Deforestation. Desertification. Species extinction. Global warming. Growing threats to food and water. The driving issues of our times are the result of one huge problem: Us.
Just over two hundred years ago, there were one billion humans on Earth. There are now over seven billion of us. And, sometime this century, the world population will reach at least ten billion. As the population continues to grow, our problems will increase. And this means that every which way we look at it, a planet of 10 billion people is set to look more and more like a nightmare.
Stephen Emmott, a scientist whose lab is at the forefront of research into complex natural systems, sounds the alarm. 10 Billion is a snapshot of our planet, and our species, approaching a crisis, and a stark analysis of where this leaves us. 10 Billion is not another climate book. 10 Billion is a book about us.
Stephen Emmott leads Microsoft's Computational Science Laboratory in Cambridge, which develops new thinking to tackle fundamental problems in science in areas of societal importance. He is also Professor of Computational Science at the University of Oxford and has, among many other advisory roles, been scientific advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. His lecture on population and climate change, 10 Billion, was one of the Guardian's best theatre events of 2012.