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Futurology and Climate Change

Posted by on Oct 29, 2010 in Ecology | 17 comments

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Futurology is a fairly new science. Although some people claim it is nothing but mambo jumbo. This post is not intended to find out what stance one should take towards futurology, it is up to everyone what one wants to believe.

On the 18. October 2010 I heard Dr. David Passig, who teaches futurology at the Bar Ilan University in Israel, in a radio show.

Dr. Passig mentioned that World Population will grow until the middle of the century to 9 billion people. And then he postulated, that until the end of the century world population be reduced to a fitting amount of people on earth. Dr. Passig based this assumption on the fact, that the level of education will rise world wide. It seems to be a fact, that the higher the level of education and the wealthier the people are, the Birth Rate decreases. It is called the Demographic Economic Paradox.

 Dr. Passig also mentioned the Climate Change and that the level of the seas might rise as a result. Which in turn might cause the migration of the people living near the cost. Nothing more.

Furthermore Dr. Passig asserted, that the mistake most people do, is to assume thay history is proceeding linearly. But this is not so, there are always breaks to disturb this linear process. 

The conclusion I drew from listening to the show, is that the future will be a difficult one, but humanity can and will cope with it. No problem!

But Dr. Passig mentioning of the Climate Change and its results, was at best, superficial. Until now history was more or less linear. Climate Change and world population growth is what causes the changes in the future to become non-linear and Exponential. Should this happen it will be a worst case scenario.  About 40% of the world population are supposed to be living near the seas. If this mass of people will start to move away from the shores and into the continents the results will be violent conflicts.

Imagine the Netherlands, which are to a big part underneath sea level, will be flooded by the sea and the biggest part of the Dutch people will try to get away from the waters. Where exactly will they go? To Germany or Belgium? It can be taken as granted, that the Germans and Belgians will have enough troubles to survive in a changed environment and will be more then unwilling to welcome the Eco-refugees.

This is what Dr. Passig forgot to mention to the listener of the show. I can understand it, since the show is supposed to entertain. But this does not free people like Dr. Passig from their responsibility to warn the public from a worst case scenario!

On the other hand are public figures like Frank Fenner and James Lovelock  claim that humanity is doomed. The one says in 40 years, the other says in a 100 years.

I would say both sides are wrong. Dr. Passig and his unshakeable optimism and Mr. Fenner and Mr. Lovelock with their doomsday scenarios as well. There is still a chance to mitigate the climate change if we all get active today. What can be done Nesseq shows. And there are many more things of which Nesseq has not thought of but what other people might come up with. Important is, that we start doing something.

How wrong prognosises can be shows the example of Modern Mechanix from the year 1968.

Further material on the Demographic Economic Paradox.

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