Thursday, 27 May 2010

Armageddon Cancelled

World population is expected to reach (a peak of) 9.2 billion by 2050 according to a new study by the United Nations. Virtually all growth will occur in developing countries, with their population growing from 5.4 billion today to 7.9 billion mid-century. The population of developed regions is expected to remain unchanged at 1.2 billion, and would have declined, were it not for the anticipated net migration from developing to developed countries.
Those of us who survived the 1970s will recall that we were all supposed to be dead by now.

In his 1968 book The Population Bomb, Paul Erlich predicted that the human population would increase exponentially, outpacing agricultural growth and causing a grim end to our comfy way of life. Using inappropriate and inaccurate modeling, he predicted that famine and industrial factors would kill most Americans before the turn of the century.


So what is going to kill off the human race and leave the future of the planet in the hands of some small furry mammals or highly evolved kina ?

My money is on a supervolcano (the closest being in the middle of the North Island):

A supervolcano is a volcano capable of producing a super volcanic eruption, which is a volcanic eruption with ejecta greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles), which is thousands of times larger than most historic volcanic eruptions.[1] Supervolcanoes can occur when magma in the Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is unable to break through the crust. Pressure builds in a large and growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain the pressure. They can also form at convergent plate boundaries (for example, Toba) and continental hotspot locations (for example, Yellowstone).


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