Earth could be 'unrecognizable' by 2050, experts say

The earth could become "unrecognizable" by 2050, if a growing affluent global population keeps consuming more resources, researchers warned at a major US science conference.


Earth 'unrecognizable' by 2050

"By 2050 we will not have a planet left that is recognizable" if the global population continues to increase, said Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The United Nations has predicted the global population will reach seven billion this year, and climb to nine billion by 2050, "with almost all of the growth occurring in poor countries, particularly Africaand South Asia," said John Bongaarts of the non-profit Population Council.

Meanwhile, as income is expected to rise over the next 40 years -- tripling globally and quintupling in developing nations, people tend to consume more meat, eggs or dairy products, which would cost more grains to produce, adding more strain to global food supplies.

"We want to minimize population growth, and the only viable way to do that is through more effective family planning," said John Casterline, director of the Initiative in Population Research at Ohio State University.

It takes around seven pounds (3.4 kilograms) of grain to produce a pound of meat, and around three to four pounds of grain to produce a pound of cheese or eggs, AFP reported.

"More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet," Jason Clay told AFP, urging scientists and governments to start making changes now to how food is produced.

Population experts called for more funding for family planning programs to help control the growth in the number of humans, especially in developing nations.