Not Evil, Just Romm

UPDATE: Romm at CP makes some significant concessions to error with additions, but can’t bring himself to mention WUWT, credit Willis, or allow any commenters to do so either. He has been “disappearing” critical comments as evidenced by our own commenters reposting their disappeared comments here. It is comical to watch. – Anthony

UPDATE: That’s too funny, Anthony. He’s pulled out his entire section on population … ooops. The foolish part is not giving credit. I don’t care about the credit, I find I can get anything accomplished if I don’t care if someone else gets the credit. But it’s bad tactics, makes him look petty and unprofessional. I suppose now that he (and the Authors) have removed the population claims, I’ll have to look at the New! Improved! Now with ‘Super-exponential CO2’ part of the paper. Ooooogh … – w.     [Later] The new analysis is now done, see”Not Evil, Just Destructive“.

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Anthony asked me to take a look at Joe Romm’s comments on a new paper called “Evidence for super-exponentially accelerating atmospheric carbon dioxide growth”, by A.D. Husler and D. Sornette. The paper is available on Arkiv.  It’s not peer-reviewed as far as I can determine.

I started to review the paper. I got to the opening comments (and the footnote) on Page 1 referring to the “ecological footprint”. This is a very bad sign, the “ecological footprint” has nothing to do with science. It is an advocacy tool.

Figure 1. Population density expressed as height. Image Credit

Then I got to the footnote on Page 2, and I could go no further. It says:

Thus, a constant growth rate corresponds to a population growing exponentially, with a doubling time given by (log2)/r. As the present growth rate is r(2010) ≈ 1.8% per year, this gives a present doubling time of 38.5 years. If nothing changes, the present 6.8 billion people will be more than 13 billion in 2050! This is in contradiction with projections of OECD for instance and other international organizations, which optimistically expect human population to stabilize around 9 billion individuals.

Other than the gratuitous exclamation mark, why did this stop me from even considering the rest of the paper?

I’ve mentioned before that one of my strengths is that I’m a generalist. Back in 2004 I did an extensive analysis of the relationship between population growth rates and nutrition. No reason, it was never published, I was just curious.

My results showed something very interesting. By and large, if the population growth rate in a country, region, or the world is decreasing, average nutrition (daily calories, protein, and fat per capita) increases. On the other hand, if the population growth rate is increasing, the country cannot feed itself, nutrition declines. The absolute growth rate is not important. It is the direction of the change in growth rate that determines whether people can feed themselves.

In any case, as a result of that 2004 research of mine, I knew that his talk of a “constant growth rate” for global population was nonsense, global population growth rates have been dropping for years. I also thought I remembered the growth rate being lower than 1.8%. I went back to the wonderful FAOSTAT database and updated my figures (note that their figures post-2008 are estimates). Figure 2 shows the actual global population growth rates since 1961:

Figure 2. Annual increase in population as a percentage, 1961 to 2008.

Now that we have the real data on the population, let’s examine his claims.

1.  He assumes a constant population growth rate. In fact, the growth rate has been dropping for half a century.

2.  He says the 2010 growth rate is 1.8%. In fact, it hasn’t been that high in about a quarter century.

3.  He says that the population will be “13 billion in 2050”. This assumes a) the current growth rate is 1.8% and b) the growth rate is constant. Neither one of those assumptions is anywhere near true, so the conclusion is also invalid.

I calculate that if the trend continues, the growth rate will reach zero sometime shortly after mid-century. At that point I calculate the population will be about 9.5 billion. This is in good agreement with the UN FAO midrange estimate of the expected maximum population.

So that’s why I quit reading their paper right then and there. If they can get something bozo simple like the population growth rates that wrong, I fear I don’t really have time to hack my way through their more outré propositions regarding “super-exponential acceleration”, whatever that may be.

Joe Romm swallowed this one whole, opining (emphasis mine):

The paper itself is mostly for math and statistics junkies.  It is essentially agnostic on climate science.  But the conclusions are as stark as any in the climate literature:

• The human population is still growing at an exponential rate and there is no sign in the data that the growth rate is decreasing. Many argue that economic developments and education of women will lead to a decreased growth rate and an eventual stabilization of human population. This is not yet observed in the population dynamics, when integrated worldwide. Let us hope that the stabilization of the human population will occur endogenously by self-regulation, rather than by more stringent finite carrying capacity constraints that can be expected to lead to severe strains on a significant fraction of the population.

No sign in the data that the global population growth rate is decreasing?

You go, Joe.

w.

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Jean Demesure

Romm : “But the conclusions are as stark junk as any in the climate literature”

Pteradactyl

Can we take it that it has now had its first peer reveiw – and does it need any more?
Well done Willis.

Alexander K

Willis’ common-sense approach to horse-s**t is refreshing, but I am puzzled as to why Romm bothered with this obvious nonsense – he can’t be that desperate for reading matter, surely.
Is Joe attempting to gain support from the misguided neo-Malthusians?

Steve in SC

Willis,
You should have been an editor.

Gordon Cheyne

Do you think that 40,000 deaths per day (mainly children) from starvation could be slowing the population growth rate?

Jason F

It’s pet population that’s more worrying!
/sarc off
The paper is a worrying sign of things to come, history has shown what happens when we start to think population and control thereoff are crackerjack good ideas!

oMan

Willis: thanks for saving us all a lot of time and trouble. Your epistemological screen –continue reading until the writer fails the Bozo Test– is very attractive as a general method. As for the substance of what you say (what matters is not the first derivative of the population function, i.e. growth rate, so much as the second derivative, i.e. the change in growth rate) it makes sense to me. We can see the impact of the changing demographic right now, even though the actual “roll off” in population will play out over decades.

Gary Pearse

Arkiv is a Princton U site where you can upload research that you expect to publish but will allow its use by other researchers in the meantime. I’ve been wondering if this is a good way to protect your scientific ideas from theft. Anyone know? In any case the offerings are not peer reviewed. I can see from this paper that another good idea is likely to be ruined by ideologues as has happened with wiki.

Willis
There’s another statement in Joe Romm’s opinion that you did not highlight, and that is just as damning as the one you did:
“The paper … is essentially agnostic on climate science”.
Eh? The title of the paper is “Evidence for super-exponentially accelerating atmospheric carbon dioxide growth” – and it is agnostic on climate science? What the hell is Joe Romm trying to get us to swallow here?
He is an impassioned AGW supporter interpreting a study in a way the backs up his conviction. And of course claiming that the quoted study is completely impartial. Sorry, Romm – the very title of the study telegraphs its purpose.

Talking of reviewing papers, I’ve got a German copy of the “What does CO2 really contribute to Global Warming” paper by Hermann Harde. At over 50 pages in length it’s quite a struggle to translate, but as far as I can gather it’s just how you would expect to approach the problem of determining the direct effect of CO2 doubling on the planet with a projected warming without feedbacks of around 0.45C
Unfortunately, neither the author nor I can explain why his figure is lower than the other calculations (estimates), largely because the other estimates are so opaque providing little information on the methodology they use (which isn’t something you can criticise Hermann Harde for).
So, this is really a general call asking for help securing details of the other climate models. (Contact me via my blog linked name above)

Old Grump

Why….why…..how dare you actually research any of the facts! (sarc)
I have thought about asking the community one question for months now. After this, I just have to do it. I apologize in advance, but I must ask.
When considering the group(s?) of those who are leading the “gloom and doom” charge, am I the only one who is reminded of Sid the Sloth (of the Ice Age animateds)? Every time I read or hear about articles like this I can hear Sid screaming, “We’re going to die!”

Roger Carr

Brilliant title! Not Evil, Just Romm

Scarlet Pumpernickel

Ecological footprint means civilization footprint, we live in 2010, not the Roman times!!!

Alan the Brit

Of course the operative word is omni-present in all these loony studies. That is that wonderfully vague & meaningless word, “if”! If this happened, if that happened, if it carries on like this then……………………..! What evidence is ever put forward to conclude that the if turned out to be “did”! I have certainly never heard of one disaster scenario that actually occurred. As pointed out by others, no account seems to have been taken of the thousands who die each year, many pointlessly. No account seems to have been taken of the deaths of random, (yet curiously impendingly more frequent disasters due to AGW) events like the Asian earthquake & tsunami, & the recent ones, & the deaths due to drought, heatwave, freak torrential Asian storms, etc. I wonder why?
OT, BBC The One Show last night did its best to slaughter the nuclear debate. (The shape of things to come?) They ran the story of the 1956 Windscale/Sellafield reactor fire which has only recently been revealed. (the topic prompted by problems in Japan.) Curiously after trying everything they could to extinguish it, they simply turned off the fans driving air into the building which had the effect of extinguishing the fire almost immediately according to one interviewee who was there, thus saving the local inhabitants from impending doom! Matt Baker (presenter, decent bloke, all rounder, from northern farming stock), stated at the end of the piece with some degree of authority that there were some 260(?) cancer cases that “could” have been related to that incident. The tell tale give away was of course the “could”, which equally have been “could not”! More interestingly still, all the interviewees were either present at the time of the incident, or in the locallity at the time. All appeared to be in their 70s/80s & in fine fettle! Not one mention of anyone who subsequently died from radiation poisoning or cancer as a result of said incident! Go figure!

Super-exponentialexpialidocious

tmtisfree

By and large, if the population growth rate in a country, region, or the world is decreasing, average nutrition (daily calories, protein, and fat per capita) increases. On the other hand, if the population growth rate is increasing, the country cannot feed itself, nutrition declines. The absolute growth rate is not important. It is the direction of the change in growth rate that determines whether people can feed themselves.

No disrespect, but I think you have it backwards: it is because the people are feeding themselves better that the population growth rate decreases, ie the welfare of a population determines its (inversely correlated) growth.

Jit

Obviously Husler & Sornette is nonsense.
But so are the FAO’s projections. They are hopelessly optimistic. Try insteading of plotting the percentage growth rate in global population plot the absolute global population growth rate.
In the past 10 years of real numbers, we have added a steady 79 mill to the world every year – obviously this shows up as a declining percentage increase because the base is getting higher.
The projected FAO figures for absolute population growth fall off a cliff in a couple of years such that the global increase falls by a mill a year. It’s a plateau followed by a cliff. I’ve plotted it
These extrapolations are done for political reasons. This is the UN, after all.

Willis Eschenbach

Roger Carr says:
March 17, 2011 at 2:25 am

Brilliant title! Not Evil, Just Romm

Glad someone got the allusion.
w.

Don Keiller

What will people like Joe Romm and the equally vacuous Bob Ward (Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change) do when the increasingly unstable Climate Change bandwagon falls off the tracks?
Jail time? Nice thought, but unlikely. Almost certainly morph seamlessly to the next big scare and carry on regardless.
Now that really riles me.

Espen

Willis, the CIA Fact Book estimate of the world population growth rate for 2011 is 1.092%, that’s even slightly below your trend line if I’m eyeballing correctly.
What’s really confusing about this Swiss paper (they’re from a well-known Swiss university, but hey, they’re economists, so as a mathematician I don’t trust their sanity at all ;)), is that the footnote you’re quoting is in stark contrast to their figure 7, which shows the correct rate of decrease in population growth rate, down to just above 1% in 2008. Can’t they even read their own figures??
This paper is the worst piece of mathematical bullcrap I’ve read (or glanced through, I have no intention to work through all the details) in a while. They’re playing with simple mathematical methods trying to convince us that growth, through positive feedbacks, is strictly faster than exponential, while they’re completely ignoring well known observation from the real world: That economic growth means better education (and more working women), which creates a strong negative feedback on population growth! Just look at South Korea, which has changed from an “exploding” population to a situation where the fertility rate (1.23) is so low that they will have an “imploding” population in just a few years.

A great read on population growth and other development/prosperity issues: “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley.

Ross H

Do we think this paper might be referenced in AR5?

ROM

One aspect of the declining global population growth rate that I have often pondered is the economic question.
Our entire current global economic system is based on growth, growth and more growth and when the global population increase finally slows down to a stop and becomes a static global population of around the 9 to 9.5 billion then global economic growth will also slow right down.
There will still be an enormous numbers of that huge global population that will be need to be raised up to much better living standards, a development not that dissimilar to what we are now seeing in China, Asia and India.
But ultimately the decline in global population will begin as the population ages.
As populations age they also earn less, are less productive and spend less, need more of limited resources spent on them and so limiting resources available for other sections of the economy and so the economy then also starts to go into a long decline.
The canary in the global economic mine right now is Japan with it’s aging population, it’s declining work force with the Japanese now relaxing some of their xenophobic restrictions on immigrants to try and bolster their work force, and it’s stagnant economy and it’s increasing economic malaise and stagnation and it’s slow decline in it’s ability to innovate as the numbers of bright young graduates from where most innovation originates also starts to decline.
Japan’s economy [ even without the catastrophe of the last few days ] and changing social structures and problems are the blue print for the global economy when global population growth and it’s accompanying global economic growth also stop increasing and then start to decline.
So mankind’s choices in the long ahead future may well be a long slow decline in the population and it’s accompanying global declining economy with steadily declining living standards and economic stagnation becoming the norm.
Or the development of a new economic [ and political ? ] structures that can cater for the changing global social and economic circumstances.

Grumpy Old Man

The political Left exists by establishing a “Cause” to “fight” for. When the wheels fall off CAGW, some other quixotic idealism will be found to trap the bright but clueless.

Bernie

IMHO, Romm and many other climate catastrophists, including the late Steve Schneider, are Malthusians and that is what drives a lot of their apoplexy.

Snotrocket

Perhaps, we should not skim too quickly over the following in JR’s conclusions (my highlights):

“Let us hope that the stabilization of the human population will occur endogenously by self-regulation, rather than by more stringent finite carrying capacity constraints that can be expected to lead to severe strains on a significant fraction of the population.”

Here, the term ‘endogenously’ is taken to mean, ‘internally’/’from within’ – which, in industrial terms is rather like reducing a work force through ‘natural wastage’. But it is the ‘…more stringent finite carrying capacity constraints’ that worries me about people like Romm: I just wonder what his ‘constraints’ are: by definition, and within the context of his statement, they are NOT based on ‘natural wastage.

Jim Turner

Re: Gordon Cheyne says:
March 17, 2011 at 1:40 am
Do you think that 40,000 deaths per day (mainly children) from starvation could be slowing the population growth rate?
Probably not, in fact probably the opposite. There seems to be a broad inverse correlation between infant mortality and birth rate. Where the survival of children is not certain people tend to have as many as possible to as ‘insurance’, not just replacing those that die. In advanced societies where children are highly likely to survive, people limit their fertility because of the cost and effort invested per child. I believe that across most of Europe, the birth rate has fallen below 2 children per couple amongst indigenous populations. Where such populations are growing, such as Britain, it is driven by immigration. Where there is little or no immigration, eg Russia, the population is falling.

Sam the Skeptic

Scarlet Pumpernickel says:
Ecological footprint means civilization footprint, we live in 2010, not the Roman times!!!
But if the eco-nuts have their way “there’ll be Roman times just around the corner”. (with apologies to Noel Coward!)

As soon as I see “exponential” in this context I know it’s wrong. Nothing in the biosphere grows exponentially, let alone “super-exponentially”, for any sustained period. Numbers and computer models can do it, but living things that have to eat and breathe can’t.
If any life form had ever multiplied exponentially, it would be the only life form on earth thereafter. Since we’ve had a huge number of different life forms for 3 billion years, we know a priori that no actual critter has ever gone expo.

Hector Pascal

[quote]the Japanese now relaxing some of their xenophobic restrictions on immigrants to try and bolster their work force,[/quote]
I’m calling you on thi. Come up with a source other than some Chinese or Korean CAGW equivalent. I live in Japan. Japan manages immigration to match assimilation, that includes me. Note that after Katrina, US Police were diverted from S&R to mob control. Here where I live in northern Tohoku everone is focused on recovery. There are no security problems. Why is this xenophobic?

ROM [not Romm] has a point. At the end of WWII nearly 10 million U.S. servicemen were discharged from the military, creating the impact of an immediate, large population increase. Hand-wringing editorials were written about the negative economic impact of all those unemployed ex-military folks coming home.
What actually happened was increased prosperity. More consumers meant more demand, which meant more employment to provide goods and services. Levittowns were built, cars were manufactured again, pent-up demand was being satisfied. Within an amazing six months, employers had hired the returning veterans and there was full employment.
Environmentalists want to drastically lower the population. That would make the world a poorer place. It’s counter-intuitive, but a rising population means more prosperity for all.

Truthseeker

@Don Keiller 3:14 AM
My money on the “Next Big Scare” is Biodiversity. This is a topic that I’ve heard discussed in Gloom and Doom terms several times in the last few weeks. Most recently on the flagship morning news program “Today” on BBC Radio 4 where “an expert” from the National Society for Protection of Birds was wheeled out to point out that draining the Fens in Eastern England has caused the land to sink by 4 meters since the mid 1850’s and this apparently is a sign of mans negative impact on biodiversity. How exactly was not explained. I imagine the argument to be along the lines of monodiverse crop cultivation versus a rich natural wildlife habitat. To me if you drain fens (marshland) then obviously the land will sink because it dries out. Likewise if you stopped draining it it would gradually return to how it was before. Another non issue IMHO to frighten the general public with.

Les Johnson

Willis: I just plotted the Mauna Loa numbers, and, technically, one of the claims of this paper do hold up, that CO2 is increasing exponentially. Barely.
Going back to 1958, and plotting a linear trend, I get a r2 of 0.9859, at 0.1206 slope.
Using an exponential trend, I do get a better r2 of 0.9912. But the exponent is only e^0.0003x. An exponent this small is not too dissimilar to a linear trend, especially over small time scales.
But there is no sign of a SUPER exponential CO2 curve. And, as you say, population rate of increase in falling, and has been for decades.
Myth, BUSTED.

Bill Marsh

I didn’t have to read beyond “super-exponentially accelerating” to understand that this was not a worthwhile read. That phrase sparked a recollection of the farcical movie ‘SpaceBalls’ in which one of the spaceships starts travelling at ‘Ridiculous Speed’.

Pull My Finger

There is a definite disparity in population growth. Poor countries have always had a higher birth rate due to uh, attrition, to but it bluntly. But the 2nd half of the 20th Century saw huge advances in medicine, the Green Revolution (as in agriculture), and massive revolutions in communications and transportation, resulting in a much lower death rate in 3rd world countries than in previous centuries. Not nearly as much attrition these days so we see spiraling populations in 3rd world countries. China of course instituted its one child policy which, desptie the very questionable morality of it, has really helped choke population growth. India on the other hand still averages 5-6 kids per woman.
For a while there technolgy pushed the 3rd world birht rate much higher, but those in the industrialized world were still averaging a far above replacement birth rate. Now that two income families and universally accepeted women’s rights (including “reporductive rights”), education have been accepted in the developed world, we’ve seen that population stall and world wide rates start to lower. Eventually India will slow down with modernization, European whites are nearly in a death spiral, so it’ll all even out eventually. And if it doesn’t naturally we humans like to have these herd thinning deals called wars every once in a while when resources become scant, althought that is so 19th Century (wars over resources rather than “-isms” that is)
And yea, what is superexponential? Like going from 300 to 3000 would be dramatic enough? Is he prediciting 300,000 ppm? 3 million?

Bruce Cobb

They seem to like using exclamation points, exclaiming “the larger the population, the larger the growth rate!” Then there’s the one Willis points out above, “If nothing changes, the present 6.8 billion people will be more than 13 billion in 2050!”
So, I guess they get excited by population growth!
The papers’ title “Evidence for super-exponentially accelerating atmospheric carbon dioxide growth” is an unbelievable hyperbole upon hyperbole. I imagine a rocket ship traveling at a speed that was “super-exponentially accelerating” would reach light speed in no time flat.

Pull My Finger

A rising, PRODUCTIVE AND SANE, population is a good thing. Growing populations without growing affluence, productivity or governmental infrastructure, such as we see in Sub-Sahara Africa and the Middle East (along with religious fanaticism) is not a good thing. How much money and time is wasted on trying to save unfortunate souls living in god-fosaken places with exploitative governments or, even worse, no government? Trillions of dollars a year? You think the Middle East is bad now, wait until the oil money runs out, you’ll have a population exponentially out of proportion to the natural resources of the area, with very little intelectual power, and who already live with a 9th century sense of what society should look like.
—–
a rising population means more prosperity for all.

Willis, one must not be too hard on Joe. After all, he has to defend junk science, so how is he to recognize other junk science when he reads it?

Slabadang

Chimpancees smarter than Romm according to Rosling!

Fred from Canuckistan

Rather than a gratuitous exclamation mark, I would call it a Malthusian exclamation mark.

So, you couldn’t make it through the rest of the paper, eh? Good, that means I don’t have to apologize for not reading it myself.
If they were trying to combine several exponential growth rates into “super-exponential” growth (whatever that is), mathematically it’s just multiplying various exponential factors together, and the result is just an exponential term with an exponent that’s the sum of the exponents of the individual terms.
E.g. e^a * e^b = e ^ (a + b)
Tangent: The thing you really want to avoid (or embrace, depending on the outcome or your temperament) is hyperbolic growth with a vertical asymptote. After reading Vernor Vinge’s stories about the “singularity,” (and picked up by Ray Kurzweil, etc), I tried comparing the two growth rates and concluded that the two are very similar until you get very close to the singularity. Then the exponent begins to rise, and rise quickly.
I did during a period when disk drive storage capacity was increasing super-exponentially, and figured that either the singularity was coming or that manufacturers were taking quick advantage of the giant magneto resistive technology that was recently developed. And also that the existence of atoms meant there would be physical limits that would be tough to get beyond.
Indeed, things have leveled off, so much so I never hear people talking about doubling times in disk capacity or CPU speed any more.
Superexponential growth rates are hard to achieve and harder to maintain.
So yeah, it looks like Joe is Romm again.

wws

re: “he can’t be that desperate for reading matter, surely.”
It seems clear that he is, and that’s not really surprising. As the warming movement collapses the number of new papers attempting to “prove” global warming get harder and harder to find, and so Joe ends up sliding down the scientific foodchain and landing in a pile of scaremongering, hyperventilating ideological nonsense.
which is probably a pretty good summary of his total output these days.

Pull My Finger

Let me rephrase that… they needed to have a higher birth rate due to attrition, pre-adult death of children.

There is a definite disparity in population growth. Poor countries have always had a higher birth rate due to uh, attrition,

I long ago have ignored Mr. Romm.
He is a member of my forum,but that was to chase after Richard Courtney.Whom he had banned at his own blog.He never has done anything in my forum.
Eventually some of his fans will tire of his absurd exaggerations,and leave.

stan

They can’t be wrong. They’re scientists.

rw

and this posting tells me all I need to know about Joe Romm …

Pamela Gray

Romm oddly dismisses the well-established observation that with education, women will have fewer babies. He says little about that other than to give me the impression that he believes it doesn’t work as it should and that starvation control may be the only path. His dismissal (and possible disregard?) of encouraging greater educational opportunities for women places him in an unbecoming light and leads me to wonder just how capable he is of deep thought.
That this phenomenon has not shown up across the globe is a testament, not to the silly insinuation that the well established phenomenon does not work to lower birthrates, but to the still deplorable observation that as a percentage of the population that has access to economically important education, women are largely denied this access in many developing and 3rd world countries, exactly where birth-rates are high.
My suggestion to Romm: You may want to switch your advocacy from reducing CO2, to increasing economically important educational access for women in developing and 3rd world countries. That is if you believe this to be critically important. Do you?

ROM says:
March 17, 2011 at 3:47 am
One aspect of the declining global population growth rate that I have often pondered is the economic question.
Our entire current global economic system is based on growth, growth and more growth and when the global population increase finally slows down to a stop and becomes a static global population of around the 9 to 9.5 billion then global economic growth will also slow right down.
. . . mankind’s choices in the long ahead future may well be a long slow decline in the population and it’s accompanying global declining economy with steadily declining living standards and economic stagnation becoming the norm.
Or the development of a new economic [ and political ? ] structures that can cater for the changing global social and economic circumstances.

A corollary to the aging population/slow growth conundrum that ROM describes well is the end of frontiers, of new lands to conquer, leading to placidity, stagnation, and tyrannical, bureaucratic government. Indeed, it is arguable that the American ethos of individualism and self-reliance was born of, and depends on, the existence of the frontier, now pretty much closed.
There is an answer, prescribed by the indefatigable Robert Zubrin in The Case for Mars. (1996): Colonize Mars, and eventually the rest of the outer Solar System:

. . .We still possess the greatest gift of the inheritance of a 400-year long Renaissance: To wit, the capacity to initiate another by opening the Martian frontier. If we fail to do so, our culture will not have that capacity long. Mars is harsh. Its settlers will need not only technology, but the scientific outlook, creativity and freethinking individualistic inventiveness that stand behind it. Mars will not allow itself to be settled by people from a static society — those people won’t have what it takes. We still do. Mars today waits for the children of the old frontier, but Mars will not wait forever.

The new frontier in space will encourage enterprise and growth. It will offer unlimited opportunity for our adventuresome children and grandchildren. With Mars will come the exploitation of the resources of the Asteroid Belt, and beyond that the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. And the expanding sphere of human prosperity will inevitably lift those still in poverty-stricken areas of Earth out of their mud huts and ox-drawn plows.
/Mr Lynn
PS Reminder to all (including ROM): The possessive of IT is ITS, not IT’S, which is short for IT IS. I know everyone hates grammatical nit-pickers, but the editor in me cringes every time I see one o’ them li’l buggers.

Craig Loehle

Willis: you have an unfair advantage here. You compare their numbers to reality. They have no contact with reality, since their ideology is more real than anything else. Of course, that means they won’t accept your criticism…but heh!

Jimbo

The second graph says it all! More Malthusian scaremongery.
One thing to also think about is the fact that in many countries their populations are ageing. I hope Romm has a good pension plan.
The coming acceleration of global population ageing [peer reviewed]
Population Aging and the Rising Cost of Public Pensions
The end of world population growth
Doubling of world population unlikely [full pdf]
Further reading – overpopulation myth.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-2265.2007.00369.x/full
http://www.overpopulationisamyth.com/category/categories/pop101

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines–hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”
http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/editorial/the-return-of-the-population-bomb
Paul Ehrlich – Population Bomb

Enter Paul Ehrlich mark II – Romm.