Shouldn’t we focus our attention on reducing population growth instead of building more energy capacity?
Interestingly, there is a direct correlation between the amount of energy consumed and birthrates: birthrates are declining in developed, high energy consuming countries. Birthrates remain the highest in energy scarce sub-Saharan Africa. The two biggest factors in reducing population, it turns out, are rising living standards (which are tied closely to energy use) and urbanization – two trends that are rapidly underway throughout the world.
It’s predicted that world population will top out at around 9 billion by mid century and then gradually decline thereafter. So a less populous future awaits our descendents in the 22nd century, but we need to make it through the current population bulge without destroying the climate in order for that less populous future to come about. Getting there requires us to provide more energy to more people, not less.