On the Future

Prospects for Humanity

280 pages

English language

Published July 21, 2021 by Princeton University Press.

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Scientists, says Martin Rees, are rotten forecasters, almost as bad as economists. But there are some things that we can predict. By mid-century, the United Nations’ 2019 Revision of World Population Prospects predicts, there will be 9.7 billion people on Earth. Although, with improved, low-till agriculture, water conservation, lifestyle changes and perhaps improved GM crops, it will be possible to sustainably feed 9.7 billion, our collective footprint to our planet will be heavier. Moreover, if humanity’s collective impact on nature push too hard against what Johan Rockstrom calls ‘planetary boundaries’ the “resultant ‘ecological shock could irreversible impoverish our biosphere.”

Our world becomes warmer. As the famous Keeling curve shows, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is rising, mainly due to the burning of fossil fuel. Our world becomes warmer. This is not controversial and we can safely predict that regional disruptions to weather patterns within the next two decades …