Friday, August 18, 2017

Will mankind survive overpopulation, resource shortage and climate change?

I’m going to reduce the anxiety in your life. Here’s how:
  • Overpopulation is not a problem
  • We’re not running out of resources
  • “Climate Change” may be disruptive, and it may even be better for humanity
Let’s take these one at a time.
  • Overpopulation
In 2017 world population is about 7.5 billion. Here is a UN graph of the projected population until 2100:

So it seems Earth’s population will top out this century between 9 to 10 billion people. Modern countries can easily feed, provide clothing and housing, etc., to its citizens. Developing countries have a problem because their governments are corrupt and don’t allow its citizens freedom, especially free markets. As countries modernize they get richer. Notice the growth of China, for instance, because its government has been allowing free enterprise.
  • Natural Resources
Reports of running out of natural resources have appeared for decades and maybe a century ago. Instead we’re finding more and more natural resources. Fracking has allowed countries to inexpensively obtain more natural gas than we thought possible. And China has many untapped resources.

Resources such as aluminum, iron, manganese, chromium, etc., never get used up - they don’t leave the Earth. With the exponential advances in technology and robotics, we’ll be able to recycle these and never run out of them.

Similarly, water never leaves the Earth. It just takes technology and energy to make it potable.

The only natural resources we’ll eventually run out of are the fossil fuels - and we shouldn’t need them for energy by the end of this century, because of renewables and nuclear power.
  • “Climate Change”
Here’s a NASA graph of the current rate of climate change. This does not depend on the many non-validated climate models. It is actual satellite data:

Note the trend line of 0.16C per decade. This comes out to less than 2C per century. Now with technological advances still increasing quickly, does it seem like we can’t handle a 2C increase over 100 years?

Actually, the Earth is getting greener because we are emitting more CO2 into our atmosphere. Who knows what the optimal plant/human/animal CO2 level is?

And if you’re worried about sea-level increases, here’s another graph for you from NASA:

So this gives a rate of 3.16 mm per year. This turns out to be about 12.5 inches per century, or about 1 inch per decade. Not quite the “20 feet” that Al Gore said would happen soon. So none of these concern me much.

What does concern me is man’s inhumanity to man. This is unlikely to destroy a significant fraction of humanity. But it sure does make life miserable for a large portion of humanity. 


Tim Farage is a Professor and Graduate Advisor in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed herein are those of the author. He writes about mathematics, computer science, physics, the reconciliation between science and spirituality, Intelligent Design, and the application of Natural Law to our various systems such as education, government and economics. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at

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