Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 18, 2014

Contact: Stephanie Feldstein, (734) 395-0770

New Projection: World Population Could Reach 12 Billion by 2100

Accelerated Population Growth Would Drive Mass Wildlife Extinction

WASHINGTON— A paper published in the journal Science today projects the world population will continue growing this century and could reach 12 billion by 2100. Researchers from several universities, as well as the United Nations Population Division, say that rather than leveling off — as predicted 10 years ago — the population will continue to grow beyond the end of this century.

“The unsustainable growth of the human population is a key driver of many of the world’s environmental problems, including global warming and the loss of wildlife around the globe,” said Stephanie Feldstein, director of the population and sustainability program at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Add in our voracious appetites for land, water, meat and energy and these newest predictions make it clear it’s time for a global conversation about population growth and consumption.”

The world population has doubled since 1970 and today tops 7 billion. Every day we add 227,000 people to the planet. The toll on wildlife is impossible to miss: Species are disappearing at 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate.

The paper in Science today projects there’s an 80 percent chance that the number of people in 2100 will be between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion.

“We’re in the midst of a staggering growth in the sheer number of people on the planet,” Feldstein said. “We can’t continue on this same path and still hope to have a planet that’s ultimately livable for people and wildlife.”

The Center launched its population program in 2009, highlighting the issue with the distribution of more than 500,000 free Endangered Species Condoms and pushing for solutions including the education and empowerment of women and universal access to reproductive health services.

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