When midnight strikes on New Year’s Day of 2050, there will be little cause for celebration. There will, of course, be the usual toasts with fine wines in the climate-controlled compounds of the wealthy few. But for most of humanity, it’ll just be another day of adversity bordering on misery—a desperate struggle to find food, water, shelter, and safety.Life Circa 2050 Will Be Bad. Really Bad.
Less than three years out from the historic Paris Agreement, new scientific findings found that climate change was accelerating global temperature rise more rapidly than they had predicted in 2015. The warning of a potential 1.5-degree rise in temperature by 2100 now was expected by 2030.
The medium-term effects of climate change will only be amplified by the uneven way the planet is warming, with a far heavier impact in the Arctic. According to a Washington Post analysis, by 2018 the world already had “hot spots” that had recorded an average rise of 2.0°C above the preindustrial norm. As the sun strikes tropical latitudes, huge columns of warm air rise and then are pushed toward the poles by greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere, until they drop down to earth at higher latitudes, creating spots with faster-rising temperatures in the Middle East, Western Europe, and, above all, the Arctic.
Without a dramatic shift from our fossil-fueled economy, temperatures could rise 4.2-degrees by 2050,resulting in increased drought and wildfires, flooding, stronger hurricanes, and other extreme weather systems.
Referring to his book To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change, author Arthur McCoy suggests that by 2050 the world could be operating under a new world order.
Washington’s world system is likely to fade by 2030, thanks to a mix of domestic decline and international rivalry, Beijing’s hypernationalist hegemony will, at best, have just a couple of decades of dominance before it, too, suffers the calamitous consequences of unchecked global warming.By 2050, as the seas submerge some of its major cities and heat begins to ravage its agricultural heartland, China will have no choice but to abandon whatever sort of global system it might have constructed.
- key drivers of major climate change will be feedback loops at both ends of the temperature spectrum.
- as ice sheets continue to melt disastrously in Greenland and Antarctica, rising oceans will make extreme sea-level events, like once-in-a-century storm surges and flooding, annual occurrences in many areas.
- in a “worst-case scenario” the National Academies of Sciences projects a sea-level rise of as much as 20 inches
McKoy suggests a new world order dominated by a redesigned and empowered United Nations, which oversees the global community, mandating that climate goals are met and that countries have a humane response to the tide of climate refugees, expected to range between 200 million and 1.2 billion people by 2050.