Depressing data on the future of climate change

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:

2 thoughts on “Depressing data on the future of climate change”

  1. “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.”

    Um, where I live I have to endure 6 months of sub freezing temperatures every year. And you think it will be a tough transition to warmth? I don’t think so pal.

    Bring the warmth on! And the sooner the better.

  2. The air temperature is not difficult to adapt to, but what concerns me are two things. First, rising sea levels and the population displacement that will result (do you want a lot of new neighbors?). Most importantly though is the impact on weather patterns and the effect that has not only on population, but food supply as well. For example, Texas is in a really bad drought, something that climate models are predicting as the planet warms. They can hang in there for a while, but the bottom line is that they don’t have enough water to sustain that population. They’ll either have to invest heavily in new water sources (desalination?), or those people will have to move. This is expected to repeat itself across much of the southern US. As for food supplies, we already live in a world that cannot provide enough food for all its people, but population is growing rapidly. Any long-lasting impacts on crop production is going to hurt. I’m not saying we can’t adapt…I think we can…I’m just saying there’s going to be a painful transition for an event that is, frankly, unnecessary.

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