According to this article in the New York Times, the future does not bode well for our planet. By 2050, the global economy is expected to be about four times its current size, and fossil fuels will be supplying around 85% of energy at that time. Not only does that mean increased air pollution (and the health effects caused by that, such as millions of deaths per year due to air pollution), but an increase in global average temperatures of 3-6C, well above the 2C limit internationally agreed upon. With increasing population will also come increasing demand for water, something that is already in scarce supply in much of the world. As climate patterns change due to global warming, we can expect those water supplies to be further strained as historical norms make way for the new (look at Texas’ drought as one example).
So, what can we do? Let’s face it, not much. In the US, we have a major political party that’s still in denial, so we could start there perhaps. Realistically though, Bill Gates got it right in this TED talk where he says that what we need is a ZERO CO2 energy economy. We’re so far away from that, that if we don’t take action and get serious about this soon, it’s going to be a really rough transition to adapt to a dramatically warmer Earth. It’s a good talk, watch it: