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The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping…
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The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Laurence C. Smith

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200585,083 (3.73)5
Member:gregvogl
Title:The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future
Authors:Laurence C. Smith
Info:Plume (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:environment

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The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future by Laurence C. Smith (2011)

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This book explores the things that humanity has waiting for it in the next few decades.

The number of mega-cities (those with a population of over 10 million) will only rise, as the world's population will pass 9 billion. Some of those cities will be clean and efficient, like Singapore. It is much more likely that they will be over-crowded, polluted and crime-filled, like Lagos, Nigeria. The question is not will sea levels or the Earth's overall temperature rise, but, by how much will they rise.

As the world gets older and grayer, and as America's baby boomers start to retire, younger workers will be needed to keep the economy moving. Where will these workers come from? Water problems, and water shortages, in normally dry places like sub-Saharan Africa and the American Southwest, will only get worse.

The author spends much of the book looking at the New North, the countries that border the Arctic Circle, including America, Canada, Russia and Scandinavia. There is the potential for a lot of oil or natural gas under the ice. In Alaska and Canada, local indigenous groups have gained joint, or total, control, over the natural resources that lie under their feet. The extending of the temperate climate zone to the north makes agriculture more and more possible on formerly barren land (like growing potatoes in Greenland). The thawing of the permafrost makes building more difficult in remote northern towns. Digging foundations, or putting in pylons on which to build a building is impossible when rock-solid ice is only a foot or two below ground level. It also shortens the "trucking season," where those remote northern towns can be re-supplied by trucks, which is a lot cheaper than doing it by boat or helicopter (think of the TV show "Ice Road Truckers").

This is a fascinating book. For some people, the information here may not exactly be new, but the author does an excellent job. It is compelling, and very much worth reading. ( )
  plappen | Aug 19, 2017 |
A lot of things I'd never heard of ( ' ice roads ' ) Never heard the term ' dumpage ' before. ( )
  Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
What kind of world will we be living in by 2050? Will we be able to keep up with a growing world population and seemingly diminishing resources?

Laurence C. Smith is a geographer and a professor at UCLA. What he goes into depth about is a lot more than just climate change. He goes into depth of how the Arctic is changing and how this change is fuelling a race for new resources - oil, natural gas, mining, shipping and open land.

I found it easy enough to follow. The conclusions that Laurence C. Smith are quite unnerving. He isn't biased, swaying to one side or another, he gives the pros and cons of everything he has witnessed and believes is set to happen.

Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs) are going to become the world's new manufacturing powers and India's cities are going to be some of the largest by 2025.

The NORCs, Denmark, Canada, USA, Russia, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Norway, are going to benefit greatly by the opening of the Arctic. He went on to describe how the United Nations Arctic Treaty has started to cement peaceful control over the area. The NORC countries in the future are set to become migrant magnets and economic powers.

By 2050 if the human population and economic prosperity trajections continues then water could eventually be seen as "blue oil" as demand slowly outweighs supply. It is possible that by 2050 the northern countries could be finding ways to supply southern countries with water as they soon find out they do not have enough. The wildlife will see a great increase in the rate of extinction not seen for millions of years whereas society will have to choose dirtier power sources to keep up with the demand.

I think he might be wrong in some of his predictions of the future. He doesn't take into account new technology, the possibility of nuclear or major, multi-country, conventional war like WWII and no hidden gems - decade long global depressions, unstoppable killer disease pandemics or meteorite impacts. ( )
1 vote Chicalicious | Jun 3, 2015 |
A lot of things I'd never heard of ( ' ice roads ' ) Never heard the term ' dumpage ' before. ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
Smith, a UCLA geographer, has written an informative work on the present and near future prospects of countries above the 45th Parallel. Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Greenland (Denmark), US (Alaska). The Northern Rim Countries or NORCs. He addresses demographics, natural resources, geography, geopolitics, indigenous rights, globalization, and climate change. It is a resource rich area especially when it comes to water.

The futuristic speculation stays in the pragmatic, plausible, extrapolative range and stays away from the razzle-dazzle type of prognosticating. Indigenous rights may end up with some areas developing their resources in a way that their larger countries are at odds with. Smith has spent time in these areas and not just studied them from afar. Many Polar works are about history and various expeditions that have explored the region. This is a focus on current events in the Arctic region and possible scenarios that might arise there during the next four decades. It's written in a non-academic style that manages to cover a huge amount of information in a very readable manner. ( )
1 vote VisibleGhost | Dec 9, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525951814, Hardcover)

A vivid forecast of our planet in the year 2050 by a rising star in geoscience, distilling cutting-edge research into four global forces: demographic trends, natural resource demand, climate change, and globalization.

The world's population is exploding, wild species are vanishing, our environment is degrading, and the costs of resources from oil to water are going nowhere but up. So what kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Geoscientist and Guggenheim fellow Laurence Smith draws on the latest global modeling research to construct a sweeping thought experiment on what our world will be like in 2050. The result is both good news and bad: Eight nations of the Arctic Rim (including the United States) will become increasingly prosperous, powerful, and politically stable, while those closer to the equator will face water shortages, aging populations, and crowded megacities sapped by the rising costs of energy and coastal flooding.

The World in 2050 combines the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data-everything from climate dynamics and resource stocks to age distributions and economic growth projections. But Smith offers more than a compendium of statistics and studies- he spent fifteen months traveling the Arctic Rim, collecting stories and insights that resonate throughout the book. It is an approach much like Jared Diamond took in Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse, a work of geoscientific investigation rich in the appreciation of human diversity.

Packed with stunning photographs, original maps, and informative tables, this is the most authoritative, balanced, and compelling account available of the world of challenges and opportunities that we will leave for our children.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

What kind of world are we leaving for our children and grandchildren? Geoscientist Laurence Smith draws on the latest global modeling research to construct a sweeping thought experiment on what our world will be like in 2050. The result is both good news and bad: Eight nations of the Arctic Rim (including the United States) will become increasingly prosperous, powerful, and politically stable, while those closer to the equator will face water shortages, aging populations, and crowded megacities sapped by the rising costs of energy and coastal flooding. Smith combines the lessons of geography and history with state-of-the-art model projections and analytical data--everything from climate dynamics and resource stocks to age distributions and economic growth projections. But Smith offers more than a compendium of statistics and studies--he spent fifteen months traveling the Arctic Rim, collecting stories and insights that resonate throughout the book.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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