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Whether Earth’s population booms or busts, the future still looks promising

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For centuries, assorted obsessive doomsters — from Thomas Malthus to Al Gore to the Club of Rome — have issued dire warnings that the world is careening into an overpopulated nightmare. U.S. biologist Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb in 1968, the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth publication warned in 1972 of a population crisis within a century, and Al Gore in 2014 called for “voluntary measures to lower birth rates around the globe.”

Two vital new books from Canadian writers on the alleged population crisis suggest we can all relax.

The latest, released this month, is Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline, by pollster Darrell Bricker and newspaper columnist John Ibbitson. They argue that global fertility rates are declining in all regions and that the world’s population could peak around nine billion in 2040. By the end of the 21st century, the number of people in the world could be no larger than today’s 7.5 billion. Conclusion: There’s nothing to worry about.

The second book, released last fall, is Population Bombed! Exploding the Link Between Overpopulation and Climate Change, by Toronto academics Pierre Desrochers and Joanna Szurmak. They argue that a growing world population over the past centuries has generated great prosperity that has dramatically elevated the quality of human life on earth. More people has resulted in more productivity, more innovation and........

© Financial Post