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A Tide of Humanity
Of today’s 6 billion people, many millions enjoy an unprecedented standard of living. But one-third of humanity has no access to electricity, and still another third has only limited access. Huge populations exist in dismal poverty. Over 1 billion people are without safe water, and 2.4 billion lack adequate sanitation.
In the next 50 years – as world population expands to 9,000,000,000 – today’s vast unmet human needs could multiply severely. Economic development is imperative not only to alleviate human misery but also to create conditions necessary to stabilize global population. Today, in much of the developing world, a surging drive to meet these needs is generating an enormous rise in the use of energy.
If history is a river, humanity has reached white water. More than half the people who ever lived are alive today. In the next fifty years, the global population will use more energy than the total consumed in all previous history. Humanity faces a future of radical change – either in the way we produce energy or in the health of our planet.
World population increases at a rate slightly faster than 2 persons per second.
By 2050, global energy consumption will double.
(excerpted from World Nuclear Association's autoessay "Energy for Sustainable Development")