Archive for the tag “world population”

News update

Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF
The Guardian UK
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas.

The IMF Tells a Half-Truth
Richard Heinberg
It’s certainly helpful to have an accounting of the externalities of our collective fossil fuel consumption. But the choice of the word “subsidies” over the more precise “externalities” makes a difference: governments can cancel subsidies in the forms of tax breaks and gifts, but they can’t so easily cancel fossil fuel externalities without curtailing fossil fuel consumption—and that’s a big job, if they’re to do it in a way that doesn’t entail the rapid, uncontrolled collapse of society.

Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?
Larry Elliott, The Guardian UK
In terms of reducing global poverty capitalism has been a success, but this growth has put pressure on the planet. The question, therefore, is whether it is possible to marry two seemingly contradictory objectives. Can we imagine a future that is cleaner, greener and sustainable – one that avoids climate armageddon – without abandoning the idea of growth and, thus, forcing living standards into decline? The answer is that it will be hellishly difficult, but it is just about feasible if we make the right choices – and start making them now.

Seven Surprising Realities Behind The Great Transition to Renewable Energy
Earth Policy Institute
The global transition to clean, renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossils is well under way, with remarkable developments happening every day. The Great Transition by Lester Brown, Janet Larsen, Matt Roney, and Emily Adams lays out a tremendous range of these developments – here are seven that may surprise you.

How Sustainable is PV Solar Power?
Low Tech Magazine
Its generally assumed that it only takes a few years before solar panels have generated as much energy as it took to make them, resulting in very low greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional grid electricity. A more critical analysis shows that the cumulative energy and CO2 balance of the industry is negative, meaning that solar PV has actually increased energy use and greenhouse gas emissions instead of lowering them.

The Counterfeit Shale Revolution (pdf)
Arthur Berman
The shale revolution is counterfeit. Tight oil and shale gas are imitations of something valuable and shale promoters intentionally deceive the public about their true value. It is counterfeit because the cost of produc4on is more than the global economy can bear. Producers and analysts deceive the public with misleading and incorrect break-even prices that exclude important costs or are based on exaggerated reserves. There is no shale revolution: it is a final, desperate effort to squeeze the last remaining petroleum from the worst possible rock.

Are we approaching peak population growth?
Max Roser
Since the 18th century, the world population has seen a rapid increase; between 1900 and 2000 the increase in world population was three times as great as the increase during the entire previous history of humankind – in just 100 years the world population increased from 1.5 to 6.1 billion. But this development is now coming to an end, and we will not experience a similarly rapid increase in population growth over the course of this century.

Book Review of Overshoot by William R. Catton Jr.
Craig Straub, The Social Contract
Catton concludes that the human community is condemned to bet on an uncertain future. Misperception of the human situation will motivate efforts to pursue solutions which make matters worse. An ecological understanding of the human predicament will help avoid constructing the road to hell paved with good intentions.

Video: Lord Man Parable

This video uses images and text from the book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot which speaks to how man once lived peacefully with all of the Earths beauty but has quickly taken-for-granted all the resources and animals causing great environmental and sustainability issues.

Hieronymus Bosch’s ghastly depictions of hell meet their match in many of the real-life images collected in this sobering new book edited by conservationist Tom Butler and published by San Francisco’s Goff Books in collaboration with the Population Media Center and the Population Institute, the book showcases more than 200 photographs that are as bleak as they are beautiful, highlighting the alarming consequences of growth and consumption around the world.

The book’s photographs, writes William Ryerson in the introduction, are “emotionally jarring. The thoughts expressed herein are not reassuring; they are deeply provocative. But that is the nature of wake-up calls. The way that human numbers and behavior are transforming the Earth, undermining its ability to support the human family and the rest of life, is apparent for all to see. The reality of this urgent moment calls us to think, to care, and to act.”

Read William Ryersons introduction to Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

News update

Ebola: Uncharted territory for a system in overshoot
Mary Odum, Prosperouswaydown.com
We are in uncharted territory with the Ebola virus disease (EVD). This pandemic signifies a turning point for society in response to peak oil, highlighting the problem of globalization for a planet of 7 billion people. We have lost control of a deadly outbreak, and our responses to its exponential growth are linear at best, ensuring that this plague will most likely spread further.

Peak Oil: Are We In The Eye Of The Storm?
Oilprice.com
A temporary surge in what was heretofore a little-known source of oil in the U.S. is masking the larger story of what is taking place in the global oil situation. The simple answer is that except for the U.S. shale oil surge, almost no increase in oil production is taking place around the world.

WSJ Gets It Wrong: Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True
Gail Tverberg
On September 29, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a story called “Why Peak Oil Predictions Haven’t Come True.” The story is written as if there are only two possible outcomes: 1) The Peak Oil version of what to expect from oil limits is correct, or 2) Diminishing Returns can and are being put off by technological progress–the view of the WSJ. It seems to me, though, that a third outcome is not only possible, but is what is actually happening. (Heres another refutation of the WSJ article by Kevin Drum, writing in Mother Jones: Peak Oil Is All About Cheap Oil)

Why the People’s Climate March Fails As a Strategy
Zaid Hassan, Caravan Magazine
The People’s Climate March was organized in cooperation with the New York Police—who formally issued a permit for it. It had pre-arranged start and end times. It had a pre-agreed route that ended a mile away from the UN building (not that global leaders were there on a Sunday). There were no closing speeches. No laws were broken. No arrests were made.

Scientists speed up analysis of human link to wild weather
Yahoo News
Climate scientists hope to be able to tell the world almost in real-time whether global warming has a hand in extreme weather thanks to an initiative they plan to launch by the end of 2015.

Wildlife populations down drastically
Daily Mail, UK
Populations of about 3,000 species of wildlife around the world have plummeted far worse than previously thought, according to a new study by one of the worlds biggest environmental groups. The study from the Swiss-based WWF largely blamed human threats to nature for a 52-percent decline in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2010.

Worlds Population Unlikely To Stabilize This Century
io9.com
Contrary to previous projections, it now appears that the worlds population is unlikely to stop growing this century. Theres at least an 80% chance that between 9.6 and 12.3 billion humans will inhabit the Earth by 2100 — and much of this increase will happen in Africa. Its the first U.N. population report to use Bayesian methods — a modern form of statistics that combines all available information to generate more accurate predictions.

Can Narendra Modi bring the solar power revolution to India?
The Guardian, UK
As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi spurred companies to build more than 900MW of solar plant across the state in just a couple of years. Now, as prime minister, the question is whether he can repeat the feat across India, which receives more sunlight than any other country in the G20.

Irony alert: Yergin gets award named after peak oil realist Schlesinger
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
It is a supreme irony that cornucopian oil industry mouthpiece and consultant Daniel Yergin should receive Americas first medal for energy security named after James Schlesinger, the first U.S. energy secretary, who was a peak oil realist.

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