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International Energy Agency Says Energy “Party Over”

June 9th, 2014 | Add a Comment

IEA Says the Party’s Over

Posted Jun 5, 2014 by Richard Heinberg

See: http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/2262281-iea-says-the-party-s-over

The International Energy Agency has just released a new special report called “World Energy Investment Outlook (PDF)” that should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits-if they are willing to read between the lines and view the report in the context of current financial and geopolitical trends. This is how the press agency UPI begins its summary:

It will require $48 trillion in investments through 2035 to meet the world’s growing energy needs, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday from Paris. IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a statement the reliability and sustainability of future energy supplies depends on a high level of investment. “But this won’t materialize unless there are credible policy frameworks in place as well as stable access to long-term sources of finance,” she said. “Neither of these conditions should be taken for granted.”

Here’s a bit of context missing from the IEA report: the oil industry is actually cutting backon upstream investment. Why? Global oil prices-which, at the current $90 to $110 per barrel range, are at historically high levels-are nevertheless too low to justify tackling ever-more challenging geology. The industry needs an oil price of at least $120 per barrel to fund exploration in the Arctic and in some ultra-deepwater plays. And let us not forget: current interest rates are ultra-low (thanks to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing), so marshalling investment capital should be about as easy now as it is ever likely to get. If QE ends and if interest rates rise, the ability of industry and governments to dramatically increase investment in future energy production capacity will wane.

Tall City’s Altered Population Sign Catches Midlanders’ Eyes

June 9th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Tall City’s Altered Population Sign Catches Midlanders’ Eyes

See: http://www.newswest9.com/story/25686943/tall-citys-altered-population-sign-catches-midlanders-eyes

MIDLAND – It’s only three words, but those three words spoke volumes about the current attitude in Midland regarding the growing population.

The Midland City Limit population sign on Cottonflat Rd., was altered to give a different message. It now reads, “Population: Too Damn Many.”

“I’m from Dallas and I think it’s ridiculous,” Robert Steep told NewsWest 9.

We asked other people who live in Midland, how they felt.

“There’s quite a few people here in Midland, now,” One man, who’s been here since 1981, said.

The city said everyone’s aware of the incredible growth.

“It’s no secret that we’re growing and we’re growing at high rates. People who have been here, for 5, 10 years or even longer can see a real change,” Sara Higgins, Public Information Officer with the City of Midland, said.

That change Higgins spoke of, is what’s frustrated some who live here.

“It really makes it hard to drive around town,” One resident said.

The estimated population for the City of Midland is somewhere in the area of 120,000 people. While some may think that’s too many, the city said they’re prepared for even more.

Rural household food security status and its determinants: The case of Laelaymychew Woreda, Central Zone of Tigray, Ethiopia

June 9th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Rural household food security status and its determinants: The case of Laelaymychew Woreda, Central Zone of Tigray, Ethiopia 

See: CLICK HERE FOR PDF

ABSTRACT:

An assessment and analysis on food security status and its determinant, the experience of the farmers; food insecurity coping mechanisms and the major farm operation problems were the major focusing objectives of this study, which was conducted in Laelaymychew Woreda Central Zone of Tigrai. The required data was collected from three kebeles of 125 randomly selected rural households. The data collected were presented, organized and discussed using descriptive statistics and econometric model analyses. According to the survey result the study shows that 31.2% and 68.8% of sample households were found to be food secure and food insecure, respectively. In addition, the model results revealed total cultivated land holding size, total livestock holding, total annual income per AE and use of chemical fertilizer were found positively related and statistically significant to food security status in the study area. Similarly, family size of the households was also found negatively related and statistically significant to food security status of the rural households. Collecting data in a given interval and working with the farmers at the grass root level will ensure the accuracy of household food security prevalence and proper attention has to be given to limit the rapidly growing population. In addition, increasing production and improving productivity is possible through integrated water shed management and extending small scale irrigation.

Why shrinking populations may be no bad thing

June 3rd, 2014 | 1 Comment

Why shrinking populations may be no bad thing

See: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21603024-why-shrinking-populations-may-be-no-bad-thing-quality-time

FATHER, mother and two children: surely the perfect family size. For those concerned, it is neither too big nor too small. For the national economy, it ensures that two new workers will replace the parents in the labour force. And eventually the children will have children of their own and keep the population stable.

For that happy state to be achieved, the “total fertility rate” (a measure used by demographers for the number of children a woman is likely to have during her childbearing years) needs to be above two: around 2.1 in the rich world and more in poorer countries, because some children, particularly in the developing world, die before adulthood. For many years the United Nations’ population forecasts-the gold standard in the demography business-have assumed that, in the long run, fertility the world over would converge on the replacement level and populations would stabilise. But fertility rates everywhere have been declining for decades. Even in Africa, where large families are still the norm, the number of children per woman in 2010-15 is forecast to fall to 4.7, compared with 5.7 in 1990-95. Global average fertility is already down to about 2.5.

In a growing number of countries the fertility rate has now fallen below replacement level (see map). In China it is around 1.5 (though official figures put it slightly higher) because of the one-child policy in force since the 1970s, which has also messed up the balance between boys and girls. For Europe as a whole it is 1.6, and well below that in several southern and eastern countries. In Japan fertility has been declining for decades, to 1.4 now, and the population is already shrinking. South Korea, at 1.3, has the lowest rate of any big country. Numbers are also slipping below replacement level in less wealthy South-East Asia. Quite soon half the world’s people will live in countries where the population is no longer reproducing itself.

See: http://www.economist.com/news/international/21603024-why-shrinking-populations-may-be-no-bad-thing-quality-time

OPINION: Want fewer abortions? Then fund contraception

June 3rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

OPINION: Want fewer abortions? Then fund contraception

See: http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2014/05/23/opinion-want-fewer-abortions-then-fund-contraception-a-508988.html#.U4xrKPldW8x

May 23–Want to know what a failure of public policy looks like?
In 2006, the State of Michigan spent $5 million to fund family planning and contraception. In 2013, it was $692,300, according to a report from the Detroit News this week. And while the state cut funding for women’s health by a devastating 99%, the abortion rate in Michigan’s poorest city soared to three times the state rate.
If you are opposed to abortion rights, asking lawmakers to restore this funding should be your top priority. Because there is no surer way to reduce the number of abortions performed in this city, state or country than to lower the number of unwanted, unplanned pregnancies.
And it’s time for anti-abortion-rights groups that oppose contraception, and funding for same, to admit that they’re part of the problem.
But here in these United States, we’re living in some kind of alternaverse in which groups that claim to be concerned with the sanctity of life urge governments to slash essential public health funding to our most vulnerable residents, blithely oblivious to the devastating impact on the lives they claim to cherish.

New Kenyan Population Policy a Model for Other Countries

June 3rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

New Kenyan Population Policy a Model for Other Countries

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2014/kenyan-population-policy.aspx

(March 2014) In 2012, the government of Kenya passed a landmark policy to manage its rapid population growth. The new population policy aims to reduce the number of children a woman has over her lifetime from 5 in 2009 to 3 by 2030.2 The policy also includes targets for child mortality, maternal mortality, life expectancy, and other reproductive health measures.

Participatory Process a Formula for Success

Between 1999 and 2009, Kenya’s population added 1 million people every year, growing to 41 million, and was expected to hit 77 million by 2030.1

Kenya’s long-term development plan, known as Vision 2030, recognizes that rapid population growth could severely derail progress in reaching its primary goal: To achieve a high quality of life for all Kenyans that is sustainable with available resources.3 The National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), under the Ministry of Planning, National Development, and Vision 2030, initiated a series of consultations to achieve a population policy that would bolster this vision. Although Kenya has made great strides in increasing contraceptive coverage, from 27 percent in 1989 to 46 percent in 2009, concerns over worsening unemployment, food shortages, and a large youth population threaten Kenya’s economic future.4

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2014/kenyan-population-policy.aspx

Getting Family Planning Back on Track

June 3rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Getting Family Planning Back on Track

See: http://www.ghspjournal.org/content/2/2/145.full.html

For policy makers and for practitioners, the reward and satisfaction of family planning is that it is an inextricable mixture of helping individuals achieve their reproductive goals while also maintaining an awareness of the multiple ways in which demography has determined our past and will inevitably shape our future. Voluntary family planning programs since the 1960s have helped 48% of the world’s population achieve replacement-level fertility or below.1 (Replacement-level fertility is the fertility rate at which each generation has only enough children to replace itself, and thus the population eventually stops growing. This is generally when the total fertility rate [TFR] is about 2.1 children per woman, although it can be at higher levels in countries with high mortality rates.2)

Without this reduction in family size, the number of people living on less than US$1.00 a day would not have been halved,3 improvements in education would have been slower (such as was shown in Thailand4), and there would not have been such a rapid decline in infant and maternal mortality. In many Asian countries, the rapid change in population structure from the introduction of voluntary family planning led to a “demographic dividend,” which helped lift millions of people out of poverty.5 The demographic dividend is the rapid economic growth that may result when a country transitions from high to low birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population-the smaller young dependent population with a larger working-age population translates into fewer people to support.6

NY Times Strikes Out with Foolish Pro-Natalist Editorial

June 3rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Boosting the Birthrate 

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/24/opinion/boosting-the-birthrate.html

Earlier this month, a Japanese government advisory panel proposed for the first time a numerical target that, it said, would address the problem of Japan’s declining population.

The goal is to ensure a population of 100 million 50 years from now, which would mean raising the current total fertility rate of 1.4 births per woman to over 2 during the next 20 years, a tall order. Until now the government has refrained from setting a specific target for fear of intruding into private decisions about having children. Given present trends, Japan’s population will decrease from 127 million today to 87 million in 2060, at which point about 40 percent of the population will be older than 65. The economic and social consequences of the shrinking and aging population are dire.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/24/opinion/boosting-the-birthrate.html

George Plumb: Poverty and Population

June 3rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

George Plumb: Poverty and Population

See: http://vtdigger.org/2014/05/21/george-plumb-poverty-population/

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s “unconditional war on poverty.” For most of that time, and indeed to this day, economists often say that the best way to improve our economy is to grow the population because that creates more consumers and therefore more demand for goods and services including construction of new homes, more shopping places, and larger places for recreation like ski resorts.

It turns out however that growing the population doesn’t decrease poverty. This is well documented in the recently added 16th indicator for the world-precedent-setting “What is an Optimal/Sustainable Population for Vermont?” (PDF) report which can be read at www.vspop.org. The indicator shows that even though Vermont’s population has increased by a huge 50 percent since the War on Poverty began in 1964, the poverty level hasn’t decreased at all but has remained approximately the same at 12 percent.

See: http://vtdigger.org/2014/05/21/george-plumb-poverty-population/

It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up…

May 28th, 2014 | Add a Comment

It’s simple. If we can’t change our economic system, our number’s up

It’s the great taboo of our age – and the inability to discuss the pursuit of perpetual growth will prove humanity’s undoing

See: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/27/if-we-cant-change-economic-system-our-number-is-up

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham.

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems. It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues miraculously vanished, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/27/if-we-cant-change-economic-system-our-number-is-up