PLANET EARTH 2050 by Ted  Unarce

PLANET EARTH 2050

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A work of speculative history attempts to describe the mid-21st-century world.

If aliens were to observe planet Earth in 2050, what would they see? Would it make them want to contact humans, or would they decide to stay away, leaving the inhabitants to their own inevitable self-destruction? With this book, Unarce (Silicon Valley Secrets, 2017, etc.) plays out a few possible scenarios of what the world might look like in a little over 30 years, encouraging readers to take an alien’s-eye view of each situation and evaluate whether it represents the Earth they wish to project to the stars. Will they like what they see? What if they don’t? “Isn’t it time that we came up with a new paradigm of evolution and growth on this planet?” asks the author in his preface. “Before it’s too late?” Unarce imagines a world of unchecked climate change, in which food and water shortages coupled with rising sea levels lead to a hundred million deaths in the developing world. He also outlines possible climate change survival strategies as proposed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, including the Techno Garden (a world of technologically linked, highly engineered ecosystems) and the Adapting Mosaic (a realm of diverse, regionally managed ecosystems). He imagines a planet with mega-regions (groups of city-centered metro areas that coordinate the movement of resources and the distribution of population), where both military might and economic power determine global hegemony. The author also makes predictions as to which nations and trading alliances will take center stage in the near future, from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) to Chindia (China and India) to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa).

Unarce writes in a clear though technical prose that assumes readers are familiar with the relevant concepts of international economics, demography, and climate change: “More than ever, the world in 2050 is driven by materialism: all around the globe, the paradigm of quantitative growth continues to reign supreme, enabling a new level of consumption to cater to the desire for material possessions.” He cites a number of sources for the statistics that he provides, and this data, coupled with arguments from various organizations that study these issues, directs the majority of the book’s ideas. The alien framing device is mostly irrelevant to the two topics Unarce is most interested in addressing: climate change and the West’s declining hegemony in global politics. The volume is not written from an America-centric perspective, however. The author takes on each region of the globe in turn, evaluating its probable fortunes in the coming decades. He takes care to reiterate that the inhabitants of developing countries will be the greatest victims of climate change while those of the First World have the utmost power to curb its effects. For a speculative work, this is not as far-fetched a volume as one might suspect from the premise. Unarce shows that the effects of global warming are frightfully predictable. The unknown factor is how leaders decide to deal (or not deal) with the problem.

A thoughtful conjecture on how the geopolitical situation might look in 2050.

Pub Date: May 15th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5212-9526-7
Page count: 301pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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