Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dave's on a Downer

I really like Dave Cohen over at Decline of the Empire.  He does write a mean criticism of modern civilization,  but as is the tendency of most folks who dabble in the realm of truth, he does tend to get a little gloomy when he presents the hard numbers (but, who doesn't)
World population milestones (USCB estimates)
(in billions)
Years elapsed between milestones––12333141312131519

Now, even with my empathy meter for Dave's depression set on high, I still can't quite get to the point where "humanity is fucked".  Because, truth be told, the astronomic numbers for growth of population and CO2 just doesn't seem to be an issue to me because I doubt that they will ever be achieved.

You have to consider the issues in tandem, along with resource depletion, and loss of arable land/fertility.  The greater bulk of humanity is not going to be offered an opportunity to replace itself in the near future.  This simple fact is due to we will soon be approaching hard limits to the ability to feed new population.  The green revolution is petering out and the ability to conjure food out of petroleum will be limited along with the supply of petroleum.   The warming of planet earth due to the waste products of the now-getting-limited petroleum will start to whittle away at the arable land, further decreasing the carrying capacity of the planet.

When the scenario outlined in the previous paragraph (I am referring to this as the "that's going to leave a mark" scenario) starts getting traction, there will be a continuing set of adjustments to population.  Malnutrition will have infant and child mortality skyrocketing.  Malnutrition will also start limiting the birth rate in countries where the birth rate is out of control.   Wars will begin to get access to resources (read here: food), diseases like attacking weakened prey.  The population will decrease.  It will suck.

Population by continent

Continent nameDensity (inhabitants/km2)Population (2011)Most populous countryMost populous city
Asia86.74,140,336,501 China (1,341,403,687)Japan Tokyo (35,676,000)
Africa32.7994,527,534 Nigeria (152,217,341)Egypt Cairo (19,439,541)
Europe70738,523,843 Russia (143,300,000;
approx. 110 million in Europe)
Russia Moscow (14,837,510)
North America22.9528,720,588 United States (313,485,438)Mexico Mexico City/Metro Area(8,851,080 / 21,163,226)
South America21.4385,742,554 Brazil (190,732,694)Brazil São Paulo (19,672,582)
Australia/Oceania4.2536,102,071 Australia (22,612,355)Australia Sydney (4,575,532)
Antarctica0.0003 (varies)4,490 (non-permanent, varies)[18]N/A[note 1]United States McMurdo Station (955)[19]
The truth of the matter here is that Professor Ehrlich has always been right.  Population biology will hold to human populations as well as rabbit populations.  Technology won't make a silk purse out of the sow's ear.

But, in my patented "that's going to leave a mark" scenario, the population of good old planet earth will take a tumble.  My guess is that in around 2200 CE the earth will be looking at an principally agrarian human population of around 750 million souls.  All of whom will refer to the period of time from 1900 to 2025 as "Those Fucking Idiots".

But among those 750 million souls will be philosophers, whores, farmers, carpenters, singers, thieves, politicians, religious fanatics, doubting Thomas's. and clowns.

No, the human race will be just fine, hell, we may even learn something from this.

1 comment:

russell1200 said...

It would help if he would spend less time directly insulting his readers, and even more pointedly commenters. Arguing is one thing, but he is very very hostile.