Tuesday, August 25, 2009

John Beddington predicts a systemic collapse at 2030, but it's coming much sooner than that

BBC: There is a risk that climate change will have drastic effects on food production - for example by killing off the coral reefs (which about 1bn people depend on as a source of protein) or by either weakening or strengthening monsoon rains.

Also, some scientists are predicting that the Arctic will be ice-free by 2030, he points out, which could accelerate global warming by reducing the amount of the sun's energy that is reflected back out of the atmosphere.

SHOOT: Boddington is right, but his timing is out. This isn't a threat 20 years away. We are reaching energy [electricity, fuel and food] limits right now. This is why we're seeing prices continue to rise in food and fuel even though people are losing their jobs and demand is falling through the floor. The process of contraction and collapse [from finance to food supply] is underway now. The poor get wiped out, then the borderline informal workers, then the middle class.
clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
As the world's population grows, competition for food, water and energy will increase. Food prices will rise, more people will go hungry, and migrants will flee the worst-affected regions.

That's the simple idea at the heart of the warning from John Beddington, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, of a possible crisis in 2030.

Specifically, he points to research indicating that by 2030 "a whole series of events come together":

  • The world's population will rise from 6bn to 8bn (33%)
  • Demand for food will increase by 50%
  • Demand for water will increase by 30%
  • Demand for energy will increase by 50%
  • He foresees each problem combining to create a "perfect storm" in which the whole is bigger, and more serious, than the sum of its parts.

    "Can we cope with the demands in the future on water? Can we provide enough energy? Can we do it, all that, while mitigating and adapting to climate change? And can we do all that in 21 years' time?" he asked the SDUK 09 conference in London, in March.

     blog it

    No comments: