This is part one of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth.
Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, on the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems, will be published tomorrow and linked here. Both parts are based on Ramez Naam’s new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet
The world is facing incredibly serious natural resource and environmental challenges: Climate change, fresh water depletion, ocean over-fishing, deforestation, air and water pollution, the struggle to feed a planet of billions.
All of these challenges are exacerbated by ever rising demand – over the next 40 years estimates are that demand for fresh water will rise 50%, demand for food will rise 70%, and demand for energy will nearly double – all in the same period that we need to tackle climate change, depletion of rivers and aquifers, and deforestation.
One view of these looming threats is that we’ve exhausted planet’s resources. We’ve overshot the planet’s carrying capacity. Economic growth – the root problem driving our growing consumption and pollution – has to end. Indeed, the global economy may even need to shrink to avoid complete ecological disaster. That’s the thesis of a long line of environmental books, from The Limits to Growth to Peak Everything.
Looking at this large array of problems, it would be easy to agree with the Limits to Growth thesis – we are simply consuming too much and polluting too much. The underlying driver – economic growth – can’t keep going without sending us over a precipice.
In my own new book, The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, I challenge this view. The problem isn’t economic growth, per se. Nor is the problem that our natural resources are too small. While finite, the natural resources the planet supplies are vast and far larger than humanity needs in order to continue to thrive and grow prosperity for centuries to come. The problem, rather, is the types of resources we access, and the manner and efficiency with which we use them.
And the ultimate solution to those problems is innovation – innovation in the science and technology that we use to tap into physical resources, and innovation in the economic system that steers our consumption.
The Latest Bing News on:
Limits of the Earth
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But Fidelity’s 20 percent limit on the amount of bitcoin a 401(k ... “Prices had to come back down to earth, and it happened,” said Abraham Chaibi, co-founder of crypto trading firm Dexterity Capital.
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The World Meteorological Organisation has warned that there is a 93% chance of at least one year between 2022 to 2026 becoming the warmest on record. It further said that there is 50% chance that ...
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- Earth Stands ‘50:50’ Chance Of Breaking 1.5 Degree Barrier Within 5 Yearson May 10, 2022 at 3:29 am
Global warming now has a fifty-fifty chance of passing 1.5 degrees Celsius within five years, according to a new study led by the U.K. Met Office.
- ‘It’s a 50-50 call’: The Earth is close to crossing a key temperature threshold within 5 yearson May 10, 2022 at 2:59 am
As recently as 2015, climate scientists had said there was zero chance of surpassing 1.5 degrees Celsius in the following five years.
- Human Activity Altered 70 Percent of Earth’s Land, Degraded 40 Percent of Iton April 29, 2022 at 6:26 am
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In honor of Earth Day, Apocalypse Soon content is free ... Build renewables and limit fossil fuel development. In February, the Center for Biological Diversity released a legal brief outlining ...
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Limits of the Earth
The Latest Bing News on:
Limits to growth
- Hundreds of seaside roads to be slashed to 20mphon May 12, 2022 at 6:02 am
CORNWALL Council has announced it is reducing the speed limits of 700 roads across the county in a bid to make the streets a safer place - but not everyone supports the changes.
- Retail inflation accelerates to 7.79% in April; March IIP growth at 1.9%on May 12, 2022 at 5:05 am
The jump in CPI inflation has been long anticipated following the Central govt's decision to wait until after key state elections in March to hike fuel prices ...
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A big problem now is that nobody is sure just how fast that is. Before the pandemic, the U.S. economy looked as if it had been stuck in a slow-growth mode for some time. Productivity gains—workers’ ...
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The Hippie Chick Granola Co. has reached its limit. In the back of their small Oak Island bakery ... But after four years in business where they've seen exponential growth, production is at capacity.
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The reduction of the speed limit on the highway between Wichita Falls and Holliday stirred a minor firestorm on social media.
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Apple introduced a new feature earlier this year that limits advertisers' access to the unique IDFA ... the expense guidance given for this earnings period, we are slowing its growth accordingly.
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On the occasion of the 53rd Earth Day, let's take a look at the prophecies of another reverse Cassandra, the Club of Rome's 1972 The Limits to Growth report by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows ...