Can planet Earth sustain a human population of 100 billion?
So, yes, most likely, given the dramatic acceleration-path for technology.
But the question is moot.
Depopulation will soon emerge as a bigger problem than overpopulation.
As countries advance economically, children transition from being an economic asset (think, subsistence farming) to an economic cost.
In fact, there’s pretty much a linear negative correlation between wealth and reproduction rates.
Having a child in the U.
, for instance, is, at minimum, a several hundred thousand dollar proposition, sometimes more.
For this reason, birthrates in all first world countries have plummeted to the point where almost all are now below replacement (the exception is the U.
, which is clinging to zero population growth, ex-immigration).
Currently, countries like India are migrating hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in a remarkably short time frame.
This will result in a massive decrease in population growth.
In point of fact, it already has.
Since the 70s, births per thousand have declined from 40 to almost 20.
This is an incredible change, and one that will continue.
Bottom line: if you’re worried about overpopulation, start supporting pro-growth economic policies.
Counter-intuitive for many, I know, but demonstrably true.
The answer is yes, the earth can support it.
People need to stop worrying about how we have water, or land to grow crops on, or all that.
Once you realize that all that is required to get any of the things we need is fundamentally energy.
We can grow food in a cave or a skyscraper – just need power for lights and moving nutrients around.
We have no actual shortage of energy.
The earth is struck by such a large quantity of sunlight every day – even around the clouds – the wind blows – the water falls and runs downhill.
And then we have geothermic power – which we couldn’t use up in a million years if we tried.
On top of that, if none of that is adequate, we have nuclear power – where even the *spent* nuclear fuel generates so much power that we are at risk of it boiling off water.
None of THAT energy – which is all that is required for people to live as densely and in whatever climate they like – is even polluting.
(debates around nuclear aside, even if it IS, its so small and easily handled as to be irrelevant).
We will recycle like mad with 100 billion people.
That recycling will take energy.
WE HAVE ENERGY AVAILABLE.
And ignoring fossil fuels.
We just need to spend some energy we have now to get more energy out for later.
Technology will advance as materials get more scarce.
We’ll extract resources better and less intrusively, recycle better, because it will, at the time, be cheaper than the alternative.
Profit motive (provided the incentives are set properly by the necessary regulators to include the externalities) will assemble a market to solve the problems in front of it.
Engineering and surviving is what people do.
And we’ll continue to do it as long as we are educated and not held back by old thinking about how things used to be.
Want to go for 200 billion? Join us, Comrade.
Is it a real issue? No.
There is enough potential solar power hitting the earth to support this.
It would require high density living, recycling everything, new “unnatural”food production methods, and, limiting the resources available to individuals.
A lot of things that we regard as rights and normal behaviours like being able to take a walk in a park, eat wild fish, or wander along an empty beach would be either unavailable or expensive and rationed.
This would be a problem because humans because we like space and freedom.
However, it won’t happen.
In a nutshell: When people get middle class wealth, education and entertainments, plus have access to medical services that stop their kids from dying, they stop having big families, or often kids at all.
This takes a generation or two but it has happened everywhere.
See Modern first world states have negative internal population growth and rely on immigration to maintain population levels.
This means that the world population is expected to max at between 10 and 12 billion in a few decades then slowly decrease.
The actual maximum depends on unpredictable social factors and how fast development occurs but the wealth-population effect is solid.
This is not totally rosy, there is a population increase from where we are now, and the problems is compounded by the fact that wealthy people want to use more resources.
However, we can be confident that we are not headed into a catastrophic open-ended population increase.
Population can be handled without draconian restrictions on human activities.
Humans are facing some serious risks but out of control population increase is way down the list.
Maintaining the earth in a condition to support the current population with a moderate increase seems a much important task.
I would probably not agree with some of the answers here.
But I guess its part of a healthy conversation.
I do not think the Earth could sustain or accomodate 100Billion, imagine everyone you see now or people in your house multiplied by 100 so say a family of three in a would now be increased to 297.
Those are a lot of people.
While some here contend about there is space for the extra 94ish Billion extra folk, problem is to sustain them.
How many litres of water does one person need versus the current amount of available water now.
Same goes with the,
While he have the technology to build homes for them I do not think we can sustain ourselves in that number.
There is always a finite amount of sustainability any enviroment has…Perfect analogies are enclosed ant farms and acquariums…The Earth similarly works the same, there is always some space for another fish.
Right now, countries are in bitter disputes with water resources at our current population, multipy that then you got problems, The Earth looks empty indeed, but not all of it is liveable.
Just the amount of oxygen, waste, and everything else required to sustain a population is simply not feasible.
We humans do not have the sole right to occupy every nook and cranny of this planet.
If the ecosystem is out of balance Nature will find a way to cull over populations of a certain organism…and no amount of technology can match that.
As economist likes to say the reply is NO, CETERIS PARIBUS, which means provided other things remain equal, it is impossible to sustain 100 billion people.
The most challenging issue right no is not energy, water or other natural resources.
Civilization and technology have adapted itself to any kind of lack of natural resources.
We can even adapt to live with pollution.
The absolute main challenge will be lack of jobs, thus poverty.
Technology is increasing the speed at which machines are replacing more and more menial and even more complex jobs.
It is not free trade or immigrants.
See the big picture.
All countries (there are some small exceptions) are facing the same problem: the creation of jobs.
Politicians have increased job related taxes over the years, thus increasing the price of work (101 economics).
Plus our absurd corporate/ business income tax that makes incentives to promote more output per employee, you have the perfect incentive to replace humans with machines.
Sometimes it makes sense, some times it does not.
Compound this problem with the unions that have the tendency to protect conditions and jobs of existing workers but this usually means a natural barrier for creating more jobs.
If labor unions are fighting to demand better conditions, inevitably companies will respond by replacing jobs with machines.
Politicians, unions and management will have to sit down and renegotiate a new taxes for labor and corporate income tax plus a way to diminish labor conflicts.
There is only one natural way to increase salaries (it is not via increments in productivity): more jobs openings.
All increases in profits via increments in productivity do not go to salaries…it goes to profits.
If a company can do the same with less jobs, it wont increase salaries (as the old fashion schools of thought used to say).
They will go directly to profits.
The way to go is to replace business income tax with a tax scale rate that basically tax the profit per employee.
The more profit per employee the more taxes a company pays.
This is contrary to all logic that says that we should reward the most productive.
NO!!! we should rewards those who creates more jobs.
Today there is a race to replace humans, problematic by nature, with machines.
We have to reverse this trend.
If we don’t reverse it, we will have more poverty and will be unable to sustain any growth population.
No, definitely not sustain.
You can’t ignore the practical realities of getting to 100 billion people in a society that operates on fossil fuels.
Have you heard about global warming? We are fucked with just the 7 billion people we have now.
This is a chart showing the available oil from our already developed reserves vs the amount of warming we will get from just burning that.
2 degrees Celsius doesn’t seem like much, but is basically the armageddon number where if we exceed it our planet will start declining in population.
Our greatest hope, as morbid as it may be, is that once we get there a large enough amount of people die quick enough that it makes getting to 4 degrees of warming less likely which is arguably the amount that makes the planet uninhabitable for all humans and causes irreversible runaway effects.
Look how the world dealt with a few hundred thousand refugees fleeing Syria.
2 degrees celsius of climate change will mean the hot months in places that now average 90 to 100 degrees fahrenheit and tend to be in more depressed countries could see average temperatures in the 120s, to speak nothing of the droughts and extreme weather cycles that will devastate everything in the region.
What do you think will happen when a billion people are forced to flee India and Africa at the same time agriculture has to adapt worldwide to a less hospitable climate?
Despite knowing this to no uncertain degree and having great agreement among the world’s governments that it's something that will be way more catastrophic on both an economic and humanitarian level to let it happen then to stop it, there is no realistic plan being implemented to prevent it.
We are still developing new reserves of oil and coal which could never be burned under any plan.
The efforts planned now rely on developing new technology like fusion and massive carbon sequestration that will allow the world wide net carbon output to go negative by 2050 and are utterly unrealistic, we might as well just say we will terraform mars to escape the dead planet within the next 100 years.
100 billion people ain’t happening on this planet.
The real question you should be asking is can this planet sustain the current human population of 7 billion because all evidence points to no.
No, I don’t believe it can sustain anywhere near that number of humans.
The population of Earth reached 7.
5 billion in April, 2017.
Analysts estimate Earth’s 2050 population to be between 8.
5 and 11 billion.
Why such a wide margin in the projection? I believe it is because no one knows for sure how certain population numbers can be sustained, considering the growing pressures on the environment, global food supplies, and energy resources.
Consider the graph below.
The solid line illustrates the actual world population from 1800 (only 1 billion people) up to this point in time.
The dotted lines show low, medium, and high estimates for population going forward.
I tend to believe future population will be on the high side of this estimation.
Imagine a 100% increase by the end of this century—15 billion + human beings.
So, what will happen? We see it happening now.
There will be a greater and greater divide between the rich and poor, because of dwindling resources.
There will be great suffering.
Fresh water will be the most valuable commodity on the planet, probably within a century.
Consider this accurate graphic also.
Earth’s fresh water supply is tiny and finite.
I firmly believe our planet cannot healthily sustain population increase as shown by the experts’ projections.
Conservation, carbon impact, and birth control must become major, central priorities in this world.
Perhaps as we near the brink, humanity will face this reality.
The sun sends 174 petawatts on Earth.
With a good infrastructures, you can capture up to 40% of this energy.
Put solar panels on the oceans, on each roof, on each road and you will be ok.
That is 1.
67e+16 kWh each day.
Look at the equations for the Carnot heat engine.
If we take 6000 K for the temperature of the sun and 300 K for ambient conditions on earth, the maximal theoretical efficiency of a solar panel is 95%.
So 40% of efficiency is science-fiction but is not impossible (we currently are at 22%).
An human need 2200 calories each day for food.
That is 2,56 kWh/day.
Imagine we have a food production process with an efficiency of 50% (GMO bacteria or purely chemical food production).
We can transform 20% of the energy of the sun in food.
So we can feed 3.
48e+14 humans on Earth (348 trillions).
I am not using nuclear fusion or oil.
Only sunlight (a durable source of energy).
With “only” 100 billion, we have an excess of emery of 167 000 kwh per citizen per day.
That is far more than the energy consumption of a modern american (including the energy used for the production of all his stuff).
For surface of living, let’s assume the entire Earth is 100 floor (we have 300–400 floors building, but we have also parks, for recreational use, and roads, and malls, and movie theaters).
The surface of the planet is 510.
1 trillion m².
With an average of 100 floor on the whole planet, each citizen has a an average surface of 510 000 m² for living (including shared infrastructures).
Whats interesting to think about is the time, how long it will take humans to theoretically even reach 100 billion as a population number?
Assuming that everything stays the same and global population growth numbers remain increasing at the same rate as they are now.
Population growth is an upwards spiral, the more people there are, the faster it increases.
In the year 1900 the global population was 1.
100 years later, in 2000, it was 6 billion.
Alot of this huge increase has to do with oil, technology and major advances in medicine.
Now in 2016 we are at 7.
4 billion people.
And we are at a pretty steady 1.
13% per year increase.
According to a new United nations DESA report in 2015, “World Population Prospects”, global populations will reach:
Of course certain advances in technology and medicine can rapidly increase the population rates.
And certain pandemics or natural disasters can rapidly decrease the population rates.
But we wont include these things.
So by these rates and these pretty accurate estimates, we should reach the 100 billion number sometime in the early 2900s?
We can only imagine, only imagine what the conditions of the earth may be at that time.
What the technological state of our race will be.
What possible genetic alterations or noticeable finite evolutionary changes might have even occurred in that amount of time.
Maybe the earth will not be our only home, perhaps we will have terraformed Mars, Europa, or even Gliese 581 g.
Time is the most miraculous wonder.
Yes, but only if people live and sustain themselves in a fashion COMPLETELY different from the way they do now.
I dare say, it would be utterly impossible without transitioning to a hyper-efficient technocracy which would be almost entirely self-contained, and not reliant on more than the bare minimum of elemental resources harvested from the planet.
The amount of wilderness outside of the technates would have to be maximized as much as possible in order to sustain the atmospheric composition and water cycles, and provide enough biodiversity that those essential services provided by the planet would never be under threat.
Technates would have to have an abundance of clean power from geothermal, solar, and wind sources, and use it to grow all of their food internally, with all waste products recycled.
This is all completely possible, but requires humans to give up ideas that they have an irrational attachment to – including capitalism, politics, and free reproductive rights.
Those things would be destructive and impossible in a world with 100 billion people.
They’re massively destructive right now.
They’re a privilege of our current population – and if we cannot reign in our numbers soon, we’ll lose them.
Or die off.
This is Tokyo:
Tokyo and its surrounding metropolitan areas house 37.
8 million people – the largest (by population) city and metro area in the world.
Imagine squeezing more than TEN TIMES that number into the same area.
A mere 400 million or so people.
In a world of 100 billion, we’ll have to do just that.
And it absolutely cannot look like the photo above if we do.
All the buildings must be skyscrapers – all areas that receive natural light must grow food, and any spare area that doesn’t must be fitted with lights, and grow food.
We cannot allow 40 billion people to live in poverty, in such a world – they will successfully rebel and destroy it.
To preserve the sanity of the people living in such crowded conditions, it absolutely must be efficient, clever, almost entirely automated, and as beautiful as possible.
The possibilities for all of this are nearly endless, but every one of them will produce a world as alien to most people alive today as a space station.
To answer a question like that, you have to ask, what could reasonably be the constraints that provide a limit? Area is not one of them.
There is plenty of area.
When writing my ebook “Biofuels” I checked the availability of land that could realistically be assumed to be able to grow food.
We use about half that area now.
Worse, with our current strategies, we are depleting fish stocks very quickly.
The oceans to offer additional area, but at a cost.
Worse, global warming will remove quite a serious fraction of our most productive soil, and in many countries, soil degradation is a problem.
Everybody seems to think that enhanced food productivity will continue to be developed, however this does not necessarily happen.
Also, to feed even about thirty billion people there will be no wild life left on land.
An exception would be mountains, where wildlife could remain.
Energy may or may not be a problem.
Developing fusion power might cover most uses, but you still will need liquid fuels for agriculture.
The energy density of batteries is insufficient.
That can come from marine sources, so maybe that is not a problem.
The next problem is resources.
The Royal Society of Chemistry published an account of element depletion from tolerably rich sources, and basically, about 14 elements are going to be in short supply in the next few decades even with current consumption.
Recycling might fix that, but the problem then is one of separating out all the different elements.
Recycling sounds good until you are forced to say exactly how you will do it, and what you will need in terms of energy and chemicals.
For food production, in a few decades we shall run out of the richer phosphate deposits.
We won’t run out of phosphorus, but we won’t have the concentrated forms to use for agriculture, which means productivity per unit area will drop markedly.
Another problem is water, for your agriculture.
If you try desalination, where do you get the energy?
To summarise, in my opinion the answer is probably no, and definitely no if you want a planet worth living on.
The single biggest problem is food
Vast amounts of land which could be made habitable, especially in my native Australia, are currently empty.
Taking the British average population density of 650 people per square mile, and extrapolating to the entire land surface area of the Earth, is just under 200 billion people.
Britain doesn’t feel particularly crowded – I lived there for over a decade.
Granted Britain imports a lot of food, but that is economics rather than inability – as the British wartime experience demonstrated, food production can be ramped up in times of need.
Resource extraction would have to be extended to undersea and probably outer space, but undersea mining and asteroid mining are already on the drawing board.
Space based solar power could provide steady, reliable energy with no additional pollution.
None of the problems seem insurmountable, its just a matter of economics.
Similarly there would likely need to be a substantial extension of fish farming, more efficient use of ocean resources.
But no significant new technologies would be required.
Yes of course it can.
The ONLY thing limiting us from having infinite people living on earth is the amount of energy we have access to and physical space.
First of all we have plenty of space.
We can build mike high buildings now, today, and we could build massive underground complexes, again with today's technology.
All the humans of the world could fit in New Zealand with well designed cities.
We get enough energy from the sun to feed trillions of people if we could harness every drop.
But since that's not feasible we would have to suplement solar with Nuclear.
Using Nuclear is safe with modern reactors and research is being done on reactors that litterally cannot physically explode unless majorly damaged from external forces.
You might ask, what about food and water?
Well water is infinitely reyclebable and we have plenty of it on earth.
The only thing needed to recycle it is energy.
Food can be grown in efficient hydroponic farms that use recycled water and lightbulb a to grow food instead of the sun.
If the human race spent every waking moment building a civilization, not only could we support a 100 billion population, we could do it with today's technology.
It's not unreasonable to think in the future we would be able to support even more.
Of course the final obstical is infinite wants.
To make this happen people would have to make meat a rare treat (or give it up entirely), maybe give up “the open road” and owning a large backyard.
But imagine what we could create with 100 billion minds!
The maximum attainable population on Earth is irrelevant.
Clearly, growing the population will require improvements in efficiency in many areas, as others pointed out.
And not just in the developed countries but across the globe.
But why do we exactly want to go in this direction? What would we gain by adding another 93 billion people? Is it going to improve the chances of our survival in case of catastrophic events? Probably not.
Is larger population required for sustaining progress? Probably not.
Then why aim for this?
We already know that the present population is barely sustainable in terms of available resources.
Whatever technology we develop to improve our efficiency, it will not be applied to reduce our environmental footprint but rather to increase the sustainable population based on the constant level of consumption.
Therefore, humans will continue to exploit the natural resources to the maximum from now on, no matter what the population is.
But then, what if we reach a resource bottleneck at some point? It could be caused by climate change, super volcano eruption, asteroid impact, or other factors that we do not easily control.
If this happens, tens of billions of people will die from starvation and wars.
In the process, they will destroy whatever is left of Earth’s natural resources trying to survive.
The world that will emerge at the end of this struggle will be a very different, inhospitable place to live.
So please, stop this talk about growing the population to 100 billion.
We need to focus on stabilizing our current population, while at the same time reducing our environmental footprint.
Without going overboard on length; algae, entomophagy (edible insects), biochar, graphene, and thorium.
Algae & Insects for food.
Those two alone could supply pretty much the nutritional content needed daily.
Also, many many people/cultures worldwide already consume algae & insects regularly, so this isn’t far fetched.
Both grow incredibly quickly, very efficiently off of resources, and are very nutritionally packed… …and, can be made to be quite delicious!
Algae can also be used as an energy source.
not limited-to, but including longer-chain hydrocarbons.
…also can make plastics and such from it!
Where corn & soy may produce 500 gallons of ethanol and diesel per acre per year, algae can produce >10,000 gallons a year, and much more efficiently and with a much lower environmental impact!
and, a nice one covering both sides of algae:
Tl;dr: biochar is a char made from biomass.
It is both carbon negative, as well a soil builder and carbon sink.
It increases ag yields while decreasing the quantity of resources (water, fertilizer, pesticides, etc) needed to grow said crops, while also decreasing the time it takes to grow said crops in higher concentration and larger in size.
A carbon negative energy source.
Where biochar provides carbon negative energy, it takes a lot of land.
So do 100 billion people.
Luckily there’s more water than land, and from the perspective of food-via-algae, we can utilize those large areas for food production.
leaving other, less-dense crop-types for biochar.
Again, both provide energy.
but, neither even come close from an perspective as nuclear.
…and thorium is just a ‘nudge’ under uranium.
But, unlike uranium, it’s way more widely available and doesn’t require processing or refinement first.
It’s also incredibly clean, and certain reactor types are even able to burn up already-existing nuclear waste.
Thorium reserves, as a feed stock, would provide 100 billion people a western level of energy consumption for tens of thousands of years, no question.
We basically have an ‘infinite supply’ of thorium on Earth for human use.
Though algae, biochar, and ‘others’ could easily meet our energy needs, and thorium definitely can, graphene just as easily could, as well, it gives us something to do with all the carbon from the biomass ala biochar!
It also can be used for transmission, storage, generation, computation, etc.
…or quite simply, a super strong building material.
and, technically, all of those and above at the same time!
That it filters water to ‘perfect purity’ pretty much takes out any fresh water issues or limitations.
Land, air, soil, water, energy, food, shelter, distraction, etc.
Earth could definitely support 100 billion people.
assuming we change our approach.
The question is: why? Why would we push it that far?
Someone at some college somewhere did the math on this.
They speculated that if all 108 billion people who ever lived would fit comfortably within in 1-acre of land per person.
That would involve reclaiming and restoring all deserts, reclaiming and restoring Antarctica, forcing huge landowners world wide to voluntarily relinquish unused real estate to accommodate these people, and only 1 family (of say 5) would need 1-acre of land.
This does not include tall rugged mountain ranges and deep oceans (or seas).
Industrial/commercial land may or may not be relinquished too.
However, that would mean a sea-change to socioeconomic establishment (i.
no need for capitalist industry or mercantile due to a hypothetical new world-wide total agrarian society that depended on world-wide barter system).
This is only a hypothetical exercise.
Otherwise it would have to involve some sort of post-mass-extinction event with some sort of here-to-fore unknown benevolent super-sentient metaphysical world-wide singular governance and societal shepherding.
I’m just sayin… :-)
Although it would be tricky with current technology.
For an environment to support a population (including humans) the environment needs to have several things in sufficient quantities;
-food and water
As covered above, space is not an issue.
Your social situation depends on the density of your population, not the absolute number, so although you might express a lot of stress and suicide like many of our modern cities, I don’t see that as a limiting factor.
The other three are harder, and tied together.
You could easily grow enough food and purify enough water if you had the energy for it.
This could be accomplished through solar paneling your world-spanning mega-cities, or more hypothetically, through fusion.
Sanitation would be a troubling engineering problem, but manageable especially if you have the energy.
For more in depth information a physics professor named Issac Arthur has a fantastic video on the subject, as well as on mega-structures, the fermi paradox, and scientifically probable space travel, which I highly recommend.
well, it depends on context.
do you mean in a purely technical respect? then sure, absolutely.
the problem though is that in a seething mass of 100 billion people there will be no civilisation, it will just be a sea of people fighting everyone else for whatever scraps of sustainance they can get, and cannabilism will be rife (or it ought to be because other foodstuffs will be in very short supply).
or do you mean in a decent quality of modern life respect? in that case, not a chance in hell.
take a look at world starvation stats, and thats only for a population of 7 billion.
though life in general is at a higher quality than at any other point in history, the fact still remains that the vast majority of humans live in poverty.
000? No, I can’t imagine any way that even half that many people could live on our earth.
Even now our Mother Earth is severely taxed.
All these responses with the hearty and resounding “Yes!”; maybe according to some dry, hypothetical calculus, but in actual fact, for heaven’s sake “No!”
In your mathematics, maybe you all can visualize some future-utopia in which the planet has been converted into a gleaming, hyper-efficient model, in which 100.
000 people happily buzz about.
But that plays into the delusion that there is a grand, peaceable paradise just around the next corner, if we just tweak this and that, and modify, manipulate, innovate just a little bit more, to turn this blessed green Earth into a human-centered experiment, and that more technology will eventually bring about that imminent utopia.
The only parts of this planet that knew peace, is where man realizes he and she are part of the intricate and sacred web of life, not some little, self-important child-king who will dominate, and wreak a heaven out of this blessed planet, by manipulating it to conform to his desires, visions, ambitions and machinations.
Sorry about the ‘unibomber’ screed, but Lord, no, there is no healing down that road.
Returning to a humble and sacred relationship again with the Giver of Life is the only answer, not pressing on heedless towards some human over-run technical dreamland.
No, it cannot even sustain 7.
5 billion people.
The only reason there are 7.
5 billion people on the planet today is massive inputs of fossil fuel in food production – fertilizing, mechanization, processing, and transport, plus ravenous consumption of other non-renewable resources such as minerals.
It cannot possibly last.
Concrete for building cities, asphalt for paving roads, cars and trucks, planes and container ships and lights and heating – everything we associate with civilization depends almost 100% on fossil fuels.
We basically running on batteries.
We are alive today thanks to the constant depletion of solar energy stored over millions of years underground and the release of its waste products into the atmosphere.
The last time the human race ran 100% on renewables (wind, water, biomass a.
fodder for animals, firewood, dung, etc.
) the Earth’s population was under a billion.
With today’s technology, we would be able to sustain more people, provided of course the steel and copper and other raw materials for the windmills and solar panels were provided without the use of diesel and coal.
Good luck with that.
Yes, but mankind cannot survive under the austere conditions it would require unless we develop the quantum technology to create food, water, and other material things directly from Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
Even as it is right now with 7 billion and change we are in resource depletion mode.
If we optimize recycling and current technology production and go to an urban agriculture system of adding vertical farms to every building, and got to hydrogen and hydrogen based ammonia as our primary consumer energy and water supply somwe can optimize all our energy sources using cleaner methods through fuel cells, we can probably go up to 20 billion before running into collateral problems with the rest of the planet's inhabitants.
Thing is, it doesn't matter.
Before the human race can hit that number, a significant portion will have moved off planet, or we will be extinct.
If we adopt a new, more efficient socio-economic-industrial system, we can make it.
If not we go extinct.
Here’s a model that can work:
Asimov once calculated that there’s enough insolation (sunlight falling on the planet) that, if we all lived underground, and the entire surface was devoted to growing food for us (no animals, we’d have killed and eaten them all), we could sustain a population of between 12 and 15 billion people.
And that’s not counting food distribution problems.
(People aren’t starving because there’s not enough food, it’s because there’s no way to get it to them for various reasons.
No most of these answers do not factor in the psychology effect of overpopulation.
Calhoun and the behavioral sink
In the early 1960s, the (NIMH) acquired property in a rural area outside .
The facility that was built on this property housed several research projects, including those headed by Calhoun.
It was here that his most famous experiment, the mouse universe, was created.
In July 1968 four pairs of mice were introduced into the habitat.
The habitat was a 9-foot (2.
7 m) square metal pen with 4.
4 m) sides.
Each side had four groups of four vertical, wire mesh "tunnels.
" The "tunnels" gave access to nesting boxes, food hoppers, and water dispensers.
There was no shortage of food or water or nesting material.
There were no predators.
The only adversity was the limit on space.
Initially the population grew rapidly, doubling every 55 days.
The population reached 620 by day 315, after which the population growth dropped markedly, doubling only every 145 days.
The last surviving birth was on day 600, bringing the total population to a mere 2200 mice, even though the experiment setup allowed for as many as 3840 mice in terms of nesting space.
This period between day 315 and day 600 saw a in and in normal social behavior.
Among the aberrations in behavior were the following: expulsion of young before weaning was complete, wounding of young, increase in homosexual behavior, inability of dominant males to maintain the defense of their territory and females, aggressive behavior of females, passivity of non-dominant males with increased attacks on each other which were not defended against.
After day 600, the social breakdown continued and the population declined toward extinction.
During this period females ceased to reproduce.
Their male counterparts withdrew completely, never engaging in courtship or fighting.
They ate, drank, slept, and groomed themselves – all solitary pursuits.
Sleek, healthy coats and an absence of scars characterized these males.
They were dubbed "the beautiful ones.
" Breeding never resumed and behavior patterns were permanently changed.
The conclusions drawn from this experiment were that when all available space is taken and all social roles filled, competition and the stresses experienced by the individuals will result in a total breakdown in complex social behaviors, ultimately resulting in the demise of the population.
Calhoun saw the fate of the population of mice as a metaphor for the potential fate of man.
He characterized the social breakdown as a "second death,” with reference to the “second death” mentioned in the of .
His study has been cited by writers such as Bill Perkins as a warning of the dangers of the living in an "increasingly crowded and impersonal world.
Yes, why not? We would be obliged to, if ever we grew to such an enormous number of people.
We would need a little time to adapt and to prepare, but fortunately, human populations already naturally grow gradually and somewhat predictably.
And contrary to the thinking of too many educated idiots, it would be highly desirable because people do not want to be told how how many children they can have, and because so many more billions of people would benefit from and experience life.
Also, because every human life is of immense value and sacred, that is all the more reason why we should multiply naturally without any birth control to hinder.
I sincerely hope that we will never need to find out.
It is imaginable to feed far more people if we switch to synthetic food that is produced from yeast or algae.
As long as we have energy, it’s possible to do a lot of things.
Possibly also to feed 100M people.
However, this conservative person believes that our agriculture technology is bad enough as it is and that we should make a step back towards more sustainable lifestyle.
A system that would be able to feed this number of people would require constant steering by humans.
One small error and pufff!!!
Going for sustainability also includes lowering the population, not boosting it to 14 times the current number.
Frankly no it can’t.
It has been said that for the earth and humans to live in a sustainable ever lasting harmonic existence we shouldn’t have a population of more than 900 million.
Which has gone up in recent years, presumably as technology is becoming more and more advanced it is now said the optimum amount of people is 1.
So we are massively over populated and there is a plan to deal with that!!
The next 5 years are going to be very interesting i believe.
But, there are environmental concerns.
Not with how much waste that many people would produce, I believe the trash and sewage could be dealt with via infrastructure.
Not with the living space (other answers have proofs for plenty of living space).
Not with the amount of drinking water or amount of food produced.
The biggest problem we have with resources would be air quality and global warming – and the solution to that would start with the reduction in consuming beef.
The majority of rainforest destruction has come from the beef industry.
If we could fix that, we would be on a path to sustainability.