Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




POLITICAL ECONOMY
Researcher is optimistic about meeting 'Grand Challenge' of global prosperity
by Staff Writers
Ithaca NY (SPX) Oct 29, 2013


File image.

With ecological viability threatened, world resources draining, population burgeoning and despair running rampant, the end is nigh. Or not, says Lawrence M. Cathles, Cornell professor of earth and atmospheric sciences.

"In spite of our apparent environmental problems, we stand a remarkable chance of achieving solutions," he says. "Societies all around the world are living longer. We have more access to food, clean water and energy... and we've never been more healthy."

Cathles outlines his optimism about the world's prospects for sustaining the human population in an environmentally responsible way in his article, "Future Rx: Optimism, Preparation, Acceptance of Risk," in a special publication of The Journal of the Geological Society, released Oct. 24.

"If we have the courage to do big things, all of humanity has a fine future," says Cathles in the article, which addresses food sustainability, natural resources and energy levels, and what he calls the "Grand Challenge" of the next century for everyone to achieve a European standard of living. In his paper, Cathles proposes a path to achieving that standard.

Today the world hosts 7.13 billion people, and Cathles says that while humans are living longer, the world population will peak at 10.5 billion about 100 years from now.

The most essential resource is energy, and today most of the world uses less than 2 kilowatts of power per person (for heat, lighting, transportation and manufacturing), while those at the European standard of living (the average French or German citizen, for example) use 3.5 times more. The world currently consumes energy at the rate of 15 trillion watts (15 terawatts), with 86 percent from hydrocarbon sources.

Meeting the Grand Challenge would require energy production of 50 terawatts today and 75 terawatts 100 years from now, ideally all from zero carbon energy sources, says Cathles. Growing from 15 to 75 terawatts over a century requires a growth rate of 1.6 percent per year, which is modest, he says, compared with the U.S. growth rate of 2.6 percent over the past 50 years and China's recent 12 percent growth rate and their planned growth over the next 10 years of 7 percent annually.

The lion's share of the power expansion could be met by wind, solar power produced in deserts or nuclear; but by far the least environmentally intrusive, feasible and realistic option is nuclear, he says. The oceans have enough dissolved uranium to sustain 10.5 billion people at a European standard for more than 100 centuries, and the extraction footprint would be tiny.

"Everything is possible with energy, nothing is possible without it," says Cathles.

The paper also examines whether the supplies of other materials are adequate to sustain 10.5 billion people for hundreds of centuries - and Cathles sees no major sustainability problems.

Cathles also argues that natural gas provides a natural transition from dependence on other fossil fuels to carbon-free nuclear and other energy sources, although he cautions that the transition cannot be stretched out too much due to oil and gas resource limitations. Our most threatened resource may be soil, he says, but with enough energy this will not be a fundamental barrier to prosperity.

Embracing the challenge of a European standard a century from now is "the most constructive goal imaginable," he says, and one that is necessary for humans to have a future and, more importantly, a common future.

Says Cathles: "We have plenty of resources; we do not need to fight over them."

.


Related Links
Cornell University
The Economy






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





POLITICAL ECONOMY
Commentary: Costly greed
Washington (UPI) Oct 28, 2013
For a company that employs 255,000 and has assets of $2.4 trillion, a $13 billion fine isn't exactly chump change. It directly led to JPMorgan Chase's first quarterly loss under Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon. Most of the $13 billion will go to investors who were fleeced on securities sold by JP Morgan. Prior to the 2008 crisis, JPMorgan Chase, was into the business of "mort ... read more


POLITICAL ECONOMY
Uruguay to pull peacekeepers from Haiti: president

Storm-battered northern Europe slowly gets back to normal

Sandy's Lessons Include: Put Parks, Not Houses, On the Beach

Sandy suffering still acute in the Rockaways

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Cheap metals can be used to make products from petroleum

Vacuums provide solid ground for new definition of kilogram

Zoomable Holograms Pave the Way for Versatile, Portable Projectors

Copper Shock: An Atomic-scale Stress Test

POLITICAL ECONOMY
India's water supply at risk

How climate change affects microbial life below the seafloor

Increasing toxicity of algal blooms tied to nutrient enrichment and climate change

Swelling lakes in Hol Xil pose railway threat

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Greenpeace activists hit out at detention conditions

Maritime tribunal to hear 'Arctic Sunrise' case on Nov 6

New study finds unprecedented warmth in Arctic

Greenpeace urges Russia to free activists after piracy charge lifted

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Brazil energy, farm incentives fuel CO2 emissions

Argentine bread prices keep rising as grain scarcity kicks in

Small changes in ag practices could reduce produce-borne illness

Veterinary scientists track the origin of a deadly emerging pig virus in US

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Floods kill 48 in eastern India: report

Fukushima workers evacuated as small tsunami hits Japan

Japan mudslide islanders take shelter as new storm looms

Philippine earthquake creates miles-long rocky wall

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Four French hostages kidnapped in Niger released: Hollande

Four Frenchmen kidnapped in Niger free after three years

Congo M23 rebels 'practically' finished: UN envoy

US military targeted Shebab in drone strike: official

POLITICAL ECONOMY
Did hard-wired fear of snakes drive evolution of human vision?

Hair regeneration method is first to induce new human hair growth

No known hominin is ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans

Long-term memory helps chimpanzees in their search for food




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement