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Journal Article

The Population Explosion: Can It Shake the Climate?

Stephen H. Schneider
Ambio
Vol. 3, No. 3/4, Population (1974), pp. 150-155
Published by: Springer on behalf of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4312070
Page Count: 6
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The Population Explosion: Can It Shake the Climate?
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Abstract

A doubling of world population by 2015 could have consequences for the global climate. Expected increases in atmospheric pollutants, thermal pollution and modifications to the earth's surface are human activities that have potential to influence climate inadvertently. In addition, purposeful climate modification schemes (such as creating artificial lakes or melting the Arctic Sea ice) may be proposed with increasing seriousness as world food shortages (induced by projected population growth and/or climatic fluctuation) become commonplace. Already there is droughtinduced hunger and starvation in parts of central Africa, and the prospect for a more widespread food crisis in the 1970s is ominous. Unfortunately, knowledge of climate theory is still too primitive to trace reliably climatic cause and effect links, and therefore it is argued that large-scale climate modification schemes appear irresponsible. In any case, international authorities must eventually be established to deal with potential world conflicts arising from future problems of food production and climate change-whether purposeful or inadvertent.

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