Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Population Loss

I decided to investigate what the casualties would be for different rates of change in the ecological footprint, and was able to show how the casualties increased as we waited to make the changes. The population loss is measured as the difference between the peak population and the population in the year 3000, after it has leveled off.

According to the model, if we start changing the footprint in 2007, we will need to reduce it at least 17 percent annually to avoid casualties. If we wait until 2012 to start making changes, we will be unable to avoid casualties, even if we cut out our entire footprint the following year.

The footprint is projected to increase an average of five percent per year, based on current trends. A 17 percent decline from the present value amounts to a 22 percent change from our current rate. It is interesting to note that based on 2004 data, I estimated we would need to reduce annual consumption by at least 22 percent per year to avoid the “energy transition” where consumption would peak, ostensibly because oil would start getting too expensive.

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