Demographic Trends and Resources Issues
1) World population growth
200 years ago, Thomas Malthus warned that populations tend to grow faster than the food
supply. Therefore, population growth will limit itself****
Experts who warn against world overpopulations are sometimes called Malthusian. But
Malthusians have been criticized by scholars who believe that technological innovations
are allowing for more food and other resources to be extracted.
2) Population policies
Many states adopt measures to control their population growth (e.g. China). Other states
adopt policies to encourage births (e.g. Canada).
People emigrate from states with security threats and/or limited employment opportunities
and immigrate to states with greater opportunities.
Both legal and illegal immigration often produces tensions in the country of destination.
International refugees and internally displaced persons are critical human security issues.
4) Infectious diseases
The states of the South lag behind those of the North in terms of their capacities to deal
with infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS SARS and Ebola.
Over 60 percent of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.
More than 20% of the populations of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland have HIV.
South Africa has the largest population living with HIV (over 6 million)
In contrast, over 73000 Canadians (0.3% of the population) are living with HIV.
1) Global Warming
Caused by the burning of fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas). Greenhouse gases like
carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane gas and chloroﬂuorocarbons (CFCs) concentrate in
the atmosphere and trap heat on Earth.
The resulting rise in global temperatures are causing polar ice caps to melt, thereby raising
ocean levels. Many coastal cities and low-lying areas may become ﬂooded and disappear
It is difﬁcult to solve a collective goods problem such as climate change, as there are long-
term beneﬁts, but heavy short-term economic and political costs. Furthermore, the beneﬁts
are shared globally, but each state must bear the costs individually.
The Kyoto Protocol (1997) failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Northern
states to 1990 levels by 2012. The protocol gave preferential treatment to Southern states.
There are 192 states party to the Kyoto Protocol. Canada withdrew in 2012, when
Canadian emissions were 17% higher than 1990 levels.
A feature of the Kyoto protocol is International emission trading. With the Doha
Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (2012-20), 37 states agreed to binding emissions
targets. Due to few ratiﬁcations, the Doha Amendment is not yet in effect.
The Paris Agreement (2016), signed by 193 states, will deal with greenhouse gas
emissions starting in 2020. The objective is to hold global warming below 2°c.
Governments will set their own nationally determined contributions which will not be legally