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Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:51 AM

AGW: a bigger issue than overpopulation?

It's not considered good form in activist circles to say, "Oh, don't worry about overpopulation - that was last century's problem. Climate change will fix that before we can even intervene." Still, this is a position I adopted in the last year as I began to realize just how soon AGW could take a bite out of the world's fresh water and food supplies - and how big that bite could be.

To demonstrate my reasoning visually I created the graph below. It shows two lower UN world population scenarios, called the Medium and Low Fertility Variants. The world is currently on the Medium Fertility curve, and most population activists would call it a win if we could get moved over onto the Low Fertility curve.

Branching off from each of the UN variants I show a second path that incorporates a gradually increasing downward pressure on population growth, caused by climate change, beginning in 2025. In each case the pressure starts at 0.0% and reaches -1.0% by 2050.

As you can see, this degree of climate change pressure inflects the Medium Fertility scenario down over time until it comes close to matching the Low Fertility scenario by 2050. The same degree of pressure applied to the Low Fertility scenario causes the world's population to begin falling quite rapidly beginning in 2030 - culminating in a drop of half a billion in the final six years.



Is pressure like this within the realm of possibility? It doesn't take much imagination to see the impact of long-term droughts in Russia, Australia, the USA and China on the world's wheat and rice supplies, and glacier-fed rivers are already running dry here and there. It seems quite possible that concerns about overpopulation will be seen as quaint relics within a few decades.

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Reply AGW: a bigger issue than overpopulation? (Original post)
GliderGuider Jan 2013 OP
tama Jan 2013 #1
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #2
tama Jan 2013 #3
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #6
tama Jan 2013 #8
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #9
tama Jan 2013 #13
tama Jan 2013 #46
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #47
tama Jan 2013 #48
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #49
tama Jan 2013 #50
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #53
CRH Jan 2013 #4
Speck Tater Jan 2013 #17
The2ndWheel Jan 2013 #5
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #7
The2ndWheel Jan 2013 #10
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #11
CRH Jan 2013 #12
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #14
CRH Jan 2013 #15
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #16
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #24
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #26
CRH Jan 2013 #34
raouldukelives Jan 2013 #18
truebluegreen Jan 2013 #51
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #19
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #21
Judi Lynn Jan 2013 #20
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #22
wtmusic Jan 2013 #27
wtmusic Jan 2013 #29
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #30
wtmusic Jan 2013 #32
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #35
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #37
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #41
CRH Jan 2013 #36
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #38
CRH Jan 2013 #39
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #42
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #43
CRH Jan 2013 #44
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #45
wtmusic Jan 2013 #52
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2013 #23
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #25
muriel_volestrangler Jan 2013 #33
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #40
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 #28
GliderGuider Jan 2013 #31

Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:00 AM

1. What's AGW?

 

And I have never heard complaints about overpopulation that were not from point of view of Western Neocolonialist Consumer worried about too many coming to share his cake.

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Response to tama (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:21 AM

2. Sorry, it's "Anthropogenic Global Warming"

A lot of whether one thinks it's from that point of view or not depends on which side of the fence you're on. It's an unfortunate fact of reality that the poor have always gone down first and hardest. The only reason we've been able to feel that this injustice is avoidable is because we're living in a time of enormous surplus - mainly of fossil fuels and all the wealth they have conferred. As this era draws to a close so will the feeling that universal fairness is some kind of inalienable birthright. It's probably also bad form to say that, however.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:11 AM

3. Urban consumer myopia

 

And it's not rocket science. In the end peasants always win, those who work with nature and not against it. It's a very simple fact of hierarchy of dependencies. Primary needs and primary production are primary and not dependent from secondary, tertiary etc. increasingly urban and parasitical classes of power pyramid.

And who really is poor? The dependent parasite classes measure "poverty" by quantitative amount of possessions and consumption, considering most dependent top of hierarchy most "rich", but qualitatively worst poverty means insatiable greed that no quantity can ever satisfy, and lack of poverty means simply not having unfulfilled needs, tummy full, surrounded by friends, lot of music, laughter and dance. Woe to poor bankers, poorest of all!!!

Who are these UN "experts" drawing their graphs and counting numbers? What is their point of view and myopia, primary or dependent from parasitical power hierarchy? What to they really know, from their own dependent urban myopia? How are they different from King Oedipus worried about the plague in Thebes and questioning the cause of the disease?



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Response to tama (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:42 AM

6. Lots of emotive drama

What peasants have won recently, at least by the rules of the global game? The game is called "Parasitical Power Hierarchy", and peasants don't get to win, draw or leave that game. Hell, that's even true of much of the world's "middle" class today. The last time there was widespread egalitarianism on the planet was 10,000 years ago.

We've had just 200 of those 10,000 years when the dream of egalitarianism was even remotely possible. And that was thanks to the same fossil fuels whose waste is now bringing the era to a gasping finale.

You can rail against parasitical power hierarchies, and dream of working with nature and not against it - they are good and noble dreams, but they're not our current or future reality. Our corporate/political masters have deemed otherwise, and unless the entire order is brought down, it's going to stay that way. I think we have as much chance of overthrowing the order as we do of stopping climate change - which is to say, nil.

On the other hand, climate change may smash the hierarchy where we puny peasants cannot. Now there's a dream...

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:03 AM

8. Emotive drama?

 

I'm sitting at computer discussing politics, the woman is at the stove cooking and dinner is soon ready, life is as always. My current "way of life" is totally "parasitical", no complaints. I'm just too old and tired of nurturing unnecessary lies about this. I'm Oedipus, I killed my father, raped my mother, brought plague, listened to Teiresias, blinded myself, visited Kolonos and re-established rites, died and lived. Breathing keeps happening.

I've been now watching discussions of scientists talking with Dalai Lama, many day event going still on. One fun fact was that it's been quantitatively studied and the result of that study was that we spent 47% of our waking time worrying about past and present instead of concentrating on present - with lot's of individual variety, of course.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/zen-master-thich-nhat-hanh-love-climate-change?INTCMP=SRCH



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Response to tama (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:19 AM

9. Oedipus is not "emotive drama"?

Actually, I think I'm doing the same thing - sitting at my computer just discussing politics and the art of What Is. I'm just in a grumpier mood than you today

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:01 AM

13. Nice meal, tummy full, good woman,

 

warm heart.

The emotive drama is just click away in the Meta and the endless debate whether King O has clothes or not and which kind.

His Holliness is fun student of science, lot's of laughing and joking among idle minds thinking philosophy as well as we can:
http://www.dalailama.com/webcasts/post/273-mind-and-life-xxvi-mind-brain-and-matter---critical-conversations-between-buddhist-thought-and-science/4271

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:49 PM

46. My grumpy friend

 

Those two links I provided are most valuable. You can see the "hopelessness" of various instrumental (political etc.) approaches to our common problems, and I believe you agree that only real "chance" of adapting with least suffering is change of our collective consciousness. By becoming more loving, as the good Vietnamese monk suggests.

I'm now watching day three morning session of Dalai Lama talks, and it's wonderful. The German neurologist clarified what I've sort of know for long time, but could never clearly express before her explanation confirmed by neuroscience. Empathy is our natural innate ability to feel the pain of others when they feel pain. I suggest your grumpiness is empathy of "world pain", which is received and channeled rather through the neural channels of theoretical and deductive knowledge of others instead of directly felt empathy (to which we often build various defense mechanisms for good reasons). Or bit of both, they can get mixed.

So, empathy is our innate ability of "diagnosis", which does not help much, if we just end up feeling more pain. The positive response is compassion, feeling and radiating "warm and fluffy" feeling, as our materialist friends call it sometimes, which feels like it originates from somewhere deep within or from heart or heart chackra. Which is btw measured to have very strong magnetic field extending around us (which are de facto infinite, their spatial "strength" drops as function of distance but never reaches absolute zero).

What is wonderful and promising is that neuroscience can now measure and experimentally verify these states, and has proven that compassion etc. can be taught and practiced with visible and measurable results in terms of our neuroplasticity and cognitive and emotional skills. Practiced through contemplative practices such as vipassana, metta bhavana etc. etc. What is wonderful is that now besides just doing and being it, we can also explain and verify it in scientific terms, which will and is already strengthening the global level of compassion.

I'm still in the middle of watching the presentation of the German neuroscientist, just had to take a brake to tell you these good tidings. <3

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Response to tama (Reply #46)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:03 PM

47. Thank you so much for that.

It was just the lift I needed. Your description of empathy, and your diagnosis of my grumpiness as empathy of world pain that has been short-circuited by my intellect, were right on the mark. I find that when I simply sit with the feelings, not trying to control them this way or that, that the pain flows through instead of lingering. In fact the pain is even transmuted as it channels through the heart chakra, turning into metta or some close relative. Metta is much more useful than intellectual defenses. I'm prone to becoming trapped by my algorithmic left-brain defense mechanisms, though, so reminders like yours are deeply appreciated.

I read the piece on Thay, and was very moved. I'll dip into the other one now.

Namaste

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #47)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:40 PM

48. Let's not underestimate intellect

 

which in neurological view correlates with our strongly developed frontal lobe. Uniting heart and mind or compassion and intellect - which has already global view and comprehension of our global environmental challenges, for example, can overcome more easily the in-group limitations of empathy and compassion to the level of Earth consciousness or even larger in non-discriminate way.

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Response to tama (Reply #48)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:17 PM

49. Yes - both/and instead of either/or.

We need both wings to fly.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:26 PM

50. And courage nt

 

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Response to tama (Reply #50)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:03 AM

53. Toujours courage, mon vieux! nt

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:28 AM

4. AGW without a doubt, ...

Population is survivable with a die off, but with AGW maybe not.

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Response to CRH (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:38 PM

17. Good point. copare the two scenarios...

 

A limited population crash now could actually be a good thing for the species, long run.
Global warming has no potential to be good news if it keeps on accelerating.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:35 AM

5. To me any one issue isn't really bigger or smaller than the next

There will be a cost no matter what we do. Every institution and organization that we have has been built on the foundation of adding more people to them over time. How having fewer people is going to mesh with that is an issue we haven't had to face yet. Everything is easy when the pie is bigger.

Plus whatever we do for issue A, is connected to issue B, which is connected to issue H, which is connected to issue J9pET, etc. It's why the need for control over everything never quite works out.

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Response to The2ndWheel (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 09:43 AM

7. If not bigger or smaller, how about "more or less urgent"? nt

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:24 AM

10. Nobody can agree on that either

How about easier to do or tougher to do? Or maybe even more accurately, we do what we do, we don't do what we don't do, and just sort of make up what we do do as we go along. Might be too Donald Rumsfeldian though.

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Response to The2ndWheel (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:41 AM

11. That's pretty much my take on it.

Neither issue is being addressed. We can make all the wise observations we want, but it won't change anything.

IMO neither will be addressed, even as they both clearly and presently kill people. Both are wicked problems that have been tossed into the "too hard" bin for either economic or social reasons.

So it goes...

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Response to The2ndWheel (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:52 AM

12. Both issues are important, but, ...

population will need to be reduced regardless. Reduction of population to sustainable levels might not be problematic after the reduction if institutions reorganize so constant growth is not a necessity. However, requirements of a surviving population after a reduction, will require a living environment that a resulting civilization can depend upon for agriculture and limited commerce. If AGW produces 6*C rise of global mean temperature within a century, no such environment will exist. Few scientists believe these levels are survivable for long.

On this basis, for me, the AGW is far more important that overpopulation. One has an avenue to correction, the other, maybe not.

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Response to CRH (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:05 AM

14. Perhaps both are mutually correcting in a feedback loop?

More warming -> fewer people -> less warming. Nature always seems to want to achieve homeostasis for some strange reason.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #14)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:30 AM

15. That is the scenario I perceive, ...

will allow us the most time. My conundrum is I keep running into 6*C within a 100+ years. For me, at that point, homeostasis does not include homo sapiens.

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Response to CRH (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:34 AM

16. So it goes... nt

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Response to CRH (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:02 PM

24. Or homo sapiens more clever than wise

 

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #24)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:23 PM

26. Tool monkeys

Fuck yeah!

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 05:21 PM

34. Tool Monkeys fuck yeah! indeed. n/t

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 01:40 PM

18. AGW. But then, I've always held nature & wildlife in higher regard than people. nt

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Response to raouldukelives (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:34 PM

51. Me too.

It doesn't particularly bother me if humankind turns out to be an evolutionary dead-end. It does bother me if we take the other spectacular and wondrous forms of life (i.e. most of them) with us.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:18 PM

19. Self organizing systems...

 

Is population merely a result of a system trying to establish how to maximize growth and consumption under dynamic conditions? Perhaps the early trajectory was established at a time when it was necessary to have a lot of autonomous consumers, but with the exponential growth in consumption among a minority, the system is now evolving to cull the masses and focus on development instead of population growth? In any case, population is not the problem, but a result of a system that is the very problem. Population will be adjusted either way to produce the largest aggregate growth and consumption, and is irrelevant in itself if removed from the context of industrial civilization.

The population though, as it exists in its entire makeup, is beneficial for the overall system's growth probably. If it begins to bottleneck the system, its will be adjusted. But perhaps the only way those 5% of the population can consume 20% of the energy is by exploiting and standing on billions of the impoverished. So, while those people do not cause the consumption (and may be on the decline), they enable the minority to.

So frankly, I would be pessimistic about a decline in population being a "good" thing if its due to systematic (political or economic) pressures, because it is likely being done as part of an evolution to grow the system further. So Im basically stating that almost everything that happens within our civilization after this level of entrenchment (even "liberal" social change) may be suspect and merely instituted to perpetuate growth and exploitation.

There was a guy that said something close to that about liberal activists (that they merely implement change a system has already determined it needs to accelerate its growth). He did some bad things. We locked him up.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:29 PM

21. Mmmhmm.

With the (very) small caveat that I'm beginning to see "the system" more in terms of thermodynamics than people qua people, I agree with you. And with bad old Ted.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:18 PM

20. ‘Population Bomb’ scientist: ‘Nobody’ has the right to ‘as many children as they want’

‘Population Bomb’ scientist: ‘Nobody’ has the right to ‘as many children as they want’
By Kay Steiger
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 9:35 EST

A Stanford professor and author of the Population Bomb recently published a paper in a scientific journal re-emphasizing climate change and population growth pose existential threats to humanity and in an interview with Raw Story said that giving people the right to have as many children as they want is “a bad idea.”

“The only criticism we’ve had on the paper is that it’s too optimistic,” said Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University and president of the Center for Conservation Biology. “You can’t negotiate with nature.”

The study, published the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal earlier this month says that climate change is “driven by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources and the use of unnecessarily environmentally damaging technologies and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens‘ aggregate consumption.”

“Overall, careful analysis of the prospects does not provide much confidence that technology will save us or that gross domestic product can be disengaged from resource use,” the paper continued. The way to stop this is to “stop treating population growth as a ‘given’ and consider the nutritional, health and social benefits of humanely ending growth well below nine billion and starting a slow decline. This would be a monumental task, considering the momentum of population growth. Monumental, but not impossible if the political will could be generated globally to give full rights, education and opportunities to women, and provide all sexually active human beings with modern contraception and backup abortion.”

More:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/22/population-bomb-scientist-nobody-has-the-right-to-as-many-children-as-they-want/

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 02:33 PM

22. I read this, and I'm still a bit in the dark on one thing.

I'm not sure what Ehrlich means by the word "right". Is he talking about a moral, legal or natural right? who or what confers those "rights"? I'm enough of an anarchist to say, "Wait a second, I have to have someone give me the right to exercise a natural function? Isn't that as boneheaded as making it wrong to smoke a plant?"

I'm quite sure that the laws of thermodynamics will take care of any longage of people that has developed. In fact, if my graph is right, they're just about to do that...

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #22)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:27 PM

27. If no couple had more than two children

the world's population would decline. If we make the assumption that we're at the Earth's limit for humans (if we haven't already passed it) any couple that has more than two children is decreasing the quality of life for everyone. And, if we make the relatively safe assumption that everyone is entitled to an equal share of the world's resources, that makes it morally (and naturally) wrong to have more than two children.

You could with equal justification claim that theft is a "natural function".

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #27)


Response to wtmusic (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:42 PM

30. Actually, I might try and claim that.

I think ownership is unnatural, and in that context the whole idea of theft is, if not natural, at the very least meaningless. Do cold regions of the universe "steal" heat from the hot regions?

Frankly, I'm becoming less of a humanist every day. I find I'm seeing people more and more as energy transformation mechanisms, moving along shifting power gradients of one sort or another according to what are at their core, thermodynamic principles. Most of what we think of as essential to being human is little more than dressed-up illusion and hubris.

Once the crisis hits, people will change their behaviour. If we discover we need fewer than two children per family to keep the species (or our tribe) alive, we'll find a way to do it - whether it's legislation, changing social conventions or infanticide as in the not so olden days of yore.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #30)


Response to wtmusic (Reply #32)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 05:51 PM

35. Nope, no special powers. And I'm just as human and illusion-ridden as the next schmoe.

I'm just finding a lot of explanatory power in taking a different view of what's happening.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #30)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:07 PM

37. This thing is quite the mind fuck, eh?

 

If you go down the rabbit hole (or maybe come out of the hole you are born in), every supposed truth of your old world view and perception of reality begins to fall apart. Frankly, it just makes things like politics and many philosophies ridiculous.

Humans may of formed walls to shape perceptions because it was useful for the system (and maybe survival) to perceive an ordered world based on established paradigms (which evolve and are tested). Venturing out in--well maybe--reality land is not so charted. Tread safely.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #37)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:42 PM

41. Thank you. Yes, it is.

I've been heading in this direction for the last few years - ever since I discovered Peak Oil, Climate Change, Deep Ecology and non-dualism in fairly rapid succession. Finally understanding the Maximum Power Principle seems to have been the final brick in the wall.

Once you begin to view the world through an "energy lens", and discard the notions of good/bad and all forms of the word "should", well, the landscape begins to take on a much different form... It's strangely liberating, though.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:07 PM

36. I have a question for you on the two child family, ...

being zero growth? ... Basically that is saying every person replaces themselves and quits. So your son and daughter in law replace themselves in twenty years, your grandson and granddaughter are born in another twenty. Using a life span of seventy years, at sixty years of age, six people exist from the original two parents. Seems to me population would at a minimum double every 35 or so years depending on death rates and life expectancy.

Now third world life expectancy is less than 70 years, and probably annual death rates per capita exceeds that of first world countries. Do these two factors off set the above scenario?

Is your statement above based on studies, or perception?

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Response to CRH (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:09 PM

38. No, thats not quite right

 

As the children are being born, the great grand parents are on the way out. You must assume what is in the pipe is in the pipe, and births are cancelled out by real-time deaths.

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Response to NoOneMan (Reply #38)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:31 PM

39. Yeah that is what I am wrestling with, ...

At sixty years of age I have reproduced, my son has reproduced, and now my grandson. OK, I die tomorrow, at the age of sixty years and one day. There are still three people living from my seed in that sixty years, the oldest with another twenty years to live.

It seems to me zero growth would be more in the range of one child per family.

Might be time for me to read up on some studies and their methodology. I still can't see zero growth from a two child family, unless people do not reproduce until very late in their child bearing years.

on edit: corrected the first paragraph.

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Response to CRH (Reply #39)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:56 PM

42. There is a finite number of generations alive at any given time.

 

(supposedly).

Before you grandson was born, your father was still alive and saw the same 2 subsequent generations borne from him that you now see.

As long as the frequency of generations do not speed up (and there is an absolute biological limit), 2 births creates a stable to declining population.

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Response to CRH (Reply #39)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:57 PM

43. No, two is the right number.

In each generation two people are born (the kids) and two die (the ggp's). In the next generation two more are born, and two more die. In the next, the same thing. The number stabilizes after 3-4 generations.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:27 PM

44. Ok I guess, but my brain still resists, ...

At 20 years, I have a child, ... 1
At 40 years, my child has a child, ... 2
At 60 years, my grandson has a child, ... 3
At sixty years and one day, I die, my son is 40 years and a day, my grandson is 20 years and a day, my great grandson is one day old. Three people live from my seed in the period of 60 years and one day.

OK, so the second sixty year and one day cycle, stabilization of a death for a birth occurs. So population reduction with a two child family, though slow, eventually would happen if the generation time line remains the same. Got it.

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Response to CRH (Reply #44)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:38 PM

45. Yes, you got it. Plus...

it's easier than sending every third generation to the camps ...

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Response to CRH (Reply #44)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 11:05 PM

52. I went through this same process on DU a few years ago.

In truth your math is correct - if there were an unlimited supply of potential mates, there would be a geometric expansion in population.

In a closed system that fails. It's easy to see if you take a sample population of 40 people, and match them into twenty couples, and start mapping/matching their progeny on a piece of paper.

Whether it's 40 or 400 million, the result is the same from a growth standpoint.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 03:59 PM

23. Your scenario (roughly double the death rate) would still be 'overpopulation'

1% extra of people dying each year is 10 per 1,000 - a bit more than the existing 8 per 1,000 for the world, so you'd be slightly more than doubling it. Possible? Perhaps, in the worst case scenarios. But I don't understand how you think that solves 'overpopulation'. it is overpopulation - so many people that many die of hunger, lack of shelter etc.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #23)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:22 PM

25. I don't think it "solves" it - and there's one twist to my scenario

In my scenario the pressure from climate change keeps increasing as time goes on. That is, the climate pressure on population goes from 0 in 2025 to -1% in 2050, but I don't say it stops there. If it maintained that rate of increase then by 2100 it would be dropping by 3% a year - by 30 per thousand every year. On top of a net "natural" birth rate that (according to the UN) will have fallen to 0 by mid-century, we'd be down to around 2.5 billion by the end of the century. Sad for people, but it would take care of the population problem.

But I wasn't trying to demonstrate that climate change is going to "solve" overpopulation in the short term. As the calculation points out it's quite possible for it to do so over the medium term, if one accepts my assumption that the negative pressure of climate change on population will keep increasing over time. However, my point is simply that climate change has the potential to reduce population faster than any human population control measure could take effect over the next generation or two. So maybe if we're going to address urgent existential problems by throwing money, effort, and resources at them, attacking overpopulation directly may not have the best return on investment.

Edited to add: Yes, there is hunger and thirst and exposure involved. And war, and crime, and misery and hardship, and lots of pain and suffering. It sounds a lot like an average day on most of the planet to me. Any reason we should we be exempt? Is there any way to avoid it?

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 05:21 PM

33. You said "Climate change will fix that (overpopulation)" is your position

so I'm confused about what your position is, then (because 'fix' and 'solve' are synonyms, I'd say). You now seem to be saying there is an ideal world population for you, that is independent of the actual carrying capacity (because you regard people starving to death from a carrying capacity reduced by AGW as different from 'overpopulation' killing them), and that having a few extra billion die in pain and suffering would be a cheaper way to get to the number you desire. Other people are putting forward ideas like free contraception for anyone who wants it. But you're concerned about the 'return on investment' there, compared with watching the unwanted extra children dying, which would be cheaper.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 06:36 PM

40. Oh dear.

Last edited Tue Jan 22, 2013, 07:11 PM - Edit history (1)

I may seem (to you) to be saying there's an ideal human population level, but I'm not. If anything I'm saying what I've said for the last few years, that there is too much human activity on the planet, not necessarily too many people. I have no idea whether there are too many people, but I have no doubt there is too much human activity. I don't have any desires about the number of people, I just feel that if we're going to try solving insoluble problems, we might consider tackling the most urgent ones first.

And no, there is no difference between people dying from lower carrying capacity or because of "overpopulation" (whatever that might mean) - I don't think I drew any such distinction. A population that exceeds the carrying capacity of its niche dies back. There's nothing moralistic about it - it just happens. It doesn't make any difference to nature whether the members of the population are children or adults. If the resources can't support them, they go.

BTW, you're putting an awful lot of words in my mouth.

Edited to add, I'm really trying to tell everyone who is hung up on the idea of overpopulation not to worry - the number of humans is going to be coming down regardless of whether we do anything about it directly.

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Response to GliderGuider (Original post)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:32 PM

28. Anthropogenic Climate Change is an overriding priority

Potentially, Anthropogenic Climate Change could lead directly to mass extinction for many/most species.

Overpopulation contributes to many ills (including Anthropogenic Climate Change) so, it’s tempting to look at it as a primary cause, and therefore of the highest priority. However, it is a minority of the world’s population that has made the greatest contribution to the build-up of “Greenhouse Gases.” (So, overpopulation is not the primary cause.)

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Response to OKIsItJustMe (Reply #28)

Tue Jan 22, 2013, 04:44 PM

31. So stipulated, your Honor.

That's exactly the point.

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