State of the Planet

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7 Billion on 10/31: The Numbers Can Be Scary

You can now watch the tape of “The World at 7 Billion: Sustaining Our Future,” the panel discussion held Oct. 17 and featuring the presentation by Professor Joel E. Cohen on the “good and bad news” behind the growing world population. Cohen is professor of populations at Columbia University and holds a professorship at Rockefeller University.

Dhaka, Bangladesh, urbanization
Urbanization in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Asia-Pacific region has an annual urban growth rate of 2.3 percent. UN Photo/Kibae Park

Cohen reiterated his message on the oped page of the New York Times Monday morning (and you can read it online). The “7 Billion” panel landed some other attention in the media: Reporter Colin Sullivan wrote about the panel for the ClimateWire website; and Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs wrote a related piece last week that ran on the CNN website.

The Economist, whose New York-based U.S. business editor, Matthew Bishop, moderated the forum last week, posted a piece Oct. 22 that addresses the question: “With high food prices, environmental degradation and faltering green policies, people are again worrying that the world is overcrowded. Some want restrictions to cut population growth and forestall ecological catastrophe. Are they right?”

The United Nations has declared that the 7 billionth person is going to arrive in about a week (estimates vary, but we’re sure to get there soon, if we haven’t already). On Halloween. Which may be appropriate, because the numbers, and the possible implications, are indeed, spooky.

For more on the panel, go to the conference web page.

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Jim Drake
Jim Drake
12 years ago

Go Facebook Page!! You are an intelligent guy.. I cannot believe you chose to ignore the science that clearly presents evidence that global waring is an issue that must be addressed. being educated means getting the facts and drawing conclusions based on facts not heretics

12 years ago

I often hear claims that population will level out around 2050, why is this? Is it due to the increased death rate?