Stephen Emmott: “Ten Billion” – a Review

[Update July 8th 2013

This article is featured on the first page of Google hits for “Stephen Emmott” + “Ten Billion”. If you’ve come here for information on the book published in Britain today, please go to

and explore the rich choice of material]

There’s a review of “Ten Billion” by Stephen Emmott, published by Vintage

(Paperback, 128 pages)  at

“A frightening read, and a necessary one. Basically, we’re all in serious trouble as the global population increases exponentially and resources and the environment are destroyed. Short and direct and pretty damn scary.”

The review is by Liz Sullivan, who sells real estate in Austin, Texas. She gives it four stars (out of five), two more than “A Farewell to Arms”, and one less than “To the Lighthouse”. (I’m with you there Liz).

The expected publication date is September 10th 2013. Liz read it in February 2013. What’s going on?

About Geoff Chambers

Retired illustrator (children's magazines, religious education textbooks, an Encyclopaedia of Christianity, gay contact and female fitness magazines, pornographic strip cartoons etc.) Retired lecturer in English and History of Art in a French University; ardent blogger on climate hysteria, banned five times from the Guardian and twice from the Conversation. Now blogging at
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6 Responses to Stephen Emmott: “Ten Billion” – a Review

  1. alexjc38 says:

    The name Liz Sullivan seems somehow familiar – could she have been one of Doctor Who’s companions? That would make sense, because it would mean that she’s already been to September and read the book, then popped back in time to February to write the review.

    Maybe we could ask her to persuade the Doctor to take the TARDIS forward to 2100, so that we can find out whether Prof. Emmott’s predictions come true!

  2. steveta_uk says:

    “as global population increases exponentially”

    Where do they get this ridiculous idea from?

  3. Steveta
    Thanks for the link. They get it from the UN unfortunately. The same projections which give Emmott his ten billion (and falling from then on, which he seems always to forget to add) give a population of 27 billion and rising exponentially, if current trends continue. All serious demographers believe current trends won’t continue, because they’ve reversed over three quarters of the globe, and are beginning to reverse over the remaining quarter (mainly southern Africa). The calculations involved are no more complicated than the kind of compound interest sums which anyone who takes out a mortgage or a loan is expected to understand, but which are never explained to the public. Except here of course
    I wondered if Liz was a kind of astroturfer paid to plug coming books, but her impressive reading list suggests not. I doubt whether Flaubert and Virginia Woolf are paying her to give them the five star treatment.
    I fear “Ten Billion, the Book of the Show” will be a bit of a disappointment. At 128 pages it’s not going to have much space to elaborate on what we already know, let alone provide references and a bibliography.
    I found another reference to the book in the London Evening Standard at
    where David Sexton listed the second thing he’d eaten that week as being:

    “A great chunk of cod, a luxury these days, perhaps not quite sustainable, at a Penguin Press dinner at the Groucho Club, while being told about nuclear Armageddon by Eric Schlosser, catastrophic overpopulation by Stephen Emmott, and finding peace in deepest Siberia by Sylvain Tesson”.

    I expect Penguin invited other people to eat cod and hear about the end of the world, but, alas for Penguin’s publicity department, none of them seem to have recorded the fact.

  4. alexjc38 says:

    Cod, not pollock? Tut.

    Ten Billion the book does seem to be a bit on the slender side. Maybe we should be sending some of our counter-arguments directly to Prof. Emmott or Penguin for inclusion!

  5. Pingback: Emmott: “Ten Billion” (24): 4,000 Sheep Bleat Leet Tweets | Geoffchambers's Blog

  6. Pingback: Emmott: Ten Billion (25): Sheep Tweet Leet Bleats | Geoffchambers's Blog

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