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Politicians and their advisors must be made responsible for predictable catastrophes

In 2001 I made predictions about Australia's current predicament, at the end of a statistical appendix on population and energy for Australia and France (pdf 2.8M). Throughout my thesis I discussed these looming problems and their drivers. It seems appropriate to cite the short predictions from the appendix here, because Australian governments constantly pretend that no-one could see what was coming. The people who formed government from the 80s to now should be held formally responsible.

[Written in 2001]
"Australia's recent history is a strong indicator that population growth is likely to remain rapid or accelerate in the next half century. Between 1946 and 2001, Australia's population grew by 11,849,099 persons, or by 157.58%. From 1946 to 1974 it grew by 85.76%. From 1974 to 2001 it grew by 38.65%. Between the year of the French base projections, 1990 and 2001 Australia's population has grown by approximately 12.8% from 17,169,800 to 19,368,345 or an average of 1.6% per annum. Australia's growth, up to 1966 was affected by baby boom high fertility and high net migration. Although fertility declined rapidly after this, the high immigration continued. With increasing longevity this means that the population has continued to expand rapidly. We can assume that most of the Australian baby boomers will die between 2027 and 2051. If high immigration continues, however, the population will have continued to expand and will require more intense land-use, more infrastructure, and more technology to maintain its economy, even with similar per capita footprints. With exponentially expanding drylands salinity and other forms of desertification, plus massively degraded waterways, together with micro-climate changes brought about by local vegetation removal (without considering the possibility of macro-global climate changes) it is difficult to see how such a large population will survive without severe declines in quality of life, standard of living, health and longevity. As well as other bio-diversity die-off, the chances seem high for considerable human die-off due to the effect of desertification on the economy and environment. Petroleum based energy shortages are likely both to increase poverty and misery as cheap fuel becomes much less accessible to ordinary citizens. Pollution is likely to increase as coal and other lower grade fuels are substituted, since Australia has not invested in alternative energy sources. Poor design of built and transport infrastructure will add to the difficulty in reducing and satisfying energy demand for both personal and economic use."

On the other hand, under a different system:

"France's recent history is a strong indicator that population growth is unlikely to accelerate in the next half century. Between 1946 and 2001, France's population grew by 18,914,482 persons, or by 47.13 %. From 1946 to 1974 (28 years) it grew by 25.4%. From 1974 to 2001 (27 years) it grew by 17.32%. Between the year of the base population for these projections, 1990, and 2001 France's population has grown by 2,462,713 people or approximately 4.35%, or and average of 0.39% per annum from 56,577,000 in 1990 to 59,039,713. France's growth up to 1974 was affected by both the high fertility of the baby boom and high immigration. After 1974 the contribution of both these factors declined sharply. Increased longevity means that the population remains large, although its base is reducing. If we consider that the Baby Boom went from 1947 to about 1966, and assume longevity of between 80 and 85 years, then between 2027 and 2051 the baby boomer generation will die off. With no other changes this will leave the French population several millions smaller. Since France, like most Western European countries is under considerable environmental stress due to the intensity of land use required by its economy, a smaller population even with similar per capita footprints would lessen this stress and the long-term need for greater infrastructure and technology for the maintenance of the population and its economy. If, as seems likely, petroleum based fuels become rarer and more expensive, France is ahead of a lot of other countries, including Australia, in the spatial organisation, planning and technology for transport and other built infrastructure mediating economic and personal fuel needs. It currently has access to alternative fuel sources and technologies and potentially to others."

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