Even if the world's population grows to 10 billion, protecting the environment doesn't mean a 'return to the dark ages'. - Copyright Unsplash
Scientists at the University of Leeds estimated how much energy would be required to provide basic human needs like food, water, mobility, shelter and hygiene, to the world’s population. They also factored in more modern necessities like high-quality healthcare, education and access to technology including phones, computers and the internet.
The study found that decent standards of living could be provided to a growing global population for less than 40 per cent of the energy used around the world today. This means that clean energy could easily suffice for the expected 10 billion people living on our planet by 2050.
It is overconsumption by the world’s wealthiest people that needs to be reduced, the study concluded, allowing for global and national inequalities to be flattened. Fighting the idea that “more is better”, energy consumption would need to be cut by nearly 95 per cent in countries with the highest consumption per person.
The study’s authors stress that to create this vision, radical changes to all aspects of our lives would need to be made - but this did not mean a “return to the dark ages”.
Everyone would still have an adequately sized house, access to clean hot and cold water, a washing machine, fridge-freezer, laptop and smartphone.