Planet Could Be 'Unrecognizable' in 40 Years

Population is getting richer, and competing for ever-scarcer resources
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2011 5:55 PM CST
Planet Could Be 'Unrecognizable' in 40 Years
The crew of Apollo 17 took this photograph in December 1972.   (Getty Images)

Our world could be "unrecognizable" by 2050 thanks to competition for scarce resources among our expanding, ever-more-affluent population, or so warned scientists at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science yesterday. To cope with a population that's expected to hit 9 billion by that year, "we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000," said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund.

"More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet," Clay told the AFP, which reports that as people make more money, they tend to consume more meat. It takes about seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat, according to experts. And incomes are expected to triple globally, and quintuple in developing nations in the next 40 years. (Click for another dire 2050 prediction.)

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