Four billion more people than the 7.2 billion now alive could be fed an adequate diet if current crop production devoted to nonfood uses, such as animal feed and biofuels, were switched to direct consumption. This is one the fascinating calculations made in a new article published in Science by a team of researchers led by Paul West, a researcher at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment. West and his colleagues are looking for "leverage points" in global agriculture that would reduce humanity's impact on the natural world while at the same time providing more than enough food for the 9 billion or so people who will be alive in 2050.
West and his colleagues acknowledge that more work is needed to figure out how to get best practices that they identified widely adopted. But, as Reason science correspondent Ronald Bailey writes, the prophets of overpopulation doom and imminent global famine will likely once again be disappointed.