Refugees in Antarctica? Olympics in cyberspace?

October 13, 2008

A view of the leading edge of the remaining part of the Larsen B ice shelf that extends into the northwest part of the Weddell Sea is seen in this handout photo taken on March 4, 2008. To the left is the front of the ice shelf with a height of about 30 meters above the sea. An outcrop of Cape Disappointment is seen in the background. On the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches out from Antarctica toward the South Atlantic Ocean, some of the huge ice shelves that line its coasts have now disintegrated and are floating in chunks in the ocean. A large part of the Larsen Ice Shelf broke up in 1995. Picture taken March 4, 2008. REUTERS/Mariano Caravaca/Handout (ANTARCTICA). NO COMMERCIAL SALES.. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS..Antarctica’s population is rising because of climate refugees.

The European Union agrees to let Morocco join in return for exclusive rights to solar power from its part of the Sahara desert.

The Olympics are held only in cyberspace because it costs too much for athletes to travel around the world.

These are some of the scenarios in a report on Monday by British-based think-tank and charity “Forum for the Future” with Hewlett Packard Labs, imaging how climate change might affect the planet by 2030.  climate.jpg  

You may well say: “Hang on, 2030 is only 22 years away; things won’t change that fast.” But imagine travelling back 22 years to 1986 — when Ronald Reagan was in the White House — and telling people about the end of the Cold War, 9/11, the Internet or even the 2008 global financial crunch. You’d have trouble convincing them all that was realistic.

Yes, some of the ideas in the report can be dismissed as outlandish scaremongering or wild optimism. You don’t have to believe them, but they drive home the idea that the world can change quickly and that people can go a long way towards controlling what happens.

Read more about the scenarios here

What do you think? 

One comment

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This kind of silliness is fun to read, but hardly a meaningful prediction of things to come. As the market demands better technology for energy and transportation, it will come to be. The seeds of progress are already there, and plenty of smart people are involved in the process. The world may look quite different in 20 years, but it’s terribly cynical to believe the sort of gloomy predicitions put forth by the Forum.

As for the warming of the planet – It may well prove to be a net positive, just a bit bumpy on the way up. Then again, for all we know it could get much colder again… watch those sunspots.

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