Archive for the ‘1993’ Category

Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, 1993

September 26, 2009

banner1993Paul R. Ehrlich is Bing Professor of Population Studies and professor of biology at Stanford University and a fellow of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. Starting in the mid 1960s, Ehrlich has been a very productive author of professional papers and popular articles on different aspects on humankind’s environmental predicament.

Ehrlich has been tireless in presenting both to the scientific world and to the general public and politicians his well-founded concern for our common future. He has worked through popular presentations, scientific papers, and hundreds of lectures. He has focused on questions of environmental degradation, natural resource limitations, population growth, and development processes, especially highlighting the interface between scientific enquiry and societal values. He has taken the environmental cause into the wider public sphere through frequent appearances on television and radio. He is also an active leader in a number of non-governmental organizations and citizen groups.

The Bomb
His well-known book “The Population Bomb” from 1968  has sold more than 3 million copies and been translated into several languages.  The concept of the book was that the excessive population growth is inseparably connected with natural resource depletion and environmental degradation. These are three interlinked problems that can only be confronted together. In 1968, this was a very radical idea.
In the book he predicted that “In the 1970s and 1980s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

The Popular Explosion: This sequel to Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 landmark best-seller The Population Bomb examines the critical choices we face today and proposes an agenda for the 1990s to avoid global ecocide. The Population Explosion vividly describes how the Earth’s population, growing by 95 million people a year, is rapidly depleting the planet’s resources, resulting in famine, global warming, acid rain, and other major problems.

The Dominant Animal: In 2008 Paul and Anne Ehrlich publiched “The Dominant Animal” that explores why we are creating a world that threatens our own species and what we can we do to change the current trajectory toward more climate change, increased famine, and epidemic disease.  
http://www.dominantanimal.org/

Ehrlich has been frequently criticized for venturing into professional fields other than that of his background training, and his research findings have been hotly contested by his professional peers on numerous occasions. But his conclusions have been confirmed through experience until they have become part of mainstream scientific thinking. For instance, The Population Bomb was roundly criticized at the U.N. population conference in Bucharest in 1974, but its  message was broadly accepted at the next population conference in Mexico City 10 years later.

Paul Ehrich Blogg:
http://blog.islandpress.org/author/paulehrlich

Professor John P. Holdren, 1993

September 26, 2009

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Scince leading the world

Professor John Holdren is considered one of the world’s leading energy scientists, environmental scientists and ecologists, which is reflected in a number of books and a long list of other publications. He has been a leader in the science of nuclear fusion. He has been a pioneering scholar in understanding the interaction of biology and ecology with environmental pollution.

Professor Holdren is since December 2008, Assistant to President Barack Obama for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Holdren was previously the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and director of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program at the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

What has made John Holdren’s opinions so valuable is his scientific background. His interventions into policy questions such as nuclear power, population and environment, energy efficiency, risk assessment and weapons proliferation are each supported by excellent research papers.

His concerns for the impacts of pollution and other problems associated with energy use on human health led him to develop an important methodology for risk assessment and to write a series of important articles on risk assessment. The work is characterized by its fairness to all energy sources comparing nuclear power, fossil fuel use, and even renewables in an even-handed manner that often produce significant, if not always popular, scientific surprises. This work also spawned several students who have become very successful in their own right in broadening the approach.

Convincing the skeptics,
The New York Times, August 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/04/opinion/04iht-edholdren.1.14991915.html?_r=1

Qutations:
In 1969, writing with Paul Erlich, Holdren claimed that, “if the population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come”.  In 1973 Holdren encouraged a decline in fertility to well below replacement in the United States, because “210 million now is too many and 280 million in 2040 is likely to be much too many“. Currently, the U.S. population is 306,829,000.

Holdren has written and lectured extensively on the topic of climate change . In 1969 he advocated with Paul R Erlich substantial spending for expansion of nuclear power on the grounds that nuclear plants generate electricity without greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2006, Holdren reportedly suggested that global sea levels could rise by 13 feet by the end of this century. (The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007) suggests a potential seal level rise over the same interval on the order 13 inches).

Erlich and Holdren, 1993

September 26, 2009

Understanding the threats to human survival

The Prize Jury’s Citation:
The Prize of 1993 is awarded to an evolutionary biologist, Professor Paul R. Ehrlich, and an anergy resources scienstist, Professor John P. Holdren, for their outstanding and pioneering contributions to our understanding of the threats to human development and survival, particularly those arising from the rapid growth of populations in developing countries and of the high level of per capita resource consumption in industrialized countries.

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Sixty years ago, the world population was slightly above 2 billion people. When Holdren and erlich recieved the Volvo Environment Prize it was approximately 5.5 billion. As of 26 September 2009, the Earth’s population is estimated to be 6.8 billion. The majority of the present population and by far the majority new children being born live or will be born in developing countries with low per capita consumption. In the industrialized world we are a little more than 1 billion people with a very high per capita consumption, and it has been increasing over a long period of time. The total resource consumption of the few in the industrialised world is much higher than that of the many in the rest of the world. The effects of this are no longer either small or local. The industrial world makes its enormous natural resource demands with its unacceptable environmental effects. The developing countries its population problems and poverty leads to degradation of the environment.

Two individuals who have greatly contributed to the scientific work and the broad understanding behind this are our two laureates, Paul Ehrlich, biologist, and John Holdren, nuclear physicist. Their work has laid the foundations of our understanding of how the dynamics of population growth, rising living standards and changing technology, as well as the relationships among them, interact in the context of environmental problems.

Professor Paul Ehrlich

Professor John Holdren