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Earth's Population Update: How Many People Can Planet Earth Sustain?

First Posted: May 02, 2016 05:40 AM EDT
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The world population, as of March 2016, is estimated at 7.4 billion. The United Nations predicted that this will increase to 11.2 billion in the year 2100. The population is increasing faster every year. The question is, "How many people can the planet Earth actually hold?"

The land area of Earth is approximately around 150 million square kilometers. About one-eighth of Earth's surface is livable and three-quarters of Earth is occupied by oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 the human population will be approximately between 8.3 to 10.9 billion. The increasing rate of population will take place mostly in developing nations and about 60 percent of the world's population is presumed to settle in urban rather than in rural areas.

The Earth's capacity, condition and its fate are unclear. Is it capable of supporting 10 billion people at the end of the century? Are there enough food and water to keep all people healthy? Is the planet Earth can stand the climate change, which affects the lives of the human beings? Many experts believe that the events here on Earth will probably be doomed once the world's population reaches the 9 to 10 billion, according to BGR.

Humans living on Earth pose risks. These involve climate change, a nuclear holocaust, the misuse of nanotechnology, a genetically engineered disease, and warfare with a programme of super intelligence or a disaster caused by a physics experiment. Other natural risks include runaway greenhouse effect, highly virulent disease and impact of an asteroid or comet. These scenarios are difficult for human beings.

Edward O. Wilson, a sociobiologist from Harvard University estimated the Earth's available resources. He said that the constraints of the biosphere are fixed. He further said that there is limited availability of fresh water and limitations in the amount of food the Earth can produce. "If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, leaving little or nothing for livestock, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land (3.5 billion acres) would support about 10 billion people."

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