Ten Billion

Stephen Emmott. Vintage, $12.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-345-80647-5
This muscular but anxious broadside by Emmott, a Cambridge scientist, predicts a bleak future of critical shortages, droughts, starvation, and natural disasters once the Earth's population reaches the book's eponymous number. Whether it's water or food, population trends mean that present levels of consumption can't continue. The author is forceful, if frantic, in supplying the numbers. Forty percent of the planet is already devoted to agriculture, with governments and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia quickly gobbling up the remaining land. As the global population grows in number and wealth, the demand for food and resource-depleting consumer goods will rise. With a few hair-raising facts, Emmott deftly demonstrates that production is itself consumption: One liter of bottled water requires four liters to produce; a hamburger takes 800 gallons. Whereas technology helped forestall crises in the past, it now uses up the very resources it's designed to preserve. Water desalination, for instance, requires energy intensive and releases many pollutants. Nuclear power would offer short-term hope but remains unpopular. The author sees only "radical behavior change" as a viable solution but does not say how this would work. Emmott's facts are enough to shake steely optimists, though the book's Malthusian pathos could be a bit cloying even for like-minded pessimists. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/2013
Release date: 09/10/2013
Show other formats
FORMATS
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-345-80646-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-80955-0
Paperback - 198 pages - 978-0-14-197632-7
Hardcover - 218 pages - 978-0-14-318904-6
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.