Friday, June 5, 2015

Energy and the Environment in 2050

We all ought to take some time to consider what the world in which we live will look like in 2050 and beyond. I know I do, since my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids will hopefully be around then and well into the 22nd century.

The following is a brief collection of predictions about Energy and our Environment by 2050 that you might find interesting. These predictions were extracted from multiple reports and studies by groups around the world focused on the future of America and this planet.

So here goes! Expect the following predictions and/or future scenarios to become a reality over the next few decades:

  • The official end of the 'Oil Age' and use of fossil fuels on Earth will occur by 2050.
  • There will be widespread emergence and use of a range of renewable energy sources, e.g. wind, solar, hydro.
  • Renewable energy will probably provide up to 80% of U.S. needs by 2050.
  • Nuclear 'fusion' power will become commercially available.
  • Fuel cell technology will also be widely used to power homes, buildings, ships, cars, ...
  • Continent-wide smart 'supergrids' will be used to help manage the world's energy needs.
  • Both the high cost and scarcity of energy on Earth will be a thing of the past.
  • Average global temperatures will have risen by more than 4°F by 2050.
  • Continued climate change will make storms far more intense, e.g. hurricanes, tornados, cyclones.
  • Sea levels across the globe will rise by a little over 3 feet, flooding many coastal cities and areas in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Approximately 5 billion of the world's projected 10 billion people will live in water-stressed and food-scarce areas leading to the potential of mass migrations and regional conflicts.
  • Nearly half of the world's rain forests and jungles will vanish by 2050, but global efforts to halt de-forestation will finally take hold.
  • Deep ocean mining operations around the world will become widespread.
  • Unfortunately, much of the world's fish stocks in the ocean could become extinct by 2050.
  • Major extinctions of many other animals and plant life will have occurred.
  • Cost-effective conservation technologies and solutions will be widely deployed and in use
  • Use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) will be widespread on farms everywhere
  • Wildfires will have tripled in many regions of the globe by 2050
  • Hi-tech, self-driving 'non-polluting' electric cars will largely dominate the automobile industry by 2050 .
  • High-speed rail routes between major cities across the U.S. and around the world will largely be in place.
  • Many other technological breakthroughs will be developed just in time to solve many of the challenges and problems caused by a growing world population, rapid urbanization, climate change, space travel, ...e.g. AI, VR, IoT.
  • Spaceflight technology will take a major leap forward allowing for Inter-Planetary travel across our Solar System.
  • Public and private sector organizations will be aggressively moving forward to explore and exploit resources on nearby planets in outer-space
  • There will be the first permanent human settlements on the moon and Mars by 2050.

What else do you think will happen by 2050?  What does all this mean for you?


* Read about America's Energy Future and go ahead and download a copy of the OECD Environmental Outlook for 2050.  Also, check out more detailed projections documented in 'Our Changing World by 2050'. 


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