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Global Population Could Peak Below 9 Billion Within 30 Years

The analysis uses 10 world regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, China and the United States as the global population could peak

Dire forecasts about overpopulation maybe wrong. The world’s population could peak below nine billion within 30 years – much lower than previous estimates, according to a new study, according to Earth4All.

The projection is significantly lower than several prominent population estimates – including those of the United Nations.

Satellite view from outer space of Italy. In that scenario, the researchers estimate the global population could peak at 8.6 billion n 2050 before declining to seven billion by 2100. PIXABAY/SWNS TALKER

The researchers go further to say that if the world takes a “Giant Leap” in investment in economic development, education and health then global population could peak at 8.5 billion people by the middle of this century.

The UN currently projects the global world population to reach 8.5 billion in 2030 and to increase further to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion by the year 2100.

However, the new projections by researchers from the Earth4All initiative for the Global Challenges Foundation and published as a working paper suggest the figures could be much lower.

The team used a new system dynamics model, called Earth4All, to explore two scenarios.

In the first, dubbed Too Little Too Late, the world continues to develop economically in a similar way to the last 50 years.

Many of the very poorest countries break free from extreme poverty.

In that scenario, the researchers estimate the global population could peak at 8.6 billion n 2050 before declining to seven billion by 2100.

In the second scenario, called the Giant Leap, researchers estimate that the population will peak at 8.5 billion people by around 2040 and decline to around six billion people by the end of the 21st Century.

That is achieved through “unprecedented” investment in poverty alleviation – particularly investment in education and health – along with “extraordinary” policy turnarounds on food and energy security, inequality and gender equity.

In the second scenario, extreme poverty is eliminated by the year 2060 – with a marked impact on global population trends.

The research team argues that other prominent population projections often underplay the importance of rapid economic development.

Earth4All project lead Per Espen Stoknes, director of the Centre for Sustainability at Norwegian Business School, said: “We know rapid economic development in low-income countries has a huge impact on fertility rates.

“Fertility rates fall as girls get access to education and women are economically empowered and have access to better healthcare.”

Dr. Beniamino Callegari, an Associate Professor from Kristiania and member of the Earth4All modeling team, said: “Few prominent models simulate population growth, economic development and their connections simultaneously.”

The analysis uses 10 world regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, China and the United States.

Currently, population growth is highest in some nations in Africa, including Angola, Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria, and Asia, for example, Afghanistan.

Dr. Callegari said: “If we assume these countries adopt successful policies for economic development, then we can expect the population to peak sooner rather than later.”

The team also analyzed the connection between population and exceeding planetary boundaries, which is linked to the carrying capacity of Earth.

Contrary to popular myths, the team found that population size is not the prime driver of exceeding planetary boundaries such as climate change.

Instead, they say it is “extremely high material footprint” levels among the world’s richest 10 percent that are destabilizing the planet.

Norwegian academic Professor Jorgen Randers, one of the leading modelers for Earth4All, said: “Humanity’s main problem is luxury carbon and biosphere consumption, not population.

“The places where the population is rising fastest have tiny environmental footprints per person compared with the places that reached peak population many decades ago.”

According to the team’s demographic projections, the entire global population could achieve living conditions exceeding the UN minimum level without significant changes in current developmental trends, provided an equal distribution of resources.

The researchers also concluded that at current population levels, it is possible for everyone to escape extreme poverty and pass a minimum threshold for a “dignified” life with access to food, shelter, energy and other resources.

However, that requires a much more equal distribution of resources.

Prof. Randers added: “A good life for all is only possible if the extreme resource use of the wealthy elite is reduced.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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