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Population Growth Expected to Cause a Food, Water and Energy Crisis by 2030

By March 23, 2009

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Global population growth will create a “perfect storm” of food, water and energy shortages by 2030, according to the UK government’s chief scientist.

By 2030, world population is expected to hit 8.3 billion, causing a 50 percent increase in the global demand for food and energy and a 30 percent increase in the demand for fresh drinking water—a resource that is already in short supply for about a third of the world’s people. Climate change will complicate things even further, and in unpredictable ways, Prof. John Beddington told a London conference on sustainable development.

"It's a perfect storm," Beddington said. "There's not going to be a complete collapse, but things will start getting really worrying if we don't tackle these problems."

So what’s the solution? It will be essential to develop better water storage and cleaner energy supplies, Beddington said, and to improve crop yields and agricultural productivity through a combination of genetic modification and conventional plant breeding to create crop strains that are resistant to drought, salinity, diseases and pests.

While developing countries will experience the most dire consequences of the predicted shortages, and contribute the most to population growth over the next two decades, every nation will exacerbate the problems and feel the effects.

In the United States, for example, new births hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007—the highest number of births since the previous record was set in 1957 at the height of the post-World War II baby boom—according to the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control.

Despite the recent high birth rate, the U.S. population is growing more slowly than those of most nations. Yet, even though the United States has fewer people than many other countries, Americans use more resources per capita than any other nation on Earth. We have a vested interest in taking a leadership role in helping the nations of the world create a sustainable balance between population and the availability of life-giving resources.

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March 23, 2009 at 7:31 am
(1) guidoLaMoto says:

Over-population is the most important problem facing mankind, and nobody wants to talk about it. “Climate Change” isn’t even real, but “oil depletion” is. We can maintain our present population of 7 billion only because we have petro energy to run our farm tractors and delivery trucks. Without oil, our high yield food production fails, the carrying capacity crashes and there will be unimagined competition for food.

March 24, 2009 at 1:16 pm
(2) MAX ANDERSON says:



March 30, 2009 at 6:40 am
(3) Lowcy says:

overpopulation might be the problem but genitic modified food as just as worse. people’s lives are at stake here. the only thing mordenization (fossil fuels) achieved is a darmnation of the world.

April 22, 2009 at 12:58 am
(4) D says:

I hope people wake up and realize that we need to have fewer children. Politicians, scientists and environmental groups are afraid to talk about it because it sounds extreme (even Zero Population Growth has changed their name and softened their message), but we need extreme solutions to solve extreme problems.

April 22, 2009 at 12:59 am
(5) D says:

Just to clarify – I’m not advocating forcing anyone to have fewer children. But we need massive public education for people to make the right choices.

June 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm
(6) Stuart says:

About time, people talking about the real problems for this planet.

The world can not cope with 112,000 people added to the population every day.

May 4, 2010 at 7:41 pm
(7) Vivienne says:

Population growth means power, and economic growth. Religious mores stop limiting families too. There needs to be a world-wide program of family planning, or the human family will ultimately wreck mother Earth, and take ourselves and other species with us.

July 28, 2010 at 6:35 am
(8) Sara says:

Maybe if our governments were not in league with multimillionaire business men we would not have these problems. “We” like to keep third world countries poor and uneducated so “we” make more profit. These people are not sane and incredibly powerful. It should be pretty obvious at this stage in the game there should be a cap on population growth worldwide in order for future generations to lead a good quality of life. But if we want to be PC about it let us make our own uneducated choices and lead an increasingly poor quality of life, that enriches the powerful and ultimately leads to wars, again another business venture. Even the “solutions” being offered to these problems are lining the pockets of some entrepreneur. Its all business on this planet. At our expense. Throwing a veil over it doesn’t make it go away.

November 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm
(9) Slorri says:

The solution proposed by Mr Beddington is the worst, the most ignorant and the most dangerous of all.

To try and improve crop yields and agricultural productivity through a combination of genetic modification and conventional plant breeding to create crop strains that are resistant to drought, salinity, diseases and pests, for to counter the overpopulation problem will only bring us further into the problem situation itself and then there will definitely be no descent way back.

This is the dilemma: solutions are always detrimental.

April 22, 2011 at 5:56 am
(10) ProfBob says:

About a year and a half ago Science Daily noted that overpopulation was the biggest threat to our world. Global warming was second. Obviously overpopulation increases the use of the irreplaceable natural resources; increases the waste and pollutants that affect our air, water and land; reduces the amount of water for drinking and farming; reduces the amount of arable land available for each person; increases famines and poverty; and increases illegal immigration to escape these problems. Uninformed people criticize Malthus, but what he said is true. His Britain is a net importer of food today. For skeptics, rather than saying that the facts are not true and hoping you are right, it would be wise to look at the evidence and criticize it with evidence rather than with hope. I suggest that you read Book 1, especially the sections on skeptics, in “In Search of Utopia” at http://andgulliverreturns.info. It is authoritative, documented, and free.

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