Unsettling scenarios depicting the world in the next 50 years, similar to the current planet but significantly hotter.
Rising from 280 parts per million at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide has now reached 390 ppm. Journalist Dyer (After Iraq: Where Next for the Middle East?, 2008, etc.) gathers interviews from global experts who agree that serious efforts to reduce carbon emissions—which are not happening—cannot prevent a further rise to 500 ppm, which will increase global temperature nearly five degrees Fahrenheit by 2150. Warming will reduce rainfall over the tropics, expand mid-latitude deserts, eliminate mountain snowpacks and glaciers—thus reducing flow in great rivers used for irrigation—and melt arctic permafrost. To illustrate the major consequence, a diminished food supply, Dyer delivers fictional accounts of how nations may respond in the coming decades. According to these scenarios, lack of food destabilizes South America and Africa, producing mass starvation. India and Pakistan fight a nuclear war over the shrinking rivers they share for irrigation. Russia is the only great power that prospers, but China can no longer feed its population, who migrate north, and its leaders remember that China has a historical claim to Siberia. After absorbing millions fleeing starvation, the United States successfully seals the Mexican border, adding minefields and remote-controlled machine guns to the wall. Despite these alarming forecasts, Dyer remains confident that, as difficulties increase, nations will organize to vastly reduce carbon emissions. However, he warns that if matters are delayed for more than a decade, civilization will pass through a catastrophic time.
A reasonable but not rosy view of a subject that too often produces hysteria.