How many people can Earth support?

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Written by Lester R. Brown

One of the questions I am most often asked on a speaking tour is, "How many people can the earth support?"  I answer with another question: "At what level of food consumption?"  At the U.S. level of 800 kilograms per person per year for food and feed, the 2-billion-ton annual world harvest of grain would support 2.5 billion people.  At the Italian level of consumption of close to 400 kilograms per year, the current harvest would support 5 billion people.  At the nearly 200 kilograms of grain consumed by the average Indian, it would support a population of 10 billion.

Lester R. Brown, Plan B 2.0, p.177.

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