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Special Report

7 Billion People and Counting

Can the planet handle more than seven billion humans?

How Many People Can Earth Hold? Well...

The Rockefeller University's Joel Cohen noted at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that the question of Earth's human-carrying capacity depends on how we're being carried. Steve Mirsky reports

February 21, 2011

Will birth control solve climate change?

An additional 150 people join the ranks of humanity every minute, a pace that could lead our numbers to reach nine billion by 2050. Changing that peak population number alone could save at least 1.4 billion metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere each year by 2050, according to a new analysis—the equivalent of cutting more than 10 percent of fossil fuel burning per year.

October 11, 2010 — David Biello

Human Population Grows Up

As we swell toward nine billion in the next half a century, humanity will undergo historic changes in the balance between young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural. Our choices now and in the years ahead will determine how well we cope with our coming of age

September 1, 2005 — Joel E. Cohen