So what does this mean? Can the world support 10 billion? Or will shortages of food and water or threats like climate change put a catastrophic brake on population growth? If there have been two constants over the last several hundred years, they have been a population explosion and unprecedented increases in living standards. A panel at the New York Times discusses what the future holds for a more populous planet and how we can continue to increase living standards in a more populous world. Joel Cohen points out that increased access to contraception and women's empowerment could slow population growth and that even if the UN report is correct, food shortages are unlikely to occur. According to Cohen, the world already produces plenty of food for 10 billion people, but distributes it unevenly. James Cascio, on the other hand, notes that while subsistence is possible, we will need new technology to allow 10 billion to aspire to the meat and energy intensive lifestyle of the West. Warren Sanderson and David Bloom underscore Cohen's call for efforts to control population, while Jason Clay worries that food production and distribution must be made far more efficient.