Researchers have found that the global population could drop to six billion by the end the century if there are “unprecedented investments” in poverty and inequality.
A report that evaluated the impact of different policies on the world’s population found that the global population could reach 8.5 billion by 2040, before falling by 2100. However, this is only possible if “extreme poverty” is eliminated and “successful economic policies” are adopted.
According to current economic trends experts, the population could reach 8.6 billion by 2050 and then drop back to 7 billion by 2100.
Experts believe economic growth is linked to a decrease in fertility rates due to increased access to education and healthcare services.
Club Of Rome, an international non-profit organization that addresses “multiple crises facing humanity” and the planet, requested the study. However, its numbers are not in line with UN forecasts. UN projections show that the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and then peak at 10.4 billion in 2080s.
Earth4All is a modeling system that the researchers used to examine both possible outcomes for this century.
One scenario, known as “the Giant Leap”, showed that the population would plummet to six billion if there were specific investments in education and healthcare.
Per Espen Stoknes is the Earth4All project leader and director of Centre for Sustainability at Norwegian Business School. He stated: “We know that rapid economic development in low income countries has a tremendous impact on fertility rates.
“Fertility rates drop as girls have access to education, women are economically empowered, and have better access to healthcare.”
While a smaller population is better for the environment than a larger one, researchers found that the primary driver of climate change is not the population size.
Sky News has more information:
The world population has reached eight billion according to UN
“More than half the population will be overweight in 2035,”
Experts stated that it is an “extremely high material footprint level” among the richest 10% of the world, which is “destabilizing” the planet.
Jorgen Randers is one of the most prominent Earth4All modellers. He stated that “Humanity’s biggest problem is luxury carbon and biosphere use, not population.”
“A good lifestyle for everyone is possible only if extreme resource consumption by the wealthy elite is decreased.”