete review of the book in The Guardian. Apart from describing the real facts, prevailing on the Earth, the writer has enumerated various problems, being faced by the people on the globe! Notable among those are climate problems and growing population responsible for large scale of deforestation as well as water crisis.
Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Us.Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. If fact we are having a profound impact on it. Indeed, our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problems we face. And every one of these problems is accelerating .. In fact, the writer says, " I believe we can rightly call the situation we are in right now an emergency-an unprecedented planetary emergency. We human emerged as a species about 200,000 years ago, there were one million of us . In geological time, that is really incredibly recently.y 1800, just 10,000 years ago, there were one million of us.. By 1960, just over 50 years ago, there were three billion of us.. There are now over seven billion of us. By 2050, your children's children, will living on a planet with at least nine billion other people. Some time towards the end of this century, there will be at least 10 billion of us.Possibly more." (My Blog essay: "The World as '100';Christians dominate the globe- Muslims come second-May 30, 2013-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com).
" we got to where we are now through a number of civilisation-and society shaping events, most notably the agricultural revolution, the scientific revolution, the industrial revolution and in the west-the public-health revolution. By 1980, there were five billion of us. By this point initial signs of the consequences of our growth were starting to show. Not the least of these was on water.our demand for water-not just the water we drank but the water we needed for food production and to make all the stuff we are consuming-was going through the roof. But some thing was starting to happen to water.......
In 1984 , journalists reported from Ethiopia about a famine of biblical proportions caused by widespread drought. Unusual drought and unusual flooding was increasing everywhere:Australia,Asia, and the US and the Europe. (My blog essay: "Hunger looming large over Globe"- June 19, 2012-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com) . Water, a vital resource we had thought as abundant, was now suddenly something that had the potential to be scarce.
GLOBAL WARMING: By 2000 there were six billion of us. It was becoming clear to the world's scientific community that the accumulation of CO2 methane and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere-as a result of increasing agriculture, land use and production, processing and transportation of everything we are consuming-was changing the climate. And that as a result, we had a serious problem on our hands: 1998 had been the warmest year on the record. The ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998........"we hear the term climate every day, so it is worth thinking about what we actually mean by it. Obviously, climate is not the same as weather. The climate is one of the Earth's fundamental life support system, one that determines whether or not we humans are able to live on this planet. It is generated by four components: the atmosphere (the air we breathe); the hydrosphere (the planet's water); the cryosphere (the ice sheets and glasciries); the biosphere (the planet's plants and animals). By now, our activities had started to modify everyone of these components...............
......Our emissions of CO2 modify our atmosphere. Our increasing water use had started to modify our hdrosphere'. Rising atmospheric and sea-surface temperature had started to modify the cyosphere, most notably in the unexpected shrinking of the Arctic and Greenland ice sheets. Our increasing use of land for agriculture, cities, roads , mining -as well as all the pollution we are creating-had started to modify our biosphere. Or , to put it another way:we had started to change our climate......There are now more than seven billion of us on Earth. As our numbers continue to grow, we continue to increase our need for far more water, far more food, far more land, far more transport and far more energy. As a result, we are accelerating the rate at which we are changing our climate. In fact our activities are not only completely interconnected..
CLIMATE PROBLEM: Moreover the emerging climate problem is entirely on different scale. The problem is that we may well be heading towards a number of critical tipping points in the global climate system. There is politically agreed global targets-driven by the Integrated Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-to limit the global average temperature rise to 2C. The rationale for this target is that a rise above 2C carries a significant risk of catastrophic climate change that would almost certainly lead to irreversible planetary tipping points, caused by events such as melting of the Greenland ice shelf, the release of frozen methane deposits from Arctic tundra or die back of the Amazon. In fact, the two are happening now-at below the 2C threshold.
As for the third, we are not waiting for climate change to do this: we are doing it right now through deforestation. And recent research shows that we look certain to be heading for a larger rise in global average temperatures than 2C-a far larger size. It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average rise of 4C-wand we cannot rule out a rise of 6C. This will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth Will become a hellhole. In the decades along the way, we will witness unprecedented extremes in weather, fires, floods, heatwaves, loss of crops and forest, water stress and catastrophic sea-level rise. Large part of Africa will become permanent disaster areas. The Amazon could be turned into savannah or even desert. and the entire agriculture system will be faced with an unprecedented threat.
More fortunate countries such as the UK,the USA and most of Europe may well look like something approaching militarised countries with heavily defended border controls designed to prevent millions of people from entering, people who are on the move because their own country is no longer habitable or has insufficient water and food or is experiencing conflict over increasingly scarce resources. These people will be climate migrants. The term climate migrants is one we will increasingly to have to get used to. Indeed, anyone who thinks that the emerging global state of affairs does not have great potential for civil and international conflict is deluding themselves. It is coincidence that almost every scientific conference that I go to about climate change now has a new type of attendee: the military.
WATER USE: ........there are increasing aspect of water use.:hidden water. Hidden water is water used to produce things we consume but typically do not think of as containing water. Such things include chicken, beef, cotton, cars, chocolate and mobile phones. For example: it takes around 3,000 liters of water to produce burger a burger. In 2012 around five billion burgers were consumed in the UK alone. That is 15 trillion liters of waters-on burgers. Just in the UK. Some thing like 14 billion burgers were consumed in the United States in 2012. That is around 42 trillion liters of water. To produce burgers in the US. In one year, it takes around 9,000 liters of water to produce a chicken. In the UK alone we consumed around one billion chickens in 2012. It takes around 27,000 liters of water to produce one kilo gram of chocolate. That is roughly 2,700 liters of water per bar of chocolate.
This should be surely be something to think about while you are curled up ion a sofa eating it in your payjama as there is bad news of pyjamas. Cotton pyjamas take 9,000 liters of water to produce. And it takes 100 liters of water to produce a cup of coffee. And that is before any water has actually been added to your coffee. We probably drank about 20 billion cups of coffee last year in the UK. And- irony of ironies-it takes something like four liters of water to produce a one-litre plastic bottle of water. Last year, in the UK alone, we bought, drank and threw away nine billion plastic water bottles. That is 36 billion liters of water, used completely unnecessarily. Water wasted to produce bottles-for water. And it takes around 72,000 liters of water to produce one of the chips that typically powers your laptops, Sat Nav, phone, iPad and your car. In short, we are consuming water, like food, at a rate that is completely unsustainable.
LAND FOR FOOD: Demand for land for food is going to double--at least- by 2050 and triple-at least-by the end of this century. This means that pressure to clear many of the world's remaining tropical rain forests for human use is going to intensify every decade because this is predominantly the only available land that is left for expanding agriculture at scale. Unless Siberia-thaws out before we finish deforestation. By 2050 one billion hectare of land is likely to be cleared to meet rising food demands from growing population. (My blog essay: World-wide poverty alarm man-kind- September seven 2011 and Poverty and starvation deaths-July 10, 2011-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com )
This is an area greater than US.a nd accompanying this will be three gaga tons per year extra CO2 emissions. If Siberia does thaw out before we finish our deforestation, it will result in a vast amount of new land being available for agriculture as well as opening up a very rich source of minerals, metals, oil and gas, In the process this would almost certainly completely change global geopolitics. Siberia thawing would turn Russia into remarkable economic and political;l force this century because of its newly uncovered minerals, agricultural and energy resources. It would also inevitably be accompanied by vast stores pf methane-currently sealed under the Siberian permafrost tundra-being released, greatly accelerating our climate problems even further.
Notably, another three billion people are going to need somewhere to live. By 2050, 70 percent of us are going to be living in cities.. This century will see the rapid expansion of cities as well as the emergence of entirely new cities that do not yet exist. It is worth mentioning that of the 19 Brazilian cities that have doubled in population in the past decades, ten are in Amazon. All this is going to use yet more land. (My blog-64 million urban population in major cities live in slums-March 26, 2013-www.kksingh1.blogspot.com)
Currently the globe has no means of being able to feed 10 billion of us at our current rate of consumption and with our current agriculture system. Indeed, simply to feed our selves in the next 40 years, we will need to produce more food than the entire agricultural output of the past 10,000 years combined. Yet food productivity productivity is set to decline, possibly very sharply, over the coming decades due to : climate change; soil degradation and desertification-both of which are increasing rapidly in many parts of the world; and water stress. By the end of this century, large parts of the planet will not have any usable water.
POLLUTION &DISEASES:At the same time, the global shipping and airline sectors are projected to continue to expand rapidly every year, transporting more of us and more of the stuff we want to consume, around the planet year on year. That is going to cause enormous problems for us in terms of more CO2 emissions, more black carbon and more pollution for mining and processing to make all this stuff. In transporting this stuff all over the planet, we are also creating a highly efficient network for the global spread of potentially catastrophic diseases.
There is a global pandemic just 95 years ago-the Spanish flu pandemic, which is now estimated to have killed up to 100 million people. And that is before one of our more questionable innovation-the the budget airline-was invented. The combination of millions of people travelling around the world every day, plus millions more people living in extremely close proximity to igs and poultry-often in the same room, making a new virus jumping the species barrier more likely-means we are increasing, significantly, the probability of a new global pandemic. So no wonder then that epidemiologists increasingly agree that a new global pandemic is now matter of when not if.
ENERGY OUTPUT: It is expected to have triple-at least energy production by the end of this century to meet expected demands. To meet that demand, we will need to build, roughly speaking, something like: 1800 of world's largest dams or 23,000 nuclear power stations, 14 m wind turbines, 36bn solar panels or just keep going with predominantly oil, coal and gas-and build the 36,000 new power stations that means we will need. Our existing oil, coal and gas reserves alone are worth trillion of dollars. Are governments and the world's major oil, coal and gas companies-some of the most influential corporations on Earth-really going to decide to leave the money in the ground as demand for energy increases relentlessly ? Three is doubt !
OPTIONS AND SOLUTION: A planet of ten billion look like a nightmare ! The only solution left to us is to change our behaviours, radically and globally on every level. In short, we urgently need to consume less. A lot less. Radially less. And we need to conserve more. A lot more. To accomplish such a radical change in behaviour would also need radical government action. But as far as this kind of change is concerned, politicians are currently part of the problem not part of the solution because the decisions that need to be taken to implement significant behaviour change inevitably make politicians very unpopular-as they are too aware.
So What politicians have opted for instead is failed diplomacy. For example: The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, whose job it has been for 20 years to ensure the stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere: Failed. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification, whose job it has been for 20 years to stop land degrading and becoming desert:Failed. The Convention on Biological Diversity, whose job it has been for 20 years to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss: Failed. those are only three examples of failed global initiatives. The list is depressingly long one. And the way government justify this level of inaction is by exploiting public opinion and scientific uncertainty. It used to be a case of, " we need to wait for science to prove climate change happening". This is how beyond doubt. So now it is, "we need scientists to be able to tell to us what the impact will be and the costs" And "we need to wait for public opinion to get behind action" But climate models will never be free from uncertainties And as for public opinion, politicians feel remarkably free to ignore it when it suits them- wars, bankers' bonuses and heath care reforms to give just three examples. What politicians and governments say about their commitment ti tackling climate change is completely different from what they are doing about?"
TRADE AND BIODIVERSITY: What about business? In 2008 a group of highly respected economists and scietists led by Pawan Sukhdev, then a senior Deutsche Bank economist, conduxcted an authoritative economic analysis of the value of biodiversity. Their conclusions? The cost of of the business activities of the world's 3000 largest corporations in loss or damage to nature and the environment now stands at $2.tn per year. And rising. These costs will have to be paid for in the future. By your children and your grandchildren. To quote Sukhdev, " The rules of business urgently need to be changed, so corporations comptete on the basis of innovation, resource conservation and satisfaction of multiple stakeholder demands, rather than on the basis of who is most effective in finfluencing government regulation, avoiding taxes and obtaining subsidies for harmful activities to maximise the return of stake holders. Do I think that will happen. No . What about us......".
" I confess I used to find it amusing but now I am sick of reading in the week-end paper about some celebrating saying, I gave up my 4x4 and now I haver bought a Prius. Are not I doing my bit for the environment " they are not doing their bit for the environment. But it not their fault. The fact is that they-we- are not being well informed. And that is part of the problem. we are not getting the information we need. The sacale and nature of the problem is simply not being communicated to us. And we are advised to do something, it barely makes a dent in the problem. Here are some of the changes we have been asked to make recently, by celebrities who like to pronounce on this sort of things and by governments, who should know better than to give out this kind of nonsense as solutions. Switch off your mobile phone charger; wee in the shower ( my favourite); buy an electric car (no, do not); use two sheets of loo roll rather than three. All of these are token gestures that miss the fundamental facts that the scale and nature of the problems we face are immernse, unprecedented and possibly unsovelable."
The behavioural changes that are required of us are so fundamental that no one wants to make them. What are they? We need to consume less. A lot less. Less food, less energy, less stuff. Fewers cars, electric cars, cotton T-shirts, laptops, mobile phones upgrade s. For fewer. And here it is worth pointing out that "we" refers to the people who live in the west and the north of the globe
There are currently almost three billion people in the world, who urgently need to consume more: more water, more food, more energy.
GLOBAL POPULATION : Saying, " do not have children" is utterly ridiculous. It contradicts every genetically coded piece of information we contain, and one of the most important (and fun) impulses we have. That said, the worst thing we continue to do-globally- is have children at current rate. If the current global rate of reproduction continues, by the end of this century there will not be 10 billion of us. According to the United Nations, Zambai's population is projected to increase by 941 percent by the end of this century. The population of Nigeria is projected to grow by 349 percent-to 730 million people. Afghanistan by 242 percent, Democratic Republic of Congo 213 percent, Gamia by 242 percent, Gautemala by 369 percent, Iraq by 344 percent, Kenya by 248 percent, Liberia by 300 percent, Malawi by 741 percent, Mali by 408 percent, Niger by 766 percent, Somalia by 663 percent, Uganda by 396 percent, Yemen by 299 percent.
Even the United States of Americca's population is projected t grow by 54 percent by 2100, from315 million in 2012 to 478 million. If the current rate of global reproduction continues, by the end of this century there will not be 10 billion of us-there will be 28 billion of us.
EARTH'S COLLUSION: If we discovered to morrow that there was an asteroid on a collusion course with the Earth and -because physics is fairly a simple science-we are able to calculate that it was going to hit Earth on June 3 2072 and we knew that its impact was going to wipe out 70 percent life on the Earth, governments worldwide would marshal the entire planet into unprecedented action. Every scxiuentist, engineer, university and business would be enlisted:half to find a way of stopping it, the other half to find a way for our species to survive and rebuild if the first option proved unsuccessful. We are in almost precisely that situation now, except that there s not specific date and there is not an asteroid.
The problem is "us". Why are we not doing more about the situation we are in-given the dscale of the problem and urgency it needed-I simply cannot under stand. We are sending eight billion at Cern to discover evidence of a particles called Higgs bosom, which may or may not eventually explain mass and provide a partial thumbs-up for the standard model of poaryicle ohysics. And Cen's physicists are keen to tell us it is the biggest, the most important experiment on Earth.It is not. The biggest and most important experiment on Earth is the one we are all conducting, right now, on Earth itself.ONLY an idiot would deny that there is a limit to how many [people our Earth can support. The question is, is i t seven billion (our current population), 10 billion or 28 billion
Science is essentially organised scepticism. One can rightly call the situation is an unprecedented emergency. There must be some urgent measures to avoid a global catastrophe !
SOURCES:- POPULATION TEN BILLION By DANNY DORLING and TEN BILLION BY STEPHEN EMMOTT; THE GUARDIAN ARCHIEVES and other internet websites.