A world population nearing 10 billion people by the middle of this century is “unsustainable,” U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry declared Wednesday, before setting out his future plans for planet earth.
Since November, the global population has officially crossed eight billion, more than three times the figure in 1950.
U.N. projections say the figure will balloon to 9.7 billion in the middle of the century, AFP reports, and Kerry told the outlet of his fears for the future. He said:
I don’t think it’s sustainable personally. We need to figure out how we’re going to deal with the issue of sustainability and the numbers of people we’re trying to take care of on the planet.
Feeding people in a sustainable way is the key, Kerry continued, using Africa as an example of unsustainable population growth and the pressure it puts on food supply chains.
Previous supporters of driving behavioural change to stem population growth have pushed eating less while embracing alternatives as a possible answer.
By 2050, we’ll have 10 billion mouths to feed – on a finite planet.
— World Economic Forum (@wef) May 30, 2022
“I’ve been to a number of African countries where they’re very proud of their increased birth rate but the fact is, it’s unsustainable for life today, let alone when you add the future numbers,” Kerry said.
“I’m not recommending the population go down,” the 79-year-old added. “I think we have the life we have on the planet. And we have to respect life and we could do it in so many better ways than we’re doing now.”
The former secretary of state under Barack Obama, who lost the 2004 presidential election to George W. Bush, previously reassured critics his concern for food and how it is produced does “not necessarily” mean people have to stop eating red meat due to emissions produced from intensive from agriculture.
During a 2021 interview Kerry responded, “not necessarily,” when asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, “Isn’t the brutal truth, Mr Kerry, that Americans have just got to eat less meat” due to agricultural emissions?
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 30, 2022
“There is a lot of research being done now that will change both the way meat is produced, cattle are herded and fed. Research is being done that actually reduces the amount of methane,” Kerry continued to answer, as Breitbart News reported.
Kerry then admitted, “We don’t know some of the answers.” He went on to explain:
But I guarantee you that the United States of America is not only setting a goal but is moving rapidly on track to reduce all of our emissions, become carbon free in the power sector by 2035 and to do what other countries are doing also, Europe and elsewhere, to move as rapidly as possible to net zero.
One European country already racing to change the eating habits of its population is Norway.
According to a report published by Norway’s environment agency Friday, the country could reduce an equivalent of 4.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions between 2024-2030 if its population of 5.5 million followed nutrition guidance by health authorities.
That guidance would see the biggest meat eaters reduce their intake to under 500 grams of red meat per week.