How many people can the Earth support?

“We are using the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to maintain our way of life, and ecosystems cannot keep up with our demands.”

These words are from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2022.

Is, as implied here, a maximum carrying capacity five billion mortals?

Or is it far fewer, owing to agri-food resource capacity, population and demographic pressures, bio-diversity loss, pollution, ice-melt and rising sea levels, wildfires, emerging pathogens, new technologies, increasingly volatile geopolitics and, affecting all of the above and more, the accelersting pace of climate breakdown?

Or can we devise new ways to defy a Malthusian catastrophe yet again?

In order to do so, we must heed these words, the final sentence of a PNAS article by Luke Kemp et al in 2022:

“Facing a future of accelerating climate change while blind to worst case scenarios is naive risk management at best and fatally foolish at worst.”


These recent blogposts might be of interest:

see also our latest report: What is the carrying capacity for us on this Earth? And how are we going to get there?

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