10^12: a check on the earth-carrying capacity for man

Marchetti C (1979). 10^12: a check on the earth-carrying capacity for man. Energy 4 (6): 1107-1117. DOI:10.1016/0360-5442(79)90101-4.

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Abstract

Much has been said about the carrying capacity of the earth and with most contradictory results, as the arguments have too often been used in the service of prejudices.

In this paper, we have: made a cross section of a world very heavily populated by present standards; examined with a system view the level of basic necessities plus luxuries for this population; and indicated the technology to satisfy them. Where problems of a global level appeared, a geoengineering solution has been sketched. The result of this analysis is that, from a technological point of view, a trillion peple can live beautifully on the earth, for an unlimited time and without exhausting any primary resource and without overloading the environment. The global view of the problems and of their solutions makes the difference and shows that most of the perceived physical limits to growth stem from an inappropriate frame of reference.

Although our result should by no means be interpreted as an invitation to multiply, it does cast some doubt on the reliability of resource investigations within too narrow assumptions about the adaptability of man to changing conditions and transfers the problem of the limits to growth where it belongs: to the areas of sociology, politics, and ethics.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy Program (ENP)
Bibliographic Reference: Energy; 4(6): 1107-1117 (December 1979) (Published online 11 August 20013)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:45
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2016 14:58
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/997

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