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Resource competition: Supporting a growing population whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions

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The numbers of humans on living on Mother Earth is rapidly increasing from the 7.2 billion today who are currently consuming the output of more than one planet. Improvements in agriculture has provided a more plentiful and richer diet and advances in medical science and its practice has reduced infant and maternal mortality and increased longevity. This reduction in mortality and current fertility rates has locked in population growth rate of around 1% per year that will lead to a population of between 9-10 billion by 2050 and over 11 billion by 2100. These technological and scientific advances are made possible by consuming energy, to make chemicals and products and power machinery to do work for us. This energy is mainly derived from coal, oil and natural gas, whose energy release emits greenhouse gasses that warms the climate and threatens the environment in which we live. The existing population with its current economic activity is already challenging the availability of resources or water, land, minerals and energy. However, adding an extra 30% of humans and satisfying their living standard aspirations whilst reduce greenhouse gas emissions will cause an intense completion for these resources. This presentation will explore this competition and the apparent dichotomy between economic activity and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

This talk is part of the Food Futures in the World series.

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