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The best modeling of population dynamics as of July 2002 show world population will peak at 10 billion in 2026 and then begin to decline very slowly afterwards.
http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/12871/

I have not seen anything that contradicts this, except for earlier, more rudimentary and therefore less accurate models.
http://www.ilea.org/leaf/richard2002.html

Now, the essential fact you are missing is that, theoretically, we have unlimited resources. The constraint on resources is technology. We are completely dependent on the sun's energy - petroleum is nothing more than very, very old biomass that used the sun's energy to grow, then died, and was converted over a few million years into a goop we find ourselves addicted to today.  The sun's output is unlimited. There are only two real constraints. The first is atmospheric attenuation and diffusion. The second is our technology for capturing and using sun light. The problem is we don't capture very much of it. We need to be doing a much, much better job of research and development of finding better ways of capturing and using the sun's energy, to move us off of a fossil-fuel economy. It would be interesting for some trained economist to sit down and figure out what the lost opportunity cost has been of having some of the best minds in physics, mathematics, and computer science, devoted these past 20 or 30 years to modeling and gaming the financial markets, rather then working on the fossil fuel problem.

The other big limitation, as Stirling Newberry has pointed out a number of times, is that we have reached the limit of using the atmosphere as a carbon sink. However, if you go back to the first link above, you will find that we stand a good chance of overcoming this by an aggressive program of energy conservation. Thus, the problem is political, not a physical "limits to growth."

I am certain that you are in extreme disagreement with what I write here. Please calm down. You sound much too much like some 18th century colonial lord sipping swill on his plantation verandah and worrying about there being too many darkies.

The real problems are political - forcing the financial system to support real research and development, rather than speculation, arbitrage, and usury; and getting enough buying power into the hands of all classes, including the poor, so that more energy-efficient technology can be more widely deployed.

by NBBooks on Mon Dec 17th, 2007 at 08:52:29 PM EST

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