Throughout the End of Plenty I used population estimates from the United Nations Population Divison’s World Population Prospects, 2010 Revision, which was published in 2011, and had a medium scenario global population of 9.3 billion people in 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100. That number was revised upward in 2013 (the 2012 Revision) to 9.6 billion by 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100. That important change means that unless major family planning efforts are made and made soon, population will continue to grow this century, and not decline as mentioned as a possibility on page 147. It also changes the potential reduction in the number of people we’ll need to feed with strong family planning efforts from 3 billion to 3.6 billion by 2050 on page 312. The newest estimate (the 2014 revision) will published on July 29, 2015. It will be very interesting to see if the projections continue to rise for 2050 and 2100–meaning fertility rates have not declined as expected–and how many people we may have to feed by then.
For some reason the date on the epigraph was truncated by one digit, even though it was correct in my proof. It should read: “–Norman Borlaug, 1970″
The last line of the first paragraph should read: “No one knows how and expanded krill catch will affect Antarctic wildlife.” Not Arctic wildlife.
The quote in the epigraph is by Sir Albert Howard, not Howe.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations revised its estimates of the number of malnourished people in the world in 2015 from 842 million to 795 million. The good news was helped by two years of record crop harvests, driven by agricultural land expansion and favorable growing conditions, as well as economic growth in parts of the world recovering from the recession. The progress, however, was uneven. Most of the reduction in numbers occurred in East Asia and Latin America. Less progress was made in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. But these estimates are controversial. The FAO has also changed how it counts the hungry in 2009–a revision that made the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry in the world much easier to achieve. They also shifted the goalpost a bit when they decided to count the percentage of hungry in the world instead of the actual numbers of hungry, and when they moved the start date back to 1990 to capture the broad success achieved by China in the 1990s–even though that had nothing to do with MVP efforts. The FAO also sets a fairly low caloric bar for hunger-0kay for sedentary lifestyles, perhaps, but most of the hungry rural poor spend much of their day doing heavy physical labor. Nor does the FAO count the nearly 2 billion people who suffer from nutrient deficiencies.