Global Warming 2020 | Climate Change 2020
Heat Waves 2020
2020. Stanford study projects that intense heat waves are likely to occur as many as five times between 2020 and 2029 over areas of the western and central U.S. “Exceptionally long heat waves and other hot events could become commonplace in the United States in the next 30 years [2010 – 2039], according to a new study by Stanford University climate scientists. ‘Using a large suite of climate model experiments, we see a clear emergence of much more intense, hot conditions in the U.S. within the next three decades,’ said Noah Diffenbaugh, an assistant professor of environmental Earth system science at Stanford and the lead author of the study. . . . The [study, Intensification of hot extremes in the United States], took two years to complete and is co-authored by Moetasim Ashfaq, a former Stanford postdoctoral fellow now at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The study comes on the heels of a recent NASA report that concluded that the previous decade, January 2000 to December 2009, was the warmest on record. . . . ‘This was an unprecedented experiment,’ Diffenbaugh said. ‘With the high-resolution [RegCM3] climate model, we can analyze geographic quadrants that are only 15.5 miles [25 kilometers] to a side. No one has ever completed this kind of climate analysis at such a high resolution.’ The results were surprising.
According to the climate models, an intense heat wave – equal to the longest on record from 1951 to 1999 [a period of 48 years] – is likely to occur as many as five times between 2020 and 2029 [a period of 9 years] over areas of the western and central United States. . . .
Besides harming human health and agriculture, these hot, dry conditions could lead to more droughts and wildfires in the near future, he said. And many of these climate change impacts could occur within the next two decades [2010-2030] -- years before the planet is likely to reach the 2-degree C threshold targeted by some governments and climate experts, [Diffenbaugh] added.” (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, published August 6, 2010)
The Diffenbaugh, and Ashfaq forecasts published in 2010 do not include contributions of carbon and methane emissions released from melting permafrost.
Number of Extremely Hot Seasons Per Decade 2020-2029
Projected heat for U.S. -- Source: Diffenbaugh and Ashfaq, Aug., 6, 2010.
2020. By 2020 excess U.S. annual summer deaths due to extreme heat events projected to reach 1,981 to 4,100. “In a study on the impact of future climate scenarios on mortality in 44 cities [SMSAs], Kalkstein and Greene estimate that by 2020, under a business-as-usual emissions scenario, excess annual summer deaths will increase from 1840 to 1981 – 4100 (depending on the GCM used), and by 2050 up to 3190 – 4748 excess deaths will occur each summer.” Global warming death rates. (George Luber, MA, PhD, Michael McGeehin, PhD, MSPH, “Climate Change and Extreme Heat Events,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2008;35(5):429–435, November 2008, p. 431 citing findings in Laurence S. Kalkstein and J. Scott Greene, “An evaluation of climate/mortality relationships in large U.S. cities and the possible impacts of a climate change,” Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 105, No. 1, January 1997, Table 4 and pp. 90-91)
For a more comprehensive compilation of forecasts see global warming heat waves.
2020. Temperatures on Earth projected by 2020 to be at the hottest levels in 150,000 years. “Astronomer and author Carl Sagan says a closer look at Venus could help inspire Earth's residents to break their dependence on fossil fuels. Speaking to more than 1,000 people Thursday [September 13, 1990] at the College of Southern Idaho, Sagan said Venus is an incredibly hot, barren planet because of the intense greenhouse effect there. And that should be a lesson to people on Earth, which faces a worsening greenhouse effect with the continued use of fuels like oil and coal, which produce carbon dioxide that traps heat in the atmosphere.
Venus is an incredibly hot, barren planet because of the intense greenhouse effect there. And that should be a lesson to people on Earth, which faces a worsening greenhouse effect with the continued use of fuels like oil and coal, which produce carbon dioxide that traps heat in the atmosphere. (1)
— Carl Sagan
Pulitzer Prize winner
Twin Falls, Idaho
Droughts, Global Warming
models project States in the American southwest face permanent drought.
“’Dust Bowl’ drought driven by global warming will be the normal
climate of the future for the American Southwest, report
climatologists. ‘We're essentially moving the desert further north,’
says Mingfang Ting of
Columbia University, co-author of a study
released Thursday by the journal Science.
By 2020, rain estimates show ‘very unusual’ agreement among climate
projections, with the Southwestern states facing permanent drought.
That would worsen already arid conditions in Las Vegas, Phoenix and
other locales dependent on the Colorado River, Ting says.” (Dan Vergano,
“Study forecasts new 'Dust Bowl',” USA
Virginia, April 6, 2007, p. 8A citing findings from Richard
Seager, Mingfang Ting,
Isaac Held, Yochanan Kushnir, Jian Lu, Gabriel Vecchi, Huei-Ping
Huang, Nili Harnik, Ants Leetmaa, Ngar-Cheung Lau, Cuihua Li,
Jennifer Velez, Naomi Naik, “Model
Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in
Southwestern North America,” Science DOI: 10.1126/Science.1139601, published online April 5,
2021. Perpetual drought projected for Texas as early as 2021. “Texas almost certainly faces a future of perpetual drought as bad as the record dry years of the 1950s because of global warming, climate scientists said in a study [Model Projections of an Imminent Transition to a More Arid Climate in Southwestern United States] published Thursday [April 5, 2007]. The trend toward a drier, hotter southwestern U.S., including all of Texas, probably has already begun and could become strikingly noticeable within about 15 years, according to a study led by Richard Seager of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Water Shortages | Water Scarcity
2021. 50% chance that Lake Mead will be dry by 2021. “There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, according to a pair of researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Without Lake Mead and neighboring Lake Powell, the Colorado River system has no buffer to sustain the population of the Southwest through an unusually dry year, or worse, a sustained drought. In such an event, water deliveries would become highly unstable and variable, said research marine physicist Tim Barnett and climate scientist David Pierce. . . .
"We were stunned at the magnitude of the problem [of Lake Mead drying up] and how fast it was coming at us. Make no mistake, this water problem is not a scientific abstraction, but rather one that will impact each and every one of us that live in the Southwest." (8)
— Tim P. Barnett, Ph.D.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
2020. Chronic water shortages in California. “This is the vision state water planners have for California: Chronic water shortages by the year 2020. Increasing competition among farmers, cities and the environment for supplies. An area nearly the size of Riverside taken out of irrigated farming. City dwellers increasingly will be required to conserve. More water will be transferred from farms to cities. More costly reservoirs and canals must be built to carry water and store it against drought needs. And, nearly 50 million people thirsting for water.” (Douglas E. Beeman, “State faces thirsty future, report says,” The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, California, February 2, 1994, p. A07)
"Populations are outrunning the water supply." (2)
— Joe Grindstaff, General Manager
Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority
2020. Between 75 million and 250 million in Africa projected to suffer from water shortages. “Climate change will aggravate the water stress currently faced by some countries, while some countries that currently do not experience water stress will become at risk of water stress (very high confidence). Climate change and variability are likely to impose additional pressures on water availability, water accessibility and water demand in Africa. Even without climate change, several countries in Africa, particularly in northern Africa, will exceed the limits of their economically usable land-based water resources before 2025. About 25% of Africa’s population (about 200 million people) currently experience high water stress. The population at risk of increased water stress in Africa is projected to be between 75-250 million and 350-600 million people by the 2020s and 2050s, respectively.” (IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, Chapter 9-Africa, p. 435)
For more detailed chronological forecasts of water supply and water shortages, see global warming and water.
Wildfires, Global Warming
2020. Global warming projected to cost New Mexico $488 million in wildfire-related costs in 2020 if greenhouse gases are not reduced. “If nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, New Mexico could experience some $3.2 billion in associated costs -- led primarily by wildfires and health-care. This could translate to an individual tab of about 8 percent of annual household income by 2020, according to a report produced for the University of Oregon's the Climate Leadership Initiative's Program on Climate Economics by ECONorthwest. . .New Mexico will face more frequent wildfires amid prolonged heat waves, significant reductions in precipitation except for northern regions where increases are anticipated and increased seasonal droughts and floods.
See a more comprehensive summary of global warming fire forecasts.
Ice Free Arctic | Arctic Melting
2020. Arctic will be largely open water in summer by 2020 (see NASA Goddard's 2013 ice free projection for the Arctic). “The Arctic Ocean is likely to be largely ice-free every summer within ten years. New data released today by the Catlin Arctic Survey
and WWF supports the new consensus view that the Arctic will be mostly
open water in summer by 2020. The Catlin Arctic Survey team, led by Pen Hadow,
carried out more than 6,000 measurements and observations between March
and May this year on a 450km route across the northern part of the
Beaufort Sea. This region of the Arctic Ocean is normally covered with
thick, multi-year ice at that time of year (the Arctic winter), but the
survey results instead indicate a thin, first-year ice covering."
Glaciers Melting, Global Warming
2020. Year the Bolivian Chacaltaya glacier — which disappeared in 2009-2010 — was forecast to disappear. “The glaciers that ring the [Bolivian] cities [of La Paz and El Alto]
have essentially provided natural low-maintenance storage, collecting
water in the short rainy season and releasing it for water and
electricity in the long dry one. With warmer temperatures and changing
rainfall, they no longer do so. ‘The effects are appearing much more
rapidly than we can respond to them, and a reservoir takes five to
seven years to build. I’m not sure we have that long,’ said Edson
Ramírez, a Bolivian glaciologist who has documented and projected the
glaciers’ retreat for two decades. The retreat has outpaced his
wildest predictions. He had predicted that one glacier, Chacaltaya,
would last until 2020. It disappeared this year. In 2006, he said El Alto water demand would outstrip supply by 2009. It happened.” (Elisabeth Rosenthal, “In Bolivia, Water and Ice Tell of Climate Change,” The New York Times, December 14, 2009)
2020. No snow predicted for the Cascade Mountains in 2020. “Global warming will cause some mighty big calamities over the next century, unless we do something about it, fast. For example, a Canadian research firm is predicting no snow for the Cascade Mountains by 2020. Scientists say forests may begin disappearing on the eastern slopes of the mountains. And research models have shown that temperatures will rise 1 degree each decade over the next 50 years, with the water in the Columbia River being reduced by 20 percent.” (Jeremy Meyer, “Global Warming Also a Hot Local Issue -- Scientists warn of 'serious, nasty things coming' if we don't mend our polluting ways,” Yakima Herald-Republic, October 6, 1999)
2020. Glacier’s in Montana’s Glacier National Park expected to disappear by 2020 (revised from previous forecast of 2030). “It's an oft-repeated statistic that the glaciers at Montana's Glacier National Park will disappear by the year 2030. But Daniel Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist who works at Glacier, says the park's namesakes will be gone about ten years ahead of schedule, endangering the region's plants and animals. The 2030 date, he said, was based on a 2003 USGS study, along with 1992 temperature predictions by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
‘Temperature rise in our area was twice as great as what we put into the  model," Fagre said. ‘What we've been saying now is 2020.’ The 2020 estimate is based on aerial surveys and photography Fagre and his team have been conducting at Glacier since the early 1980s. A more standardized measure of what's happening to a glacier comes from arduous documentation of its mass, which requires—among other techniques—multiple core samples. Fagre said the 2020 estimate could be slightly revised after his team conducts the mass measurements—hopefully this year—and their computer models are retooled with current temperatures.” (Anne Minard, “No More Glaciers in Glacier National Park by 2020?,” National Geographic News, National Geographic, Washington, DC, March 2, 2009) Map of Glacier National Park. View photos of retreating glaciers in Glacier National Park.
2020. Mt. Kilimanjaro glacier projected to completely disappear by 2020 if melting continues at current rates. “Ohio State University geology professor [Dr. Lonnie Thompson] has been studying glaciers and climate change for more than 20 years. Last year he published the findings from research he has done on Kilimanjaro. According to Thompson's data, some 30 percent of the mountain's ice cap has disappeared since 1979. Fully 82 percent has melted since the glacier was first mapped in 1912. ‘If the [Kilimanjaro] glacier continues to melt at its current rate, it will have completely disappeared by 2020,’ says Thompson. ‘And that's a conservative estimate.’” (David Gough, “The Melting Mountain,” Newsweek International, February 25, 2002 citing findings published in 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 this AAAS interview with glaciologist, Dr. Lonnie Thompson. Listen to this NPR interview with Dr. Lonnie Thompson, Global Warming's Impact on Glaciers, NPR Talk of the Nation, February 10, 2006. Listen to other interviews with Dr. Lonnie Thompson.
It was all too much like visiting a sick friend in failing health. (3)
— Dr. Lonnie Thompson, Glaciologist
Climate Change Tipping Points 2020
2020 – 2030. Time frame when climate tipping point is projected to occur beginning the irreversible release of large volumes of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost. “An irreversible climate ‘tipping point’ could occur within the next 20 years [between 2020 and 2030] as a result of the release of huge quantities of organic carbon locked away as frozen plant matter in the vast permafrost region of the Arctic, scientists have found. Billions of tons of frozen leaves and roots [containing carbon] that have lain undisturbed for thousands of years in the permanently frozen ground of the northern hemisphere are thawing out, with potentially catastrophic implications for climate change, the researchers said."
Our research shows that the release of carbon from permafrost will
result in an irreversible climate tipping point in only 20 years...
Greenhouse Gas Emissions - CO2 Emissions 2020
2020. Global emissions of greenhouse gases need to peak by 2020 at the latest. “There is no consensus on what is considered a safe level of warming. To have a good chance of limiting it to 2C (3.6F), global emissions of greenhouse gases need to peak by 2020 at the latest, be more than halved by 2050 compared with their 1990 and continue to decline thereafter.” (“Climate: Factfile on the science,” AFP, Saturday, November 27, 2010)
2020. China projected to have 3 times as many coal-fired power plants as the U.S. has in 2009.
“China is building more and more coal-fired power plants and, by 2020,
will have three times as many as the United States has today.” (J. Wayne Leonard, CEO of Entergy, Op-Ed Contributor “A Better Shade of Green,” The New York Times, January 24, 2009)
2020. Sweden to
end its dependency on fossil fuels and become near oil-free economy by
2020. “Sweden is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced
western economy by trying to wean itself off oil completely within 15
years - without building a new generation of nuclear power stations.
The attempt by the country of 9 million people to become the world's
first practically oil-free economy is being planned by a committee of
industrialists, academics, farmers, car makers, civil servants and
others, who will report to parliament in several months. The intention,
the Swedish government said yesterday, is to replace all fossil fuels
with renewables before climate change destroys economies and growing oil
scarcity leads to huge new price rises.” (John Vidal, environment
editor, “Sweden plans to be world's first oil-free economy,” The
Guardian, London, United
Kingdom, Wednesday 8 February 2006)
"Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020.
There shall always be better alternatives to oil, which means no house should need oil for heating, and no driver should need to turn solely to gasoline.
A Sweden free of fossil fuels would give us enormous advantages, not least by reducing the impact from fluctuations in oil prices." (5)
— Mona Sahlin
2020. Russia to establish special Arctic border guard forces by 2020 to protect its political and economic interests in the Arctic.
“Russia plans to create by 2020 a group of forces to protect its
political and economic interests in the Arctic. ‘The military component
of the Arctic force will include units from the Northern and the
Pacific fleets and military districts whose northern borders lie in the
Arctic,’ the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Vyatcheslav Popov,
[head of the Commission on Maritime Policy in Federation Council] as
saying. Russia's announcement of creating the Arctic force has aroused
testy remarks from Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon,
who on Friday said ‘Canada will not be bullied’ when it comes to
safeguard its own Arctic interests. Several countries including Russia,
Canada, the United States and a number of Nordic European nations are
seeking to assert jurisdiction in the disputed territory in the Arctic
region, which holds many untapped natural resources. The dispute has
intensified as shrinking polar ice has allowed the opening of new
shipping lanes to those natural resources.” (“New Arctic force to aim at
border protection: Russian official,” Xinhua News Agency, March 30, 2009) See Russian National Security Strategy for 2020. See map of Russian territorial claims in the Arctic.
Cost of Global Warming | Climate Change Costs
2020. IEA projection that global spending on clean energy will need to increase to $23.9 trillion by 2020 in order to avoid missing climate targets. “Global investments in clean energy need to double by 2020 to avoid missing climate change targets, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday [June 11, 2012], calling on governments to spend more on technologies such as carbon storage and solar power. Some $23.9 trillion in investments are required by 2020 and $140 trillion by the middle of this century , when governments aim to keep the average rise in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius, the Paris-based organisation said. World nations will have to spend from now to 2050 $36 trillion more than what is currently foreseen, with China having to spend the most. But cash-strapped governments hit by the recession may take comfort in the IEA's assessment that every additional dollar invested in clean energy can generate three dollars in future fuel savings, with total savings offsetting investments by 2025. ‘Let me be straight. Our ongoing failure to realise the full potential of clean energy technology is alarming,’ IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said in a report. ‘Continued heavy reliance on a narrow set of technologies and fossil fuels is a significant threat to energy security, stable economic growth and global welfare, as well as to the environment,’ she said.” (Michel Rose, “IEA calls for doubling of clean energy spending by 2020, Reuters, Paris, France, Monday, June 11, 2012 reporting findings in International Energy Agency, Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 - Executive Summary, OECD/IEA, Paris, France, June 2012)
2020. Climate change could cost up to 3% of global GDP by 2020 if effective measures are not taken.
“‘The business and political leaders should realize that measures to
bring down emission levels would not cost more than 0.2 per cent of the
global GDP, but it could cost up to 3 per cent of world GDP by 2020,
and 5 per cent by 2030, if the temperature goes by 2-4 degree Celsius,’
[R K Pachauri] the head of the UN's Nobel Prize-winning scientific panel on climate change said.” (R K Pachauri, addressing the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland
quoted in Manoj Kumar, “Climate change may cost 5 pc global GDP by
2030: Pachauri,” PTI - The Press Trust of India Ltd., January 24, 2008)
For a more comprehensive compilation of forecasts see climate change costs.
State Rankings: Health Care Costs Associated with a Ground Level Ozone Climate Penalty of 2 ppb in 2020*
Source: UCS, Climate Change and Your Health: Rising Temperatures, Worsening Ozone, June 2011
population projected to be 8 billion in 2020. “Today nearly
every country ‘revolutionized’ by the Green Revolution
is importing food from the world's half-dozen grain exporters, most
notably the U.S. Yet even the U.S. faces severe problems. Exotic new
bugs proliferate. From Texas to Nebraska, water is in short supply and
growing shorter. With 400 million acres of farm land, the nation is
losing 3 million acres a year to erosion and urban development.
Meanwhile, world population keeps rising, and is likely to double to 8
billion by the year 2020.” (Claudia Wallis, Dick Thompson/San
Francisco, J. Madeleine Nash/Chicago, “Environment: Tampering with
Beans and Genes,” Time
Magazine, Monday, October
“[With the emergence of China and India as economic powers] three billion new consumers just walked onto the global economic playing field all with their own version (God Bless them) of the American Dream: A house, a car, a toaster, a microwave and a refrigerator.” (4)
Thomas L. Friedman
2020 – 2030.
Time frame when irreversible climate tipping point is projected to
occur due to carbon outgassing from melting permafrost. “An
irreversible climate ‘tipping point’
could occur within the next 20 years [between 2020 and 2030] as a
result of the release of huge quantities of organic carbon locked away
as frozen plant matter in the vast permafrost region of the Arctic,
scientists have found. Billions of tons of frozen leaves and roots
[containing carbon] that have lain undisturbed for thousands of years in
the permanently frozen ground of the northern hemisphere are thawing
out, with potentially catastrophic implications for climate change, the
Energy Demand | Energy Consumption
efficiency trends total energy consumption will rise by about 50%.
“The single most important factor affecting the demand for energy will
be global economic growth, particularly that of China and India.
Despite the trend toward more efficient energy use, total energy
consumed probably will rise by about 50 percent in the next two decades
compared to a 34 percent expansion from 1980-2000, with an increasing
share provided by petroleum.” (National Intelligence Council - CIA,
“Growing Demands for Energy,” Mapping
the Global Future - Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020
Project - Based on Consultations With
Non-Governmental Experts Around
the World, NIC 200413, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Pennsylvania, December 2004, p. 62)
“We were really surprised by these
huge straightforward [energy efficiency] opportunities that are not
being taken. In some senses, there is a big market failure.” (6)
Diana Farrell, Director
McKinsey Global Institute
Commenting on the failure
of the marketplace to
capitalize on the cost savings
and profit-maximizing opportunities
of implementing energy
2020. By 2020 the U.S. could reduce its non-transportation related energy consumption by as much as 23 percent if it invests enough political and financial capital. “Management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. released a report today suggesting the U.S. could reduce its non-transportation related energy consumption by as much as 23 percent by 2020 if it invests enough political and financial capital. The report indicates that reducing energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020 could eliminate more than $1.2 trillion in waste (at a rate of $130 billion annually), which would dramatically exceed the $520 billion investment required, i.e. $50 billion each a year over the next decade, plus program costs that would be required to put such energy efficiencies in place.
‘If we do nothing we will waste $1.2 trillion of energy,’ said Ken Ostrowski, a senior partner from McKinsey’s Atlanta office. . . [The] report’s authors caution that these energy savings can only be realized if the United States adopts a comprehensive strategy to overcoming significant barriers. Solutions should include information and education, incentives and financing, codes and standards, and third-party involvement, the report said. ‘The awareness levels aren’t there today, and that’s one of the barriers we have to overcome,’ Ostrowski said.” (Lisa Sibley, Cleantech Group, “McKinsey says U.S. energy use could be cut 23 percent by 2020,” Cleantech Group, LLC, San Francisco, California, July 29, 2009 citing findings from Hannah Choi Granade, Jon Creyts, Anton Derkach, Philip Farese, Scott Nyquist and Ken Ostrowski, McKinsey & Company, McKinsey Global Energy and Materials, “Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy,” July 2009, pp. iii, iv, 7, 91)
2020. U.S. transportation sector projected to generate 89 percent of the growth in petroleum demand through 2020. “The single most effective energy efficiency policy ever adopted by the federal government is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirement (CAFE).
Since its adoption in 1975, CAFE has cut U.S. oil consumption by over 1
billion barrels each year. Even with this progress, passenger vehicles
today consume approximately 40% of the petroleum in the United States –
with the transportation sector projected to generate 89 percent of the
growth in petroleum demand through 2020. And the federal government
has not significantly strengthened the CAFE standards in years, further
diminishing their effectiveness.” (Testimony of Dan W. Reicher,
Director, Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, Google.org, Before the
Senate Finance Committee, February 27, 2007, p. 4)
Agriculture Global Warming
2020. By 2020 agricultural yields could be reduced by up to 50% in some African countries. “Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries and regions is projected to be severely compromised by climate variability and change. The area suitable for agriculture, the length of growing seasons and yield potential, particularly along the margins of semi-arid and arid areas, are expected to decrease. This would further adversely affect food security and exacerbate malnutrition in the continent. In some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50% by 2020.” (M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Summary for Policymakers - Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, p. 13)
2020. Populations in lowland Africa may be forced to migrate if agricultural output is cut in half by 2020 as predicted. “The scale of the likely population shift [caused by global warming] raises big questions. Will climate-change migrants be recognised? The classic definition of refugees — tossed between states by war or tyranny — is outdated. Eco-migrants will be paperless paupers, whose multiple woes are hard to disentangle. . . . Can the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expand to cope with eco-migrants? . . . Charles Ehrhart of CARE thinks UNHCR will remain central, but wonders how it or anybody can now distinguish between ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ migration.
He says climate change may cut agricultural output by half in lowland Africa by 2020. ‘In such a context, does migration constitute a choice or a necessity?’ Migrants' rights may be easy to assert for islanders whose homes are drowned -- but hard in the case of big, messy movements across Africa and Asia. Most of the displaced will drift to the next-most-liveable place, as the poor do anyway. ‘Many states are already overwhelmed by internally displaced populations,’ says Mr Ehrhart. ‘Will they be able to support even more people on the move? If not, whose duty is it to make up the difference?’ At the least, the gap between carbon usage and climate change's effects portends angry North-South rows.” How will climate disruption impact Africa? (“A new (under) class of travellers; Migration and climate change,” The Economist, United States, June 27, 2009)
2020. Climate change projected to cause China’s per capita grain output to dramatically drop after 2020. “Climate change and extreme weather events pose a grave challenge to the country's food supply, agricultural researchers have warned. Gu Lianhong, a senior researcher with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US, said the lab's research had shown climate change will cause China's per capita grain output will dramatically drop after 2020, even taking technological progress into consideration. The study suggests the projected geographical pattern of earth's surface temperature will dramatically increase in the late 21st century (2090-2099). This will cause more extreme weather and climate events to impact such industries as agriculture, Gu said. He stressed that increasing droughts and heavy precipitation, more intense tropical cyclones and warmer days will very likely happen globally. ‘These [increasing droughts and heavy precipitation caused climate change] are all closely related with grain output,’ Gu said.” (Wang Qian, “Climate threatens China's food supply,” Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, China, June 22, 2010)
Disease, Global Warming
transmission risk projected to increase. “Diseases relayed by
malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and several kinds of
encephalitis—are among those eliciting the greatest concern as the
world warms. . . . Mosquito-borne disorders are projected to become
increasingly prevalent because their insect carriers, or ‘vectors,’ are
very sensitive to meteorological conditions. Cold can be a friend to
humans, because it limits mosquitoes to seasons and regions where
temperatures stay above certain minimums. Winter freezing kills many
eggs, larvae and adults outright. Anopheles mosquitoes, which transmit malaria
parasites (such as Plasmodium falciparum), cause
sustained outbreaks of malaria only where temperatures routinely exceed
60 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes,
for yellow fever and dengue fever, convey virus only where
temperatures rarely fall below 50 degrees F. . . . Risk of malaria
transmission will have risen in many parts of the world by 2020
(relative to the average risk in the years 1961 to 1990), according to
projections assuming a temperature increase of about two degrees
Fahrenheit.” (Paul R.
Global Warming Harmful to Health?,” Scientific
American, August, 2000)
of malaria risk hot spots.
Salmon, Global Warming
2020. Habitat for salmon, trout and steelhead fish likely to decrease dramatically as a result of higher greenhouse gas temperatures. “Increasing air temperatures lead to rising water temperatures, which increase stress on coldwater fish such as trout, salmon, and steelhead. August average air temperature above 70°F is a threshold above which these fish are severely stressed. Projected temperatures [in the Pacific Northwest U.S.] for the 2020s and 2040s under a higher [greenhouse gas] emissions scenario suggest that the habitat for these fish is likely to decrease dramatically.” (Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, Thomas R. Karl, Jerry M. Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson, (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009, p. 137) For map depicting projected impacts see Slide 17 of Washington State Climate Change Impacts Assessment: HB 1303 Key Findings (ppt) - Marketa McGuire Elsner and Jeremy Littell, Presented at the JISAO annual retreat, Seattle, Washington, March 20, 2009. See also Matua et al. 2009.
Shrinking Habitats for Salmon and Other Coldwater Fish
Storms, Hurricanes, Global Warming
2020. A single storm occurring in 2020 could cause damage losses on the order of $500 billion.
“To better understand the potential for catastrophic damage from future
hurricanes, scientists are looking to the past. And the future looks
very expensive, the scientists said this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
With wealth and property values increasing, and more people moving to
vulnerable coasts, by the year 2020 a single storm could cause losses
of $500 billion - several times the damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina.” (Kenneth Chang, “In Study, a History Lesson on the Costs of Hurricanes,” The New York Times, December 11, 2005)
Ozone Layer Depletion
2020. Antarctic ozone hole will continue to expand through 2020. “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 [2000-2050]. 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)
The big ozone hole on lifeless Mars [carries] a message for the people of Earth. . . . Mars is antiseptic because of a planet-size hole in its ozone layer.
— Carl Sagan
Pulitzer Prize winner
Other Forecasts and Projections Converging in 2020
Disease and Health
2020. Cancer rates
are projected to increase to more than 20 million worldwide.
“Global cancer rates will increase sharply in the next 20 years as the
population grows older and the Third World develops a taste for Western
lifestyles, the World Health
predicted yesterday. Aggressive marketing of cigarettes in the
developing world was said to be the biggest cause of preventable
cancers by the authors of the WHO's World Cancer Report,
the most comprehensive global examination of the disease. ‘The deadly
smoking habit is particularly worrying in central and eastern Europe
and many developing and newly industrialised countries,’ the report
says. . . Global cancer rates are predicted to increase by 50 per cent
by 2020, which means that the number of new cases diagnosed in the
world each year will rise from about 15 million to more than 20
Cancer Report 2008.
(Steve Connor, Science Editor, “Cancer rates may rise 50% by 2020 as
population ages,” The Independent, London, England, April 4, 2003)
2020. Road accidents, depression and heart disease predicted to be the leading causes of mortality and disability due to aging of the global population. “Due to an aging global population, as well as to economic and social advancement, there will be major changes ahead. By 2020, the three leading causes of mortality and disability are likely to be heart disease, depression and road accidents -- unless there are new and unpleasant surprises from the spread of communicable diseases.” (Gro Harlem Brundtland, “Globalization of disease - Major changes are ahead as the world's population ages,” The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, August 8, 1999, p. B15)
2020. By 2020 only 1 in 3 Americans will be a taxpayer. “The middle aged will, more than ever, tote society's Sisyphean boulder. They will not need to spend as much time and money on so many offspring, but they will increasingly have new dependents—the old. By 2020, it is estimated that only one out of three Americans will be a taxpayer, and that liened group should be more heavily composed of the middle aged.” (No author credited, “Living: Looking to the ZPGeneration,” Time Magazine, Monday, February 28, 1977)
Standard of Living
2020. 1.4 billion people worldwide projected to be living in slums by 2020 if current trends continue. “The State of the World’s Slums. The growth of slums in the last 15 years has been unprecedented. In 1990, there were nearly 715 million slum dwellers in the world. By 2000 – when world leaders set the target of improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020 – the slum population had increased to 912 million. Today, there are approximately 998 million slum dwellers in the world. UN-HABITAT estimates that, if current trends continue, the slum population will reach 1.4 billion by 2020. One out of every three city dwellers lives in slum conditions.” (State of the World’s Cities Report 2006/7, United Nations Human Settlement Programme, Un-Habitat, Earthscan, 2006, p. vi, 14, 20, 22)
Medical Care | Healthcare Workforce Shortages
2020. U.S. public
health workforce shortage projected for 2020 unless corrective measures
“While natural disasters, the threat of bioterrorism and other health
threats are taking their toll on public health resources, the U.S. is
facing a major public health workforce crisis that could impact the
health of each and every American unless there is an immediate influx
of funding for recruitment and training of public health professionals.
The Association of Schools of Public
Health (ASPH) released a first of its kind assessment [Confronting
the Public Health Care Workforce Crisis] of
the crisis which found that more than 250,000 additional public health
workers are needed by 2020. …23 percent of the current [public health]
workforce -- almost 110,000 workers -- will become eligible to retire
during the next presidential term. ‘Tackling the health implications
of tobacco use, heart disease, obesity and physical inactivity, not to
mention the threat of globally spreading infectious diseases, depends
entirely on the availability of a well-trained public health
workforce,’ said Dr.
Linda Rosenstock, dean of the UCLA
School of Public Health
and chair of the ASPH Workforce Taskforce. "Unless we act now to
recruit and train an additional 250,000 public health professionals, we
will soon be ill-equipped to identify looming public health crises and
respond decisively."” (“More Than 250,000 Additional Public Health
Workers Needed by 2020 to Avert Public Health Crisis,” Health & Medicine Week, March 10,
2020. 20% or more of plant and animal species projected to face extinction by 2020 unless actions taken. “There have been five periods of mass extinction on Earth, the last being the dinosaurs. The sixth is happening now, in which a fifth or more species of plants and animals could vanish or be doomed to early extinction by 2020 unless better efforts are made to save them.” Global warming not cited as cause. (Roger Leo, Telegram & Gazette Staff, “Mass, Endangered Species, Animals, Birds, Flowers & Plants,” Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Worcester Massachusetts, 508-793-9100, March 21, 1999, p. A1)
(1) Carl Sagan quoted in “Sagan Says Fossil-Fuel Use May Turn Earth Into A Venus,” The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 16, 1990, p. B4
(2) Joe Grindstaff, general manager of the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, Riverside, California, speaking at the Rose Institute at Claremont College in Claremont, California” quoted in Kathleen Sweeney, Staff Writer, “State Plans For Projected Water Shortages,” Daily News, Woodland Hills, California, January 27, 2002
(3) “Kilimanjaro snows melting faster,” The Hindustan Times, February 15, 2006
(4) Thomas L. Friedman, "Green is the New Red White and Blue," and "Energy Crossroads: Building a Coalition for a Clean, Prosperous, and Secure Energy Future," Keynote Address at Memorial Auditorium, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, Friday, March 2, 2007
(5) Mona Sahlin, Minister for Sustainable Development quoted in John Vidal, environment editor, “Sweden plans to be world's first oil-free economy,” The Guardian, London, England, United Kingdom, Wednesday, February 8, 2006.
(6) Steve Lohr, “The Cost of an Overheated Planet,” The New York Times, December 12, 2006 citing findings reported in Florian Bressand, Diana Farrell, Pedro Haas, Fabrice Morin, Scott Nyquist, Jaana Remes, Sebastian Roemer, Matt Rogers, Jaeson Rosenfeld, Jonathan Woetzel, “Curbing Global Energy Demand Growth: The Energy Productivity Opportunity,” McKinsey Global Institute, San Francisco, California, May 17, 2007, p. 17
(7) Carl Sagan quoted in Greg Edwards, Staff Writer, “A Mars Lesson For Planet Earth,” The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Virginia, October 24, 1990, p. B3
(8) “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
(9) Steve Connor, Science Editor, “Melting of the Arctic 'will accelerate climate change within 20 years', The Independent, Monday, May 30, 2011 reporting findings in Kevin Schaefer, Tingjun Zhang, Lori Bruhwiler, Andrew P. Barrett. Amount and timing of permafrost carbon release in response to climate warming, Tellus B, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0889.2011.00527.x
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Permafrost | Arctic Ice Free | Global Warming Costs | Kilimanjaro | Heat Waves Global Warming | Energy Workforce Shortages | Climate Change and Water
Global Warming Underestimated | Global Warming Sea Levels Rising | Sea Level Rise Maps | Global Warming Deaths | IPCC Forecasts | Methane Global Warming Potential
Forest Fires Global Warming | Methane Carbon Dioxide | China Climate Change | Russia Climate Change