Saturday, June 16, 2007

Interesting Questions

A number of interesting questions have been raised by my investigations into resource consumption, limits on population growth, and security.

The core assumption of my consumption model is that annual consumption of resources is proportional to the global ecological footprint. Is this true? This assumption has not been proven, though there are several good reasons to believe it; among them that global energy production, which drives consumption, tracks the footprint pretty closely (no pun intended).

The population projections of the consumption model are based on the observation that there seems to be a tight correlation between world population and cumulative consumption (the total amount of resources consumed over a period of time, calculated as the sum of annual consumption). Is this a true correlation, and if so, why does it exist? This question is particularly important because the most dramatic and potentially controversial prediction of the model is that after thousands of years of population growth in synch with consumption, the population will fall to zero as a consequence of too much consumption, and this will happen in less than 40 years.

My recent comparison of national statistics suggests that there may be an external variable driving both global ecological footprint and life span (a combination of individual power and awareness; what I have called “adjusted power”) and when this variable gets too high, life span will drop. Is this true, and if so, why, and what does it mean for the entire world? Does this validate or invalidate the consumption-driven population crash predicted by the consumption model?

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