The Telegraph tells us that as we are about to witness the birth of the 7 billionth person on the planet, the UN is now saying that the population could double to 15 billion by the end of this century.

The reasons for this prediction are clear: people are living longer, more babies are surviving, and more children are being born in the developing world.

Up until now the UN believed that global population will grow to more than 10 billion by 2100. However if birth rates in developing countries continue to grow, this figure could reach 10.6 billion by 2050 and 15 billion by 2100. Africa is looking at the highest birth rates and could triple its current population of one billion.

“Much of this increase is expected to come from the high fertility countries, which comprise 39 in Africa, nine in Asia, six in Oceania and four in Latin America,” reported the UN Population Fund.

Asia will remain the most populous area in the world, with 4.2 billion people today, rising to 5.2 billion in 2052 before falling. However Africa is gaining ground passing from one billion today to 3.6 billion in 2100.

The populations of all other major areas including the Americas, Europe and Oceania amount to 1.7 billion in 2011 and are projected to rise to nearly 2 billion in 2060 before falling. Europe is projected to peak at around 2025 at 0.74 billion and decline thereafter.

70 per cent of the world’s population is slated to live in cities by 2050.

Needless to say, the implications of such a growth in world population for the demand for energy is enormous and would require much greater investments and ingenuity than is being contemplated today.