I don’t usually enter the prediction game but here are a few things that have been concerning me – and plenty others – of late.
1) What’s up with the mainstream media’s obsession with asteroids and comets slamming into the Earth when the entire planet is on fire already? Here we are being distracted by long shots from outer space when the clear and present danger is right here on Earth. Climate emergency is what we should be fretting about today, not chunks of icy space rock. It’s quite alarming how ambivalent the world governments are despite scientific forecasts that the planet will be completely fucked in 30 years’ time if we carry on as present.
2) The internal combustion engine is dead. Volvo has already announced it’s quitting using petrol or diesel in its engines in favour of electrification. Other manufacturers are not far behind.
3) Politicians in the US, China and India will only decide to wean themselves off fossil fuels when they are up to their knees in seawater. Donald Trump will see it as an investment opportunity in yacht marinas, presumably from his prison cell.
New oil reserves will eventually be left in the ground as demand dwindles when society is compelled to recognise that the climate simply can’t afford any more CO2. Climate change denial will become a crime like Holocaust denial. Oil companies, politicians and others rubbishing decades of empirical evidence of climate change will be forced to spend trillions of dollars attempting to repair the climate and the future of humanity.
UPDATE: Legal action already well under way. See this Guardian article
4) Prohibitive meat taxes will be introduced worldwide to get us off meat, production of which is the world’s largest emitter of climate changing gases. Better get used to eating meat once a month at most, if at all, until lab-grown meat takes off.
5) Science will come to the rescue with new technologies including AI nanotechnology and plastic-eating fungus and bacteria.
6) Air travel will become a luxury once more akin to those distant days of the 1950s and 1960s when people would turn up at Heathrow airport in black and white to jet off to Venice. You will eventually know no one who flies anywhere.
7) As the climate emergency worsens there will be a radical overhaul in politics worldwide and the death of capitalism as we currently understand it in favour of a system geared towards measuring success not through GDP but in terms of a country’s happiness, well-being and potential.
8) Workplaces will change dramatically as more and more businesses embrace remote working. Artificial intelligence will take over many jobs, leading to a standard three day work week and the introduction of a basic living allowance for all citizens.
9) Unless we radically alter our lifestyles, we can look forward to wars being fought not over oil, but over water. And mass migration, the likes of which we have never seen before, due to certain parts of the globe becoming uninhabitable. Hopefully number five will come true before we reach this nadir of human existence. Though we must be close considering there is more migration underway today than at the end of the Second World War.
10) Private car ownership will become increasingly rare as we switch to ride hailing and autonomous electric vehicles.
Yes, I am optimist.