Global Warming Forecasts - 2015 

 

2015 Snapshot:
Climate change converging forecasts for the year 2015

Heat wave impacts
Wildfires & forest fires
Water shortages
Groundwater over-pumping
Agriculture irrigation shortages
Greenhouse gas emissions
Temperature increases
Electric power supplies
Oil supply shortages
Energy price increases
Coal-fired power plants
China coal consumption
Outsourcing impacts
China wealth growth
U.S. food imports from China
U.S. economic output
U.S. tax revenues

Climate disruption costs
Arctic sea ice melting
Kilimanjaro glacier melting
Rising sea levels
Global warming forced migration
Species extinctions
Corral reef deterioration
Ozone layer degradation
Climate data availability
Energy workforce shortages
Raw materials shortages
Population increases
Food supply
Doctor and nurse shortages
Aging baby boomers
Global retirement crisis

Temperatures and Heat Waves

2010 – 2019.  Stanford computer models project a dramatic spike in extreme seasonal temperatures during the period 2010 - 2019.  “The Stanford team also forecast a dramatic spike in extreme seasonal temperatures during the current decade [2010 – 2019]. Temperatures equaling the hottest season on record from 1951 to 1999 could occur four times between now [2010] and 2019 over much of the U.S., according to the researchers.  The 2020s and 2030s could be even hotter, particularly in the American West.” (Mark Shwartz, communications manager, Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, “Heat waves and extremely high temperatures could be commonplace in the U.S. by 2039, Stanford study finds,” Stanford Report, July 8, 2010 citing findings in Diffenbaugh, N., and M. Ashfaq. Intensification of hot extremes in the United States. Geophys. Res. Lett., (in press) DOI: 10.1029/2010GL043888, August 6, 2010)

See additional forecasts of global warming heat waves.

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Between 2010 and 2019 [9 years], temperatures equaling the hottest season on record from 1951 to 1999 [a 48 year period] could occur four times over much of the U.S. (6) 

— Diffenbaugh and Ashfaq
Woods Institute, Stanford University
Geophysical Research Letters
August 2010

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2015.  Global sales of air conditioners projected to reach 78.8 million units by 2015.  “Tempered by the recent economic recession, which forced a considerable decline in its growth over the last few years, the global market for air conditioning systems is expected recover poise and reach 78.8 million units in volume sales by 2015. Growth in the short to medium term period will be driven by factors such as focus on energy efficient air conditioners, growing replacement needs and increasing demand from developing markets. . . . Global warming continues to remain a major factor propelling market demand, especially in the residential segment. Depletion of ozone layer, El Nino effect, and global warming, make up for the primary reasons that create the need for air conditioning systems.” (“Air Conditioning Systems - A Global Strategic Business Report – new report released,” CompaniesandMarkets.com delivered by Newstex, June 30, 2010 reporting findings in Air Conditioning Systems: A Global Strategic Business Report)

  • How will the existing stock of air conditioners perform under long, intense heat wave conditions with a dramatic spike in temperatures?
  • What is the current product life of the average air conditioner in-place and how will product life be affected by more frequent heat waves and temperature spikes?
  • How will long, intense heat waves affect the performance and failure rates of the existing stock of air conditioners?
  • Are new air conditioners being designed to operate effectively under the forecasted high intensity heat wave operating conditions? Or are current models still being designed based on a presumption of the continuation of historical temperature and climate patterns?

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Climate experts predict that there is a 50% chance that the average temperature of the world will increase by 5° Celsius (11°F).  A 5° Celsius change is the difference between our world today and the world during the last ice age. 

So think about what 5 degrees C will mean going the other way.  A very different world.  So if you want that for your kids and grand kids, we can continue doing what we’re doing. (10)

— Dr. Steven Chu
U.S. Secretary of Energy

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2014.  Britain’s Met Office projects 2014 temperature likely to be 0.3 degrees Celsius warmer than 2004.  “Here is the climate forecast for the next decade [2007-2014]; although global warming will be held in check for a few years, it will come roaring back to send the mercury rising before 2014.  This is the prediction of the first computer model of the global climate designed to make forecasts over a timescale of around a decade, developed by scientists at the Met Office.  The new model developed at the Met's Hadley Centre in Exeter, and described in the journal Science, predicts that warming will slow during the next few years but then speed up again, and that at least half of the years after 2009 will be warmer than 1998, the warmest year on record. 

Over the 10-year period [2007-2014] as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 deg C [0.3 degrees Celsius] warmer than 2004.  The overall trend in warming is driven by greenhouse gas emissions but this warming effect will be broadly cancelled out over the next few years by the changing patterns of the ocean temperatures.”  (Roger Highfield, Science Editor, “Global warming forecast predicts rise in 2014,” The Daily Telegraph, London, England, United Kingdom, August 9, 2007 reporting findings in Doug M. Smith, Stephen Cusack, Andrew W. Colman, Chris K. Folland, Glen R. Harris, and James M. Murphy, “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model,” Science, August 10, 2007 317: 796-799 DOI: 10.1126/science.1139540)

Don McConnell, Battelle, on Climate Change

2015 Greenhouse Gas Emissions

2015. IPCC projects greenhouse gas emissions must stabilize by 2015.  “The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] warns that the planet is warming faster than previously predicted.  The Nobel Prize winning group of scientists says carbon and other heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions must stabilize by 2015 and then decline to head off the worst consequences from climate change.” (Lisa Schlein, “VOA News: U.S. Wants More Balanced Approach To Climate Change,” Voice of America, US Fed News Service, Including US State News, November 27, 2007)

2015.  By 2015 10 billion tonnes is projected to be the maximum volume of carbon dioxide that humans may emit to remain below the critical threshold for climate warming of two degrees Celsius.  “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculated projected temperature changes for various scenarios in 2007 and researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg [Germany] have now gone one step further: they have developed a new model that specifies the maximum volumes of carbon dioxide that humans may emit to remain below the critical threshold for climate warming of two degrees Celsius. . . .

With the help of new models for a prescribed atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, scientists from all over Europe have now calculated for the first time the extent to which the global carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to halt global warming.  ‘What’s new about this research is that we have integrated the carbon cycle into our model to obtain the emissions data,’ says Erich Roeckner. According to the model, admissible carbon dioxide emissions will increase from approximately seven billion tonnes of carbon in the year 2000 to a maximum value of around ten billion tonnes in 2015. 

In order to achieve the long-term stabilisation of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, the emissions will then have to be reduced by 56 percent by the year 2050 and approach zero towards the end of this century.   Although, based on these calculations, global warming would remain under the two-degree threshold until 2100, further warming may be expected in the long term:  ‘It will take centuries for the global climate system to stabilise,’ says Erich Roeckner.”  (Press release, New carbon dioxide emissions model,” Max Planck Society, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany, August 2, 2010)

2015.  Projection that the carbon emissions growth rate of 2% to 3% per year must flatline between 2015 and 2020 in order to stabilize the climate.  “‘What most don't realise is that the biggest impact from climate change will be shifts in precipitation, not temperature increase,’ [Don McConnell, president of Battelle Energy Technology] told IPS {Inter Press Service] at the McCormick Energy Solutions Conference at Ohio State University this week.  Such changes have already been documented, with increasing frequency and severity of flooding and droughts.  In July [2009], researchers reported in the journal Nature Geoscience that the normal band of heavy rainfall around the equator has been creeping north, leaving areas once blessed with abundant rainfall high and dry.  ‘We're talking about the most prominent rainfall feature on the planet, one that many people depend on as the source of their freshwater because there is no groundwater to speak of where they live,’ said Julian Sachs, associate professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, in a release.

Global energy use is expected to climb 55 percent between 2005 and 2030, said McConnell, and without major changes, most of that increase will come from fossil fuels - pushing carbon emissions far beyond the point of unstoppable, catastrophic climate change, scientists agree.  To have an even chance of stabilising the climate at roughly two degrees C of warming, the current two- to three-percent annual growth in carbon emissions must flatline between 2015 and 2020 and start to decline by three percent per year, according to the latest scientific evidence. That means the target for the U.N. climate meeting in Copenhagen in December is a new international agreement to reduce global emissions by 50 percent compared to 1990 and to do that by 2050.” Emphasis added. (Stephen Leahy, “Climate Change: Time To Act Is Running Out, Scientists Warn,” Inter Press Service English News Wire, September 25, 2009)

Wildfires | Forest Fires

2015.  By 2015 10 million acres of national forests may be at high risk of uncontrollable, catastrophic wildfires.  “In 1997, [the U.S. Forest Service] announced its goal to improve forest health by resolving the problems of uncontrollable, catastrophic wildfires on national forests by the end of fiscal year 2015. . . . However, because it lacks adequate data, the Forest Service has not yet developed a cohesive strategy for addressing several factors that present significant barriers to improving the health of the national forests by reducing fuels.  As a result, many acres of national forests in the interior West may remain at high risk of uncontrollable wildfire at the end of fiscal year 2015. . . . . In 1997, the Chief of the Forest Service adopted an internal agency recommendation to increase the number of acres on which fuels are reduced from about 570,000 acres to 3 million acres annually by fiscal year 2005 and to continue this level until the year 2015. 

However, GAO’s analysis of the agency’s initial plans and data indicate that even this level of effort may leave about 10 million acres of the current 39 million acres at high risk of catastrophic wildfire. . . . Our preliminary analysis of the Forest Service’s fuel reduction costs—which, according to the agency’s data average about $320 per acre for the combination of burning and mechanical removal that is necessary in the interior West—indicates that as much as $12 billion, or about $725 million a year, may be needed to treat the 39 million acres at high risk of uncontrollable wildfire by the end of fiscal year 2015.” (GAO, Western National Forests, A Cohesive Strategy is Needed to Address Catastrophic Wildfire Threats,  Report to the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, Committee on Resources, House of Representatives, U.S. General Accounting Office, GAO/RCED-99-65, Washington, DC, April 1999, pp. 3, 4, 6, 8, 41, 45) 

See a more comprehensive summary of global warming fire forecasts. 

Water Shortages 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017

2013.  Water shortages projected for 36 states by 2013.  “Water managers in most states expect shortages of freshwater in the next decade [2003 – 2013] — even without drought — and the consequences may be severe, according to a General Accounting Office [GAO] report. . . . The nation's capacity for building new dams and reservoirs to store surface water is limited, and groundwater in many parts of the country is being depleted faster than it can be replenished, the report said. 

At the same time, the GAO reported, a growing population and increased pressure to allocate water to fisheries and the environment are placing new demands on t he freshwater supply.  The potential effects of climate change also create uncertainty about future water availability and use, the report said. Most climate experts expect global warming to create more droughts and more extreme storms. 

As a result, water managers in 36 states surveyed by the GAO said they anticipate water shortages in the next 10 years [2003 - 2013] under ‘average water conditions.’  Two states · Colorado and South Carolina · expect shortages to be statewide. . . .

But even without drought conditions, the shortages could have ‘severe consequences,’ the report said.  There have been eight water shortages resulting from drought or heat waves over the past 20 years resulting in more than $1 billion in damages each, the report said. The most costly totaled over $40 billion in damages to the economies of the central and eastern United States in the summer of 1988.”  Cost of global warming.  (Joan Lowy, Scripps Howard News Service, “Most states predict water shortages in next decade,” Scripps Howard News Service, Thursday, July 10, 2003 reporting findings in U.S. General Accounting Office, "Freshwater Supply - States' Views of How Federal Agencies Could Help Them Meet the Challenges of Expected Shortages," GAO-03-514, July 2003) 

2013.  Lake Mead’s water levels could drop below its water intake pipes by 2013.  “Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy . . . said the authority is in a race against time to complete a new [third intake] system [or third straw] to draw water from deep in Lake Mead [Hoover Dam].  Roughly 90 percent of the [Las Vegas] valley's drinking water is drawn from the lake through the two existing intakes, but the reservoir's surface could shrink below the level of one of those pipes by 2013.” (Pat Mulroy, general manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority quoted in Henry Brean, hbrean@reviewjournal.com, 702-383-0350 “Water Authority: Mulroy calls new Lake Mead intake system is critical,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 22, 2009)  See videos of Pat Mulroy.

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We're in a race against time... (7)

We're teetering on the first shortage right now.  How quickly [Lake] Mead goes down [is based on hydrology] probability. But the whole probability analysis, because of climate change, has been thrown out the window. We're experiencing anomaly after anomaly. (8)

 — Pat Mulroy, General Manager
Southern Nevada Water Authority

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2013.  Hydroelectric turbines at Hoover Dam could cease generating electricity by 2013.  “After 75 years of steadily cranking out electricity for California, Arizona and Nevada, the mighty turbines of the Hoover Dam could cease turning as soon as 2013, if water levels in the lake that feeds the dam don't start to recover, say water and dam experts.  Under pressure from the region's growing population and years of drought, Lake Mead was down to 1,087 feet, a 54-year low, as of Wednesday [September 8, 2010].  If the lake loses 10 feet a year, as it has recently, it will soon reach 1,050 feet, the level below which the turbines can no longer run.

Those hydroelectric generators produce cheap electricity for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California [MWD], which is responsible for pumping water across the Colorado River Aqueduct to hydrate much of Southern California.  Without that power, Metropolitan's costs to transport water will double or even triple, a district executive said. . . The decrease in water already experienced at Lake Mead has reduced output from the turbines from 130 megawatts of peak capacity to 100, according to Peter DiDonato, who runs the Hoover Dam's hydroelectric generators. . .

For every foot of elevation lost in Lake Mead -- about 100,000 acre feet of water, or enough for 200,000 households -- the dam produces 5.7 megawatts less power.  That's because at lower water pressure, air bubbles flow through with the water, causing the turbines to lose efficiency. . . . Losing power from the Hoover Dam would raise expenses for Metropolitan [see MWD map]  and for Southern California Edison [SCE], both of which buy power for the dam at low rates. Edison has already begun preparations for lower power generation from the dam, which represents 0.3 percent of its portfolio, said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for the utility. 

The dam supplies 60 percent of Metropolitan's power needs, said Brian Thomas, chief financial officer and assistant general manager of the agency.  Without power from the dam, Metropolitan would turn to the spot electricity market and pay double or triple the cost, depending on how much less power the dam is producing.”  (Eric Wolff, ewolff@nctimes.com, 760-740-5412, “Hoover Dam could stop generating electricity as soon as 2013, officials fear,” North County Times, Escondido, California, September 12, 2010)

Declining Water Levels at Lake Mead Require
Construction of Third Intake to Draw from Deeper Water

lake mead water levels lake mead intake

Southern Nevada Water Authority’s (SNWA) new Lake Mead Intake No. 3 is being built to protect against reductions in electricity generation system capacity caused by declining lake levels as well as water shortages incurred by the City of Las Vegas which depends on the lake for 90% of its water supply.  Source: Southern Nevada Water Authority and Jean Reid Norman, “Water demand drop-off postpones intake work,” Las Vegas Sun, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009.

2014.  10% chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014.  “[In When will Lake Mead go dry?, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography study, research marine physicist Dr. Tim Barnett and climate scientist David Pierce] estimated that there is a 10 percent chance that Lake Mead could be dry by 2014. . . . The researchers add that even if water agencies follow their current drought contingency plans, it might not be enough to counter natural forces, especially if the region enters a period of sustained drought and/or human-induced climate changes occur as currently predicted. . . . ‘When expected changes due to global warming are included as well, currently scheduled depletions are simply not sustainable,’ wrote Barnett and Pierce in the paper.” (“Lake Mead Could Be Dry by 2021,” news release, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Tuesday, February 12, 2008 reporting findings in Tim P. Barnett and David W. Pierce, "When will Lake Mead go dry?," Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, Journal of Water Resources Research, January 23, 2008)  See Barnett video on “Outlook for Lake Mead” and “How the forecast was created.”

2015.  Nearly half the the world’s population will live in water-stressed countries by 2015.  “By 2015 nearly half the world's population — more than 3 billion people — will live in countries that are "water-stressed" — have less than 1,700 cubic meters of water per capita per year mostly in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and northern China. (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p. 27)

World Water Availability 2015

water climate change world water shortages water scarcity global warming

National Intelligence Council, Global Trends 2015, Dec. 2000, p. 29 citing original source as Stockholm Environmental Institute, 1997: Comprehensive Assessment of the Freshwater Resources of the World.

2015.  Measures to increase water availability will not be sufficient to ease water shortages in water-stressed countries by 2015.  “Measures undertaken to increase water availability and to ease acute water shortages — using water more efficiently, expanding use of desalinization, developing genetically modified crops that use less water or more saline  water, and importing water — will not be sufficient to substantially change the outlook for water shortages in 2015. Many will be expensive: policies to price water more realistically are not likely to be broadly implemented within the next 15 years and subsidizing water is politically sensitive for the many low-income countries short of water because their populations expect cheap water.  Water has been a source of contention historically, but no water dispute has been a cause of open interstate conflict; indeed, water shortages often have stimulated cooperative arrangements for sharing the scarce resource.  But as countries press against the limits of available water between now and 2015, the possibility of conflict will increase.” (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p. 27)

2015.  Water-sharing arrangements between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan likely to become more contentious.  “Nearly one-half of the world’s land surface consists of river basins shared by more than one country, and more than 30 nations receive more than one-third of their water from outside their borders. Turkey is building new dams and irrigation projects on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which will affect water flows into Syria and Iraq—two countries that will experience considerable population growth. Egypt is proceeding with a major diversion of water from the Nile, which flows from Ethiopia and Sudan, both of which will want to draw more water from the Nile for their own development by 2015.  Water-sharing arrangements are likely to become more contentious.” (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p. 28)

2017.  Scripps study projects a 50% chance that Lake Mead reservoir levels will drop too low to allow hydroelectric power generation at Hoover Dam by 2017.  “[In When will Lake Mead go dry?, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography study, research marine physicist Dr. Tim Barnett and climate scientist David Pierce predicted] that there is a 50 percent chance that reservoir levels will drop too low to allow hydroelectric power generation [at Hoover Dam] by 2017.  The researchers add that even if water agencies follow their current drought contingency plans, it might not be enough to counter natural forces, especially if the region enters a period of sustained drought and/or human-induced climate changes occur as currently predicted. . . . ‘When expected changes due to global warming are included as well, currently scheduled depletions are simply not sustainable,’ wrote Barnett and Pierce in the paper.” (“Lake Mead Could Be Dry by 2021,” news release, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Tuesday, February 12, 2008 reporting findings in Tim P. Barnett and David W. Pierce, "When will Lake Mead go dry?," Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, Journal of Water Resources Research, January 23, 2008)

2017.  Sana’a, Yemen predicted to run out of water in 2017. [Yemen’s] capital Sana’a is predicted to run out of water in 2017 as four times as much water is taken out of its river basin as falls into it each year.  Of the country’s 21 main water aquifers, 19 are no longer being replenished after a drought and increased demand.  The water situation is so serious the government has considered moving the capital as well as desalinating coastal seawater and pumping it 2,000 metres uphill to Sana’a.” (Maudhe Barlow, Council of Canadians and author of Blue Covenant quoted in Martin Khor, director@southcentre.org, “Make Global Water Crisis a Top Priority Issue,” Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IDN, Geneva, Switzerland, September 29, 2010) 

For more detailed chronological forecasts of water supply and water shortages, see climate change water resources. 

Food Supplies

2015.  By 2015 a number of developing countries will be unable to maintain their levels of irrigated agriculture.  “In the developing world, 80 percent of water usage goes into agriculture, a proportion that is not sustainable; and in 2015 a number of developing countries will be unable to maintain their levels of irrigated agriculture.  Overpumping of groundwater in many of the world’s important grain-growing regions will be an increasing problem:  about 1,000 tons of water are needed to produce a ton of grain.  The water table under some of the major grain-producing areas in northern China is falling at a rate of five feet per year, and water tables throughout India are falling an average of 3-10 feet per year.” ("Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts," NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000)

Kilimanjaro Glacier Melting

2015 – 2020.  Mt. Kilimanjaro’s remaining ice fields likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020.  “Six ice cores from Kilimanjaro provide an ~11.7-thousand-year record of Holocene climate and environmental variability for eastern equatorial Africa, including three periods of abrupt climate change: ~8.3, ~5.2, and ~4 thousand years ago (ka). The latter is coincident with the "First Dark Age," the period of the greatest historically recorded drought in tropical Africa. Variable deposition of F- and Na+ during the African Humid Period suggests rapidly fluctuating lake levels between ~11.7 and 4 ka. Over the 20th century, the areal extent of Kilimanjaro's ice fields has decreased ~80%, and if current climatological conditions persist, the remaining ice fields are likely to disappear between 2015 and 2020.” (Lonnie G. Thompson, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Mary E. Davis, Keith A. Henderson, Henry H. Brecher,1 Victor S. Zagorodnov, Tracy A. Mashiotta, Ping-Nan Lin, Vladimir N. Mikhalenko, Douglas R. Hardy, Jürg Beer, “Kilimanjaro Ice Core Records: Evidence of Holocene Climate Change in Tropical Africa,” Science, October 18, 2002:Vol. 298. no. 5593, pp. 589 – 593)  View map of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  See interview with glaciologist, Dr. Lonnie Thompson

Population 2015

2015.  World population projected by the U.S. Census Bureau to reach 7.2 billion by 2015.  7,230,563,690.  (U.S. Census Bureau, “Total Midyear Population for the World: 1950-2050,” International Database, U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, 866-758-1060, Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland, June 28, 2010)

2015.  China's population projected to reach 1.36 billion by 2015.  1,361,513.  (U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, Population Division, 866-758-1060, Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland, Friday, November 19, 2010)

2015.  India’s population projected to reach 1.25 billion by 2015.  1,251,696.  (U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base, Population Division, 866-758-1060, Suitland-Silver Hill, Maryland, Friday, November 19, 2010)

2015.  U.S. population projected to reach 325.5 million by 2015. 325,540,000.  Resident population as of July 1.  (U.S. Census Bureau, "Projections of the Population and Components of Change for the United States: 2010 to 2050," National Population Projections, Released 2008, Based on Census 2000, Population Division, 866-758-1060, Washington, DC, retrieved August 27, 2010)

2015.  Mexico’s president predicts illegal immigration to the U.S. will end by 2015.  “Could Mexico's plunging birthrate and growing economy end illegal immigration to the United States?  Mexican President Vicente Fox says they could. As soon as 2015, Mexico will be using ‘100 percent of its work force,’ he said, and his countrymen won't need to cross the border in search of jobs. . . . ‘By 2015, Mexico will be needing 100 percent of its work force ... to support our economy and our retirees,’ Fox said in an interview last week in Ensenada.” (Sandra Dibble, Staff Writer, Fox predicts Mexico's successes - Jobs boom could spell the end of illegal immigration by 2015,” San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego, California, June 10, 2006, p. A-3)

What is the leading cause of weather-related deaths?  Floods?  Heat?  Hurricanes?  Lightning?  Or tornadoes?

2015 Ice Free Arctic

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We have already reached a tipping point where we will soon see an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summer. 

There's nothing we can do about that. It could be in 2015.  It could be in 2025.  It almost doesn't matter.  It'll happen in this generation. 

As a result, the whole weather system could change. (1)

— Dr. David Carlson
Director, International Polar Year
July 2009

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2010-2015.  Computer model forecasts taking into account sea ice thinning and albedo effects project an ice-free summer Arctic Ocean between 2010-2015.  “The Arctic Ocean could be free of ice in the summer as soon as 2010 or 2015 -- something that hasn't happened for more than a million years, according to a leading polar researcher.  Louis Fortier, scientific director of ArcticNet, a Canadian research network, said the sea ice is melting faster than predicted by models created by international teams of scientists, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeThey had forecast the Arctic Ocean could be free of summer ice as early as 2050.  But Fortier told an international conference on defence and security in Quebec City yesterday that the worst-case scenarios are becoming reality.  ‘The frightening models we didn't even dare to talk about before are now proving to be true,’ Fortier told CanWest News Service, referring to computer models that take into account the thinning of the sea ice and the warming from the albedo effect -- the Earth is absorbing more energy as the sea ice melts.  According to these models, there will be no sea ice left in the summer in the Arctic Ocean somewhere between 2010 and 2015.”  (No author credited, “Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer as early as 2010,” Times Colonist, Victoria, British Columbia, November 16, 2007) 

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[M]aybe we are getting at this tipping point. (2)


Jay Zwally, EOS ICESat
NASA Ice Satellite Project Scientist
NASA Goddard, Greenbelt, Maryland
January 2008

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It's quite conceivable that that tipping point we talk about [for an ice free summer Arctic ocean by 2030] has already been reached. (4)  

— Mark Serreze, Senior scientist
National Snow and Ice Data Center
August 2007

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2013.  Arctic ocean could be mostly ice free by 2013 according to NASA scientists.  “Recent satellite data from the U.S. Space agency NASA indicate that sea ice in the Arctic and Greenland is melting at a faster rate than previously projected.  VOA's Paul Sisco has the story.  Climate scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, outside Washington, say the Arctic Ocean could be mostly ice free in late summer 2013.  

‘The sea ice is decreasing faster than all the models predicted," says Jay Zwally, the ice satellite project scientist at NASA Goddard, ‘We not only have the warming of the atmosphere, we have a warming of the ocean that is affecting this.  It has been surprising to everybody, this decrease in [Arctic sea ice] area. This is a marked departure, and this is suggesting to us that maybe we are getting at this tipping point.’” Arctic ice free. (No author credited, “NASA Scientists See Hastened Arctic Warming,” Voice of America, Washington, DC, January 9, 2008) 

See the chronology of forecasts for Arctic global warming over time.

Rising Sea Levels 2015

2015. Lagos, Nigeria projected to be at risk from sea level rise.  "Nigeria will suffer from climate-induced drought, desertification, and sea level rise. Already, approximately 1,350 square miles of Nigerian land turns to desert each year, forcing both farmers and herdsmen to abandon their homes.  Lagos, the capital, is one of the West African coastal megacities [along with Alexandria, Egypt] that the IPCC identifies as at risk from sea level rise by 2015." (Alexander T.J. Lennon, Jay Gulledge, J.R. McNeill, John Podesta, Peter Ogden, Leon Fuerth, R. James Woolsey, Julianne Smith, Richard Weitz, and Derek Mix. The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, November 5, 2007, p. 58) Lagos, Nigeria sea level rise videos.

Pacific Coast large wave sea level events already exceed the 2100 mean.  The Pacific Coast of the Western United States has already experienced large waves and surges at high tides that have exceeded mean sea levels expected for the end of this century.  For the next several decades [2012 - 2020 - 2030], these large wave events pose a greater hazard to the West Coast than the longer term climate driven rise expected by the year 2100. The impacts of these large wave surges are likely to become more frequent and greater in magnitude.

Climate Migration Refugees 2015

2015. Rising sea levels in Nigeria projected to force significant migration that contributes to political and economic turmoil.  "[Rising sea levels along the coastline of Nigeria and other parts of Africa expected in 2015] coupled with high population growth (Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa, and three-fourths of the population is under the age of 30), will force significant migration and contribute to political and economic turmoil.  It will, for instance, exacerbate the existing internal conflict over oil production in the Niger Delta." (Alexander T.J. Lennon, Jay Gulledge, J.R. McNeill, John Podesta, Peter Ogden, Leon Fuerth, R. James Woolsey, Julianne Smith, Richard Weitz, and Derek Mix. The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC, November 5, 2007, p. 58)

Major Migration Routes from Africa to Europe

migration routes from Africa to Europe

Source: Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Age of Consequences - Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, Nov. 5, 2007, p. 58

Loss of Climate Data 2015

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That's like if you have a sick patient, and then say, 'I have no more thermometers.' (5)

— Inez Fung, Climatologist
On the Bush Administration’s elimination
of critical satellite sensors that monitor Earth

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2015. Loss of key climate data from U.S. satellite instruments expected to begin by 2015 and continue for up to 11 years.  “After key climate and space weather instruments were removed from the NPOESS and GOES-R programs in 2006, federal agencies decided to restore selected capabilities in the near term. However, neither the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) nor the Department of Defense (DOD) has established plans to restore the full set of NPOESS capabilities over the life of the program. Further, NOAA has not made any plans to restore the advanced climate capabilities of the instrument that was removed from GOES-R. Expected gaps in coverage for the instruments that were removed range from 1 to 11 years, and begin as soon as 2015.  Until these capabilities are in place, the agencies will not be able to provide key environmental data that are important for sustaining climate and space weather measurements.”  (GAO, Environmental Satellites - Strategy Needed to Sustain Critical Climate and Space Weather Measurements, U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-10-456, April 2010, p. 7 and Highlights of GAO-10-456, p. 1)

2015.  The 2006 removal of key climate monitoring instruments from U.S. satellites is expected to cause critical gaps in collection of climate data beginning in 2015. 
Inez Fung, a noted climatologist at the University of California-Berkeley, was shocked as she scanned a recent federal report warning of impending gaps in the country's ability to monitor Earth from space.  The federal document, [Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites - Agencies Must Act Quickly to Address Risks That Jeopardize the Continuity of Weather and Climate Data], released [by the Government Accountability Office] in May [2010], listed cuts in climate-monitoring sensors from the next generation of Earth-observing satellites.

The current satellites beam down many types of indispensable data about the planet, such as ocean currents, ozone levels and snow cover, as well as the pictures we see every day on TV weathercasts.  But key [climate and weather data collection] instruments on the new satellites [were eliminated during the Bush Administration in 2006]. . .

Combined with a five-year delay in launching these next-generation satellites, with the first scheduled to blast off in 2011, these canceled or ‘degraded’ instruments leave the nation facing critical gaps in satellite monitoring of the planet beginning in 2015, the report stated  . . .

These cuts spell a 46 percent decline in data about the Earth's conditions that these new satellites were designed to provide, and the Government Accountability Office report concluded that because of the trouble-plagued satellite program, ‘our nation's ability to understand climate change may be limited.’ [See GAO Highlights page, Environmental Satellites - Strategy Needed to Sustain Critical Climate and Space Weather Measurements].” (Suzanne Bohan, “A dimmer view of Earth,” Contra Costa Times - McClatchy-Tribune News, Walnut Creek, California, September 6, 2010)

Listen to NPR's report "Climate-Tracker Satellite Crashes During Launch" at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Extinctions by Global Warming

2008 - 2018. Projected extinction of Adélie penguin population around Palmer Station, Antarctica.  “A small residual population [Adélie penguins] on Humble Island [near Palmer Station, Antarctica] may survive the climatic shift down the peninsula, [seabird ecologist Bill Fraser of the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research (PAL LTER) project] guessed, but the overall prognosis is that in the next decade the Adélies around Palmer will be gone. ‘Their numbers are in catastrophic decline,’ Fraser said.” (Peter Rejcek, “Antarctic Sun Editor, “Local extinction - Adélie penguins disappearing from Palmer LTER study area,” Antarctic Sun, March 28, 2008)  

View Fen Montaigne's narrative of his experience in the Antarctic with the declining populations of Adélie penguins on the Palmer peninsula
.  Listen to Fen Montaigne's New Yorker Magazine podcast "Penguin's in Peril."

___________________________________________________  

All of this that Bill Fraser has witnessed at the poles where the warming is much more rapid than it is here in the United States, is headed our way. (3)

— Fen Montaigne, Author

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2012 – 2017.  Adelie penguins in Antarctica projected to be locally extinct by 2012 to 2017 if current temperature trends continue.  “Ecologists have warned that Adelie penguins in Antarctica face extinction within five to ten years [2012 – 2017], because of the rapid warming of the region due to climate change.  ‘That region has experienced the most rapid warming during winter on the planet,’ said Bill Fraser, an ecologist with the Polar Oceans Research Group in Sheridan, Montana.  ‘The mid-winter temperatures are now around 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius) higher than they were 50 years ago,’ he added.  According to a report in the National Geographic News, if this trend continues, Adelie penguins will be locally extinct within five to ten years.” (“Adelie penguins in Antarctica in danger of extinction within 10 years,” The Hindustan Times, December 29, 2007)

Ozone Layer and Antarctic Ozone Hole 2015

2007-2017.  Very large holes in the ozone layer over the Antarctic continent predicted by NASA during the years 2007-2017.  "Our current predictions right now [are] that . . . [f]or about the next ten years or so [2007 - 2017], we'll see very large ozone holes.  Then after about 2017 or 2018 in there, [the ozone holes will] start getting smaller and smaller and smaller.  By 2070 [the ozone layer] should be back to a 1980 level."  (Dr. Paul Newman, senior atmospheric physicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, quoted in Maria Frostic, "Exploring Ozone," Ozone Resource Page, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC, October 19, 2007, Track 1:57)

2015. Antarctic ozone hole will continue to expand through 2015.   “Some existing agreements, even when implemented, will not be able by 2015 to reverse the targeted environmental damage they were designed to address. The Montreal Protocol is on track to restore the stratospheric ozone layer over the next 50 years. Nevertheless, the seasonal Antarctic ozone hole will expand for the next two decades [2000-2020] — increasing the risk of skin cancer in countries like Australia, Argentina, and Chile—because of the long lag time between emission reductions and atmospheric effects.”   (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p. 31)

Energy Workforce Shortages

2010-2015.  40% to 60% of the U.S. energy industry workforce projected to retire.  “[It is] estimated that between 40% and 60% of the U.S. energy workforce will retire over the next five (5) years.  So we’re really hitting kind of a perfect storm, if you will.  That’s something that we’re all very concerned about in the future.”  Energy workforce shortage.  (Kristina Johnson, Under Secretary of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, “Innovation and the Transformation of the Global Energy System,” video-conferenced from her office in Washington, DC, Google Tech Talk, GooglePlex, Mountain View, California, November 30, 2009)

2005 – 2007.  Predictions of workforce shortages of 40% of the energy workforce retiring with no new replacement entries foreseen.  “Perhaps the greatest looming shortage is in people.  For two decades, the energy industry tried to cope with poor financial returns through constant downsizing and company-wide layoffs each time oil prices collapsed.  As a result, few new people have entered the energy business in many years.  It was too risky and too many other parts of our economy were far better places to work. When the biggest source of new rig hands started coming from prison parolees, this was a sure sign that the industry’s people equation had reached crisis stage.  There is anecdotal evidence that about 40% of the energy workforce will retire within the next five to seven years with almost no new entries into the energy workforce.” (Matthew R. Simmons, President, Simmons & Company International, Congressional Testimony Before the Senate Budget Committee, Washington, DC, January 30, 2001)

Raw Materials Shortages 2015

2015.  Shortage of rare earth elements essential to manufacture key green technologies predicted by 2015.  “‘Rare earths’ are a collection of 17 rare chemical elements in the periodic table.  Every year, sales of these rare metals seem somewhat insignificant — adding up to less than $2 billion U.S. dollars — but without them, industries worth trillions of dollars would grind to a halt.  A wide range of gadgets and consumer goods, including the hybrid car, [compact fluorescent light bulbs] and generators for wind turbines consume these little-known elements. 

Industry experts are predicting an annual shortage of 44,000 tons by 2015. . . . With a reduction in exports [of rare earth products] from China and continued growth in demand elsewhere, there’s an imbalance between supply and demand.  California company Molycorp Minerals hopes to replace China as the leading supplier of these scarce materials. . . . Production of hybrid cars and wind turbines is expected to climb sharply, with more people wanting cleaner transportation and energy alternatives that reduce dependence on fossil fuels.” ("Rare Earths Shortage Expected by 2015 – Experts Gather in Hong Kong,” NTD Television, New York, November 19, 2009)

Rare earths are a group of 17 metallic elements used in a wide range of products such as wind turbines, light-emitting diodes (LED), hybrid or electric vehicles, fiber optic devices, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, battery electrodes, lasers, computers, cellphones, cars, catalytic converters, televisions, superconductors, radar systems, oil refineries, advanced weapons systems, and many more.  Neodymium is of these 17 elements. 

Wind turbines contain very large neodymium magnets that are part of the generator that produces electricity from the spinning blades.  Toyota Motor Corp., which uses rare earths for its hybrid vehicles like the Prius, plans to switch from motors that require rare earths to special induction motors that do not require rare earth elements.   

Oil 2015 |Oil Supply | Oil Shortages 2015

2015.  Worldwide oil supply shortage could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day by 2015.  “The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years [by 2012] and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.  The energy crisis outlined in a Joint Operating Environment report from the US Joint Forces Command, comes as the price of petrol in Britain reaches record levels and the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.  ‘By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day,’ says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.  It adds: ‘While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.’” (Terry Macalister, “US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015,” Guardian.co.uk, London, England, United Kingdom, Sunday April 11, 2010 reporting findings in United States Joint Forces Command - USJFCOM, The Joe 2010 - Joint Operating Agreement, Norfolk, Virginia, February 18, 2010, p. 29)

2015.  Energy demand in 2015 will not present a major supply challenge.  “Meeting the increase in demand for energy will pose neither a major supply challenge nor lead to substantial price increases in real terms. Estimates of the world’s total endowment of oil have steadily increased as technological progress in extracting oil from remote sources has enabled new discoveries and more efficient production. Recent estimates indicate that 80 percent of the world’s available oil still remains in the ground, as does 95 percent of the world’s natural gas.”  (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p. 28)

2015.  By 2015 75% of Persian Gulf oil will be delivered to Asia.  “By 2015, only one-tenth of Persian Gulf oil will be directed to Western markets; three-quarters will go to Asia.”  (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p. 28)

Energy Prices 2015

2015. Energy prices are likely to become more unstable during 2000-2015 period. "Oil-producing countries will continue to exert leverage on the market to increase prices but are unlikely to achieve stable high prices.  Energy prices are likely to become more unstable in the next 15 years [2000-2015], as periodic price hikes are followed by price collapses.” (Global Trends 2015, NIC 2000-02, National Intelligence Council, Washington, DC, December 2000, p.30) 

2016.  Solar energy predicted to be the least expensive source of electricity by 2016.  “The [Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008] puts the sun to work for every American.  And by 2016, we expect solar energy to be the least expensive source of electricity for consumers.”  (Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association -SEIA, quoted in Federal Solar Tax Credits Extended for 8 Years, US Poised to Become Largest Solar Market in the World, SEIA press release, Washington, DC, Friday, October 3, 2008)

Coal-Fired Power Plants 2015

2015.  Nine coal-fired power plants to be shut down by TVA by 2015.  “TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority] announced Tuesday [August 24, 2010] it will shutter nine of its 59 coal-fired units by 2015, including six at Widows Creek, two at the John Sevier plant near Rogersville, Tenn., and one at the Shawnee plant near Paducah, Ky.  The moves will idle 1,000 megawatts of power generation and could cut TVA’s coal staff by more than 200 employees, including many at the 290-employee Widows Creek plantTVA President Tom Kilgore said he expects to replace the power with new nuclear and gas-fired generation. Any employee layoffs should be minimized by staggering where and when the coal shutdowns will occur, he said. . . .

Kilgore said TVA has no plans to build more coal-fired generation for the next decade. Other coal units could be phased out after 2015, he said, especially if new regulations are adopted to limit carbon dioxide emissions linked with global warming or tighter limits are placed on smog or mercury emissions.  ‘These are older units; we are faced with increasing regulations, and we have newer generation coming on to replace these plants,’ Kilgore said.”  (Dave Flessner, “TVA shutters old coal units,” Wednesday, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 25, 2010) 

China

2015.  China to mine 25% more coal by 2015.  “Last month [July 2010] , the International Energy Agency published data showing that China is now the world's largest consumer of energy.  Three years ago [2007], China became the world's largest carbon-dioxide emitter.  And while, in a public speech, Premier Wen threatened to use an ‘iron hand’ to control inefficient, runaway energy use, at the same time his government launched a new five-year plan to mine 25 percent more coal, 3.6 billion tons, by 2015.”  (Joel Brinkley, “China's coal addiction,” San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, August 1, 2010, p. E-6)

2015.  China’s coal consumption projected to reach 2.3 billion tons by 2015.  “As China's current consumption of 1.3 billion tons of coal rises to almost 2 billion in 2010 [actual 3.7 billion short tons for 2010] and 2.3 billion in 2015, [Charles Johnson, an expert on coal pollution at the East-West Center in Honolulu] says China is slowly beginning to implement environmental technologies. ‘Even then the situation is going to worsen over the next decade,’ he says.” (Sheila Tefft, Staff writer, “Rush to Burn Coal Turns China Into Asia's Polluter,” Christian Science Monitor, August 30, 1995, p. 1)  China’s coal consumption surpassed 2.3 billion tons in 2005 (ten years ahead of schedule) reaching 2.4 short tons that year.

Cost of Global Warming | Climate Disruption Costs

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[A]pproximately 75% of the world’s coral reefs are currently threatened by a combination of local and global pressures. (9)

February 23, 2011

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2015.  By 2015 the cost in lost income of degraded coral reefs is projected to reach several hundred million dollars annually.  “Marine and coastal ecosystems of the islands are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Sea-level rise, increasing water temperatures, rising storm intensity, coastal inundation and flooding from extreme events, beach erosion, ocean acidification, increased incidences of coral disease, and increased invasions by non-native species are among the threats that endanger the ecosystems that provide safety, sustenance, economic viability, and cultural and traditional values to island communities. . . . Coral reefs sustain fisheries and tourism, have biodiversity value, scientific and educational value, and form natural protection against wave erosion.[542]

For Hawaii alone, net benefits of reefs to the economy are estimated at $360 million annually, and the overall asset value is conservatively estimated to be nearly $10 billion.[542] In the Caribbean, coral reefs provide annual net benefits from fisheries, tourism, and shoreline protection services of between $3.1 billion and $4.6 billion. The loss of income by 2015 from degraded reefs is conservatively estimated at several hundred million dollars annually.[532, 543]” (Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, Thomas R. Karl, Jerry M. Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson, (eds.). U.S. Global Change Research Program, Cambridge University Press, 2009, p. 148)

Other Events, Forecasts and Projections Converging in 2015

U.S. Economy

2015.  Outsourcing of jobs estimated to cause U.S. tax revenue losses of $34 billion by 2015.  “As U.S. companies shift jobs to low-paid workers in developing nations, a growing number of economists and politicians worry that offshore outsourcing could damage the nation's fiscal health by draining tax coffers. . . . [U]p to one-quarter of lost wages translate to lost tax revenues, by conventional accounting methods. So if 3.3 million white-collar jobs and $136 billion in wages move overseas by 2015 as Forrester Research predicts, that means federal, state and local tax receipts could decline as much as $34 billion.  ‘Here's the big reason why tax revenues are declining: All these jobs are leaving the country,’ said John McGowan, professor of accounting at Saint Louis University. ‘We need to start talking about this problem and not just blithely saying, 'Free trade is the solution' just because it boosts corporate profits and Wall Street likes it.’  Cynthia Kroll, senior regional economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said offshoring could jeopardize U.S. dominance in emerging fields such as genetics and nanotechnology. She estimates that about one in nine jobs nationwide -- one in six in Silicon Valley -- could be vulnerable.” (Rachel Konrad, AP Business Writer, “Offshoring jobs could drain public coffers, critics warn,” Associated Press, April 6, 2004)

2015.  Retirement of baby boomers projected to result in a $413 billion loss of U.S. economic output.  “A new study projects the retirement of the baby boomer generation will cost the economy $413 billion in lost economic output by 2015. . . . If a new Federal Reserve report is correct, the lost labor of the 77 million boomers will be so hard to replace that over the next decade the national economy will grow at a significantly slower pace than it has in the past 10 years.  How much slower? The lost growth, by one estimate, will come to $1,322 per person by 2015 - or $13 billion, equal to nearly double the value of all goods and services produced in Minnesota in 2004.  That's a lot of money for what sounds like a small change: an average growth rate in the next 10 years that's 0.3 percent slower than it would be without the boomer exodus.  The new report predicting that outcome was compiled by five economists at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Their preliminary draft (the final version is expected in July) has been called ‘revolutionary’ by one Wall Street economist.” (Mike Meyers, Staff Writer, 612-673-1746, “Workforce Fadeout,” Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 23, 2006, p. 1D reporting findings of preliminary draft report of Stephanie R. Aaronson, Bruce Fallick, Andrew Figura, and Jonathan F. Pingle, and William L. Wascher, “The Recent Decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Implications for Potential Labor Supply,” Brookings Paper on Economic Activity, vol. 1, 2006, pp. 69-154)

Food Supplies

2015.  USDA projects 40% of U.S. vegetables to be imported from China by 2015.  “Imagine grocery stores void of fresh produce, or any foods made with fruits, vegetables or nuts.  It's not an impossible scenario if the mysterious killer that's been wiping out the nation's honeybees since last fall [2006] isn't found soon.  Honeybees don't just make honey; they pollinate some of the tastiest flowering crops we have.  Among them are apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash and cucumbers. And lots of sweet and tart stuff, too, including citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons.

‘About 1/3 of the human diet is from pollinated plants,’ said Mike Price, owner of Bees- N-the-Keys. ‘Of those plants, 80 percent of them are pollinated by the honeybee. So life would change drastically if the bees disappeared.’ . . . Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees.  So if the collapse [honeybee colony collapse disorder] worsens, we could end up being ‘stuck with grains and water,’ said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for USDA's bee and pollination program. ‘This is the biggest general threat to our food supply.’ . . . [S]tates and industries [are paying] to have [honeybee] colonies transported to help support their own crops.  For example, growers in California are paying thousands of dollars to beekeepers to send their bees to help support the state's almond production. California is the world's largest producer of almonds - which cannot grow without honeybees.  [Jerry Hayes, chief of the apiary section of the Florida Bureau of Plant & Apiary Inspection] said that 1 million honeybee colonies are needed annually by California's almond industry to maintain production levels. There are only 2.4 million colonies in the whole country.  It's no wonder then why many fruit and vegetable crops are facing shortages, Hayes said.

The USDA is estimating that by 2015, 40 percent of our nation's vegetables will be imported from China, and by 2050, the U.S. will be a net food importer, meaning we'll be importing more food than we export.  Hayes said there's no easy or practical way to mimic pollination either.  ‘In China they have thousands of guys that go around with Q-tips,’ he said. ‘They work for a bowl of rice.’” (Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press, “Agriculture community abuzz over honeybee die-off,” The Key West Citizen, Key West, Florida, May 13, 2007, p. D001)

Technology

2014.  Energy saving solar technology to be built into asphalt, paint and windows. According to an IBM survey conducted with researchers at IBM's research labs, in the next five years [2009 - 2014], “[s]olar energy will become an affordable option for you and your neighbors. Until now, the materials and the process of producing solar cells to convert into solar energy have been too costly for widespread adoption. But now this is changing with the creation of ‘thin-film’ solar cells, a new type of cost-efficient solar cell that can be 100 times thinner than silicon-wafer cells and produced at a lower cost.  These new thin-film solar cells can be ‘printed’ and arranged on a flexible backing, suitable for not only the tops, but also the sides of buildings, tinted windows, cell phones, notebook computers, cars, and even clothing.” (Samson Tai, Chief Technologist, IBM Innovation Network, Hong Kong, Life-changing innovations for the next five years, IBM press release, Armonk, New York, March 29, 2009)

Medical Care | Doctor Shortages | Nurse Shortages

2015.  U.S. national doctor shortage of 62,900 projected for 2015.  “Nationwide physician shortages are expected to balloon to 62,900 doctors in five years [2015] and 91,500 by 2020, according to new Assn. of American Medical Colleges [AAMC] work force projections.  That's up more than 50% from previous estimates.  AAMC officials attribute the widening gap to increased demands from the aging baby boomer generation and expansion of coverage by 2019 to 32 million uninsured Americans under the health system reform law.  ‘As you get more people put in the ranks of the insured, that is going to make the shortage get worse a lot more quickly,’ said Atul Grover, MD, PhD, AAMC chief advocacy officer.” (Carolyne Krupa amednews staff, “Physician shortage projected to soar to more than 91,000 in a decade - Increases in residency positions are needed to counter rising demand for Medicare and expanded coverage for the uninsured under health reform, the AAMC says,” American Medical News, October 11, 2010) 

 Standard of Living

2015 (and for decades to come).  Global retirement crisis projected to force workers to work beyond retirement age, face a declining standard of living and rising poverty rates.  “A global retirement crisis is bearing down on workers of all ages.  Spawned years before the Great Recession and the 2008 financial meltdown, the crisis was significantly worsened by those twin traumas. It will play out for decades, and its consequences will be far-reaching.  Many people will be forced to work well past the traditional retirement age of 65. Living standards will fall and poverty rates will rise for the elderly in wealthy countries that built safety nets for seniors after World War II. . . . What is less appreciated is [the] combined ferocity and global scope [of the retirement crisis].  ‘Most countries are not ready to meet what is sure to be one of the defining challenges of the 21st century,’ the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington concludes. . . . Leslie Lynch, 52, of Glastonbury, Conn., had $30,000 in her 401(k) retirement account when she lost her $65,000-a-year job last year at an insurance company.  She'd worked there 28 years.  She's depleted her retirement savings trying to stay afloat.  ‘I don't believe that I will ever retire now,’ she says.” (AP 2013, Paul Wiseman, David Mchugh And Elaine Kurtenbach, “The world braces for retirement crisis,” Associated Press, Washington, DC, December 30, 2013)

Government Procurement Workforce Shortages

2015.  Projected loss of 54 percent of U.S. government federal contracting officers eligible for retirement in 2015.  “Crunch time for the federal acquisition workforce hits in 2015.  That's when 54 percent of contracting officers will be eligible to retire, according to a recently released report by the Federal Acquisition Institute. That is a sharp jump from fiscal 2005, when only 13 percent were eligible.  The loss of experienced officers could be severe at the Small Business Administration, where 81 percent of contracting officers will be eligible to retire in 2015, and at the Army, the Navy and the Energy, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services departments, where at least 60 percent will be eligible for retirement. . . .

For federal procurement, however, a wave of retirements could be especially critical. Contracting officers oversee about $350 billion a year in spending, and there are concerns that not enough mid-career professionals will be left to replace retirees because of budget and staff cuts in the 1990s that thinned the ranks.” (Stephen Barr, “Another Warning of a Retiring Workforce,” Washington Post, Monday, August 14, 2006 reporting findings in Federal Acquisition Institute, 703-805-2300, "Annual Report on the Federal Acquisition Workforce," www.fai.gov, U.S. General Services Administration, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Washington, DC, July 2006)

China 2015 

2015.  Total household wealth in China could rise to $35 trillion by 2015.   “The inaugural report by the Credit Suisse Research Institute, launched in Zurich on Friday, global wealth will grow 61 per cent to reach $315 trillion in another five years. The report defines wealth as the value of financial assets and non-financial assets (mainly real estate), minus household debt. . . . China is the third-largest wealth generator in the world, with total household wealth of $16.5 trillion, behind only the US ($54.6 trillion) and Japan ($21.0 trillion). If trends continue, total household wealth in China could rise 111 percent to $35 trillion by 2015. China is 35 percent ahead of the wealthiest European country, France.” Saturday, October 9, 2010 reporting findings in Credit Suisse, Global Wealth Report, Credit Suisse Research Institute, Zurich, Switzerland, October 2010)

2015.  China to make an unmanned landing on moon and return with moon samples.  “China broke ground on its fourth space center Monday [September 14, 2009], highlighting the country's soaring space ambitions six years after it sent its first man into orbit. The space port on the southern island province of Hainan incorporates a launch site and mission control center for slinging the country's massive new rockets into space carrying satellites and components for a future space station and deep space exploration. . . . Officials say plans call for an unmanned moon landing around 2012, a mission to return samples in 2015, and possibly a manned lunar mission by 2017 - three years ahead of an initial U.S. target date for returning to the moon.” (Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press Writer, “China Breaks Ground on Space Launch Center,” U.S. News & World Report, September 14, 2009)

2015. China expected to have between 75 and 100 long-range nuclear missiles pointed at the United States by 2015.  “China is expected to have between 75 and 100 long-range nuclear missiles pointed at the United States by 2015, roughly quadruple the current number, according to a CIA report released yesterday [Wednesday, January 9, 2002].  Many of those intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) will be on mobile launchers, helping China maintain a nuclear deterrent against the vastly larger U.S. missile force, says the report, titled "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015."  Echoing earlier intelligence estimates, the report also says North Korea and Iran probably will have long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States by 2015.” (John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press, “By 2015, China likely to have 75-100 ICBMs aimed at U.S.,” Thursday, January 10, 2002 reporting findings in "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat Through 2015," Unclassified, National Intelligence Council, December 2001)

2015.  USDA projects 40% of U.S. vegetables to be imported from China by 2015.  See Food Supplies.

(1) Dr. David Carlson, Director of the International Polar Year (IPY) quoted in Jess Worth, “When the ice melts: what's in store as the world's coldest dwelling place heats up?,” New Internationalist, July 1, 2009)
(2) Jay Zwally, EOS ICESat quoted in “NASA Scientists See Hastened Arctic Warming,” Voice of America, Washington, DC, January 9, 2008
(3) Mark Serreze, senior scientist at National Snow and Ice Data Center quoted in John Roach, “Arctic Ice at All-Time Low,” National Geographic News, August 20, 2007
(4) Fen Montaigne, "The Last Penguin," The New Yorker Magazine, Audio Slide Show, Track 2:24, December 21, 2009
(5) Inez Fung, University of California Climatologist quoted in  Suzanne Bohan, “A dimmer view of Earth,” Contra Costa Times - McClatchy-Tribune News, Walnut Creek, California, September 6, 2010
(6) Mark Shwartz, communications manager, Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, “Heat waves and extremely high temperatures could be commonplace in the U.S. by 2039, Stanford study finds,” Stanford Report, July 8, 2010 citing findings in Diffenbaugh, Noah, and Moetasim Ashfaq. Intensification of hot extremes in the United States. Geophysical. Research Letters, (in press) DOI: 10.1029/2010GL043888, August 6, 2010
(7) Pat Mulroy, general manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority quoted in Henry Brean, hbrean@reviewjournal.com, 702-383-0350 “Water Authority: Mulroy calls new Lake Mead intake system is critical,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 22, 2009
(8) Pat Mulroy, general manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority quoted in Eric Wolff, ewolff@nctimes.com, 760-740-5412, “Hoover Dam could stop generating electricity as soon as 2013, officials fear,” North County Times, Escondido, California, September 12, 2010
(9) Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA, citing research findings of the World Resources Institute study "Reefs at Risk Revisited" in her Keynote Address 'Reefs at Risk: Global Threats Require Global Action' to the World Resources Institute at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, February 23, 2011
(10) Dr. Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy, National Clean Energy Summit, UNLV, Las Vegas, Nevada, December 5, 2008

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