What the future holds

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Old Rocks, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Old Rocks

    Old Rocks Diamond Member

    Oct 31, 2008
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    Portland, Ore.
    Note the part about floods and droughts.

    Timeline: The Frightening Future of Earth | LiveScience
    Timeline: The Frightening Future of EarthBy Andrea Thompson, and Ker Than

    posted: 19 April 2007 08:32 am ET
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    Our planet's prospects for environmental stability are bleaker than ever with the approach of this year’s Earth Day, April 22. Global warming is widely accepted as a reality by scientists and even by previously doubtful government and industrial leaders. And according to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is a 90 percent likelihood that humans are contributing to the change.

    The international panel of scientists predicts the global average temperature could increase by 2 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 and that sea levels could rise by up to 2 feet.

    Scientists have even speculated that a slight increase in Earth's rotation rate could result, along with other changes. Glaciers, already receding, will disappear. Epic floods will hit some areas while intense drought will strike others. Humans will face widespread water shortages. Famine and disease will increase. Earth’s landscape will transform radically, with a quarter of plants and animals at risk of extinction.

    While putting specific dates on these traumatic potential events is challenging, this timeline paints the big picture and details Earth's future based on several recent studies and the longer scientific version of the IPCC report, which was made available to LiveScience.


    More of the world's population now lives in cities than in rural areas, changing patterns of land use. The world population surpasses 6.6 billion. (Peter Crane, Royal Botanic Gardens, UK, Science; UN World Urbanization Prospectus: The 2003 Revision; U.S. Census Bureau)


    Global oil production peaks sometime between 2008 and 2018, according to a model by one Swedish physicist. Others say this turning point, known as “Hubbert’s Peak,” won’t occur until after 2020. Once Hubbert’s Peak is reached, global oil production will begin an irreversible decline, possibly triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflict between nations over dwindling oil supplies. (doctoral dissertation of Frederik Robelius, University of Uppsala, Sweden; report by Robert Hirsch of the Science Applications International Corporation)


    Flash floods will very likely increase across all parts of Europe. (IPCC)

    Less rainfall could reduce agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some parts of the world. (IPCC)

    World population will reach 7.6 billion people. (U.S. Census Bureau)

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