How Many People Can Earth Support in Comfort?

Hosted by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building,


Professor Partha Dasgupta

Professor Partha Dasgupta


Professor Sam Fankhauser

Contemporary economics is mostly unconcerned with distortions to individual incentives that lead to population and consumption overshoots. Currently the overshoot would appear to be in consumption in the rich world and fertility in the poor world.

In this lecture Professor Dasgupta will trace those distortions to an absence of adequate property rights to the biosphere and to the fact that human preferences are socially embedded. Those distortions also encourage technological advancements to be rapacious in the use of Nature’s resources, thus exacerbating the problems. Using global assessments of the biosphere’s capacity to provide humanity with the demands we make of it, he will provide crude estimates of the size of the global population that Earth can support in comfort under foreseeable technologies and institutions.

Partha Dasgupta, was born in Dhaka (at that time in India) and educated in Varanasi (Matriculation 1958 from Rajghat Besant School), Delhi (B.Sc. Hons, in Physics, 1962, University of Delhi), and Cambridge (B.A. Hons. in Mathematics, 1965, and Ph.D. in Economics, 1968). He is Frank Ramsey Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, and Professorial Research Fellow at the Sustainable Consumption Institute, University of Manchester. He taught at the London School of Economics during 1971-1984 and moved to the University of Cambridge in 1985 as Professor of Economics, where he served as Chairman of the Faculty of Economics in 1997-2001.

Sam Fankhauser is Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Deputy Director of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment(@GRI_LSE ) was established by the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008 to create a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment, bringing together international expertise on economics, finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEDasgupta

Podcast & Video

A podcast and video of this event are available to download from How Many People Can Earth Support in Comfort?

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

Twitter and Facebook

You can get immediate notification on the availability of an event podcast by following LSE public lectures and events on Twitter, which will also inform you about the posting of transcripts and videos, the announcement of new events and other important event updates. Event updates and other information about what's happening at LSE can be found on the LSE's Facebook page.


This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email
From time to time there are changes to event details so we strongly recommend that if you plan to attend this event you check back on this listing on the day of the event.


LSE Events LSEpublicevents

THURSDAY: Join the LSE Choir and Orchestra for this festive concert in the beautiful surroundings of St Clement Dan……

1 hour ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

LSE Events LSEpublicevents

As the year is nearing its end, we look back to 2018, sharing the most popular event livestreams and podcasts for e……

2 hours ago

Reply Retweet Favorite

  Sign up for news about events