Shannymara wrote:If the economy tanks quickly and the minimal safety nets we currently have rip apart, people will rapidly get violent in some places, and hungry in even more places. Economic collapse caused population decline in Russia. Why are we immune?
How people react will be a key factor. Unfortunately I think that violent reactions will be more common than they need to be. The problem with a lot of the violence is that it is directed against the infrastructure that would be needed to smooth the decent to a lower level of energy use.
Against this is a number of years of having lived in poor countries as an adult, and observed how people manage with much much less than we are using here in the west. Because of this I have a firm conviction that in the West we could live on a much lower level of energy before having a major die off...the wild card is whether people will react violently to dropping living standards (and so make the problem even worse).
In the long term we will see populations drop...but I see this drop starting later than the model predicted
I suppose that in viewing the WEAP model, I would see that the correlation between energy use and population is a lagging model (I mean by that: energy change effects population change x years later). Because of the constant run up in energy availability and population growth over a number of years it looks as if there is an immediate (time wise) correlation. I do not have a good feel for just how long the time lag would be, but my 'gut feeling' (partly from looking at places like Zimbabwe which still has a growing population) is that the lag might be in the order of 5 - 10 years. Because of the time taken for a baby to reach reproductive rate the effect of the time lag could be even greater than the time I have just given. According to the model Russia's population should be rising now!
A long defense of my position but it really is a critic of just one smallish detail in the WEAP model - So far I think that the model gives a good indication of the overall shape of things to come. It seems to me to be a useful model.