Earth could be ’unrecognizable’ by 2050, says researchers at US science conference

If the current trend of a growing population competing for scarcer resources continues, "we will not have a planet left that is recognizable by 2050," Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund said at a US conference on Sunday, reports the AFP.

The United Nations has predicted that the global population will hit nine billion by 2050. To feed that estimated population, "we will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000," Clay said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The growing population and expected increase in income can contribute to the depletion of resources, according to experts. "People tend to (consume) more meat than they might have when they made less money," the AFP reports. "More people, more money, more consumption, but the same planet," Clay told the AFP.

Population experts called for support for family planning programs to help control the population growth especially in developing countries, reports the AFP. "For 20 years, there’s been very little investment in family planning, but there’s a return of interest now, partly because of the environmental factors like global warming and food prices," John Bongaarts of the Population Council said.

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