London: The world`s population could reach the 15 billion mark by the end of this century, the United Nations has warned.
The new figure, which is likely to shock many experts as it is far higher than many current estimates, is contained in a landmark study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that will be released this week.
Roger Martin, chairman of Population Matters, which campaigns on population control, was shocked after learning the figures, and said that the ‘Earth was entering a dangerous new phase’.
“Our planet is approaching a perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil," he said. "The planet is not actually sustaining seven billion people,” the Guardian quoted Martin, as saying.
Some experts reacted with scepticism that the population would really hit the upper end of the predicted spectrum of growth and reach 15 billion so quickly.
Professor Jack Goldstone of George Mason University, author of The Population Bomb, said that he thought world leaders would act to ensure the Earth`s population would start to plateau below that higher level.
“The means and the desire to reduce the number of children people have is spreading around the world,” he said, adding that he thought a level of 10-12 billion would be more likely by 2100.
Meanwhile, many policy experts believe that governments and NGOs have the tools to limit and control the world`s population.
According to experts, the key effort is simply making sure that effective family planning spreads throughout the developing world.