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Ten Billionby Stephen Emmott
Synopses & Reviews
A VINTAGE ORIGINAL
Just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth.
There are now over seven billion of us.
And, sometime this century, the world population will reach at least ten billion.
Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. The driving issues of our times are the result of one huge problem: Us.
As the population continues to grow, our problems will increase. And this means that every way we look at it, a planet of ten billion people is likely to be a nightmare.
Stephen Emmott, a scientist whose lab is at the forefront of research into complex natural systems, sounds the alarm. TEN BILLION is a snapshot of our planet, and our species, approaching a crisis, and a stark analysis of where this leaves us. TEN BILLION is not another climate book. TEN BILLION is a book about us.
"This muscular but anxious broadside by Emmott, a Cambridge scientist, predicts a bleak future of critical shortages, droughts, starvation, and natural disasters once the Earth's population reaches the book's eponymous number. Whether it's water or food, population trends mean that present levels of consumption can't continue. The author is forceful, if frantic, in supplying the numbers. Forty percent of the planet is already devoted to agriculture, with governments and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia quickly gobbling up the remaining land. As the global population grows in number and wealth, the demand for food and resource-depleting consumer goods will rise. With a few hair-raising facts, Emmott deftly demonstrates that production is itself consumption: One liter of bottled water requires four liters to produce; a hamburger takes 800 gallons. Whereas technology helped forestall crises in the past, it now uses up the very resources it's designed to preserve. Water desalination, for instance, requires energy intensive and releases many pollutants. Nuclear power would offer short-term hope but remains unpopular. The author sees only 'radical behavior change' as a viable solution but does not say how this would work. Emmott's facts are enough to shake steely optimists, though the book's Malthusian pathos could be a bit cloying even for like-minded pessimists. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A VINTAGE PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
Just 10,000 years ago, there were only one million humans on Earth.
By 1800, just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion of us.
By 1960, there were three billion.
There are now over seven billion of us.
By 2050, there will be at least nine billion other people—and, sometime near the end of this century, there will be at least ten billion of us.
There is simply no known way to provide this many people with clothes, food, and fresh water. And any action we take to address these issues will turn up the thermostat on global warming.
Stephen Emmott has dedicated his career to researching the effects of humans on the Earth’s natural systems. This is his call to arms, an urgent plea to re-imagine the interconnected web of our global problems in a new light.
About the Author
Stephen Emmott is the head of Microsoft Research’s Computational Science Laboratory in Cambridge, England, which is recognized around the world for its research into novel computational approaches to advance understanding of complex natural systems. He has taught at the University of Oxford and University College London, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts.
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Engineering » Environmental Engineering » Pollution Control