Robert Maxwell wrote:
Short-term (as in, the next few decades), population is a problem, not just because of the number of people, but because of the demands those people will place on the environment. I'll be blunt: there is no way 9 billion people can live as large as Americans do.
I don't think future Americans are going to live like current Americans do. America's carbon foot print will probably shrink because it has to and also because we as a society are becoming tired of consumption. It's the reason why the recovery hasn't really happened.
It's just not possible, and technology is not going to solve that in a brief enough timeframe (<50 years) for it to matter.
It took 100 years between Malthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population which was based on fertilizer use and the Haber process.
Remember that's without computers, internet, cell phones etc..
We can make a radical change in 25 years. Look at what cellphones and the internet has done.
This notion that technology will keep plodding forward at an accelerating rate assumes facts not in evidence:
You are forgetting one thing. More people means more scientist and more engineers. That alone will ensure continuing progress. The number of scientist literally tippled in size when the BRIC countries modernized and there is still room for growth.
One thing that is limiting you is the idea of a Western dominate scientific community. That's about to end in the next 25 years. Hopefully replaced by a more global community. That's why I really don't care about the US's scientific standing. If the country decides to stay dumb than other countries will make up the slack.