Former Obama-administration energy secretary and Nobel laureate, Steven Chu, says the global economy is dysfunctional because it depends on constant population growth.
"The world needs a new model of how to generate a rising standard of living that’s not dependent on a pyramid scheme," Chu said at the University of Chicago.
"Increased economic prosperity and all economic models supported by governments and global competitors are based on having more young people, workers, than older people," Chu said.
For example, healthy young workers pay the health care costs for aging workers and retirees, the former energy secretary said, a scheme that requires increasing numbers of young workers. And economic growth requires more and more people to buy more and more stuff, with dire environmental consequences.
...Chu, the man who solved the Gulf Oil spill with a doodle on a napkin, then offered two painless solutions to population growth:
"Education of women and wealth creation. Across all cultures. You go negative. You go negative birth.
"In many countries around the world, developed countries, Japan, Spain Italy, we’re talking about 1.3 (children per couple), 1.2 going below 1, where 2 is steady state."When it comes to anthropogenic global warming and climate change, Chu says we're blinding ourselves by thinking in terms of this century and where we'll be by 2100.
"Once it’s carbon dioxide, some of the models are saying that circulates with a half life of about 10,000 years. So don’t think 2100, think 12100. Let that sink in. We never talk about beyond 2100. So the longevity of this is going to be much longer than the next century or the next millennium," Chu said. "I want to point out that three quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions have occurred over the last 65 years, so it’s a recent phenomenon, since about 1950."
To put it bluntly, humans have done something since 1950 that is going to change the climate until 12100, and we're only beginning to feel that change.
"What we’ve already done won’t be really visible for 50-100 years. That’s actually easy to understand but no one explains it."