Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 24, 2009
During last week’s Green Spot post the comments ended up on a side track of if the world’s problems are really population related. So to test that theory out I ran some numbers. You see in Canada we love to blame the oil sands for our hugely increasing green house gas (GHG) levels, but is that the only reason? So today we start with a quiz. How much has Canada’s GHG emissions increased on a per person basis from 1990 to 2007?
Is the answer:
I’ll post the answer later in this post. You see I’ve got a theory that the issue isn’t so much related to what we are doing? (Yes in North America we are wasteful, so don’t consider this an excuse.) Yet is related to the number of us doing it.
Each person in the world requires a certain amount of energy input to produces the basics of life for them and luxury items for the rich of the world. So by increasing the number of people on the planet we are consuming more and more finite resources like fossil fuels which is driving up our CO2 numbers. In addition there are more and more stresses on local food production which causes overworked top soil and uses up fresh water resources.
People for what ever reason tend to glaze over the concept that in 1970 we had half the world population we have today. Is it any wonder things seem to be getting worse in the world? Also should I point out we are expected to increase to about 9 billion people by 2050. So just imagine that we are going to cap CO2 emissions and reduce them by 80% by 2050, but also increase the world demand for energy by 33% via population growth. It’s not looking very good and it’s plain to see why.
Perhaps global warming is really just a symptom of a bigger issue. There are too many of us on the planet and we are stressing the systems that keep this planet running. I’ve also wonder how applicable this is to other stresses in human populations. Are wars, metal illness and crime increasing as well on a per person basis? I’ve yet to find that out, but I’ve only started looking at this a bit in the last week. Interesting quesions, oh, speaking of which the answer to the quiz is #2, 5%.
So what do you think? Is there a people problem and if so what are all of its effects?