Climate Change 2050

Ocean Acidification 2050

2050.  Projected year when more than half of shell-building organisms along California’s near shore coastal waters will be unable to maintain their protective armor.  “Over the next few decades [2012 – 2042], coastal waters off of California, Oregon, and Washington are in danger of becoming acidic enough to harm the rich fisheries and diverse marine ecosystems there, according to a new study [Coastal Carbon Synthesis for the Continental Shelf of the North American Pacific Coast]. Blame it on [ocean acidification], global warming's evil twin. . . . [Ocean acidification] refers to the impact that rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are having on seawater. CO2 levels are increasing as humans burn fossil fuel and change land-use patterns.

The oceans absorb up to 26 percent of those emissions – a number that is expected to go up as the Arctic Ocean loses more of its summer sea-ice cover [see Arctic ice melting]. 

By 2050, the team conducting the study estimates, more than half the near-shore waters governed by the California Current system are likely to become so acidic throughout the year that many shell-building organisms will be unable to maintain their armor [see video]. 

That point could come within the next 20 to 30 years [2012 through 2032 or 2042] for some sea-floor habitats on the continental shelf, the researchers estimate.” (Pete Spotts, Staff writer, “Global warming's evil twin threatens West Coast fishing grounds,” Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2012 reporting findings of Alin et al 2012, “Coastal Carbon Synthesis for the Continental Shelf of the North American Pacific Coast (NAPC): Preliminary Results,” OCB News - Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry News, Vol. 5, No. 1, Winter 2012, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, pp. 1-5)

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The quantity of carbon dioxide we've put in the ocean is now well over 500 billion tons.

You can't just transfer that much mass without making changes in the physical properties, as well as the biological properties. . . 


We're all in a bind here. . . . It's going to be very hard to maintain this number of people on the planet and not have these problems. It worries me that scientists sound the alarm but don't come up with solutions. (5)

— Dr. Peter Brewer
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

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'If it wasn't for anthropogenic carbon, we wouldn't be passing that tipping point’ from encroaching, acidic water. (4)

— Dr. Richard Feely,
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration

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2050.  Ocean acidity levels are expected to rise 150% by 2050 if CO2 emissions are not curtailed.  “The oceans have absorbed around 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released by human activity since pre-industrial times, mainly from fossil-fuel burning, conversion of forests and swamp to cities and agriculture, and cement production.  If carbon-dioxide emissions are not curtailed, ocean acidity is expected to rise 150 percent by 2050, the fastest rate of increase at any time in at least the last 20 million years and probably as long as 65 million years, which takes us back to the age of dinosaurs.

As Carol Turley, an expert on ocean acidification from Plymouth Marine Laboratory put it, “the present increase in ocean acidity is not just unprecedented in our lifetimes, it is a rare event in the history of the planet.” (Callum Roberts, “‘The Ocean of Life’—And the Sorrow Beneath the Sea,” Newsweek, May 14, 2012, pp. 26-31)

Heat Waves | Cold Waves | Heat-Related Deaths

2050.  By 2050 excess U.S. annual summer deaths due to extreme heat events projected to reach up to 3,190 to 4,748.  “In a study on the impact of future climate scenarios on mortality in 44 cities [SMSAs], Kalkstein and Greene estimate that by [2050], under a business-as-usual emissions scenario . . . up to 3190 – 4748 excess deaths will occur each summer (depending on the GCM used).” Global warming deaths. (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)

See more comprehensive details of heat-related global warming forecasts and projected deaths caused by climate change. 

2050.  Deaths from extreme heat or cold could triple in major U.S. cities from 1993 to 2050.  “Scientists and public health officials said they are particularly worried about an increase in summer nighttime temperatures because people tend to recover from excessive heat exposure at night.  Joel D. Scheraga, national program director for the U.S. Global Change Research Program of the Environmental Protection Agency, has delivered presentations indicating that with increasing temperatures and population growth, deaths from extreme heat or cold could as much as triple in major American cities from 1993 to 2050.  Scheraga said the EPA chart was not a clear prediction, because federal, state and local officials are working to better protect citizens from the dangers of extreme heat and cold.  Nearly 100,000 people have downloaded the EPA's "Excessive Heat Events Guidebook" since it was posted online six weeks ago.  ‘These are avoidable deaths. There's an opportunity to save lives,’ Scheraga said.  

‘With climate change, with warming and an intense hydrological cycle, the water cycle, we do in fact expect more extremes, more flooding and more heat waves.’  Since mid-July, 179 Americans, most of them Californians, have died in the current heat wave; more than 52,000 died during the 2003 episode in Europe, where air conditioning is less common.” (Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer, “More Frequent Heat Waves Linked to Global Warming - U.S. and European Researchers Call Long Hot Spells Likely,” The Washington Post, August 4, 2006)

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2050.  Heat wave deaths in Chicago could more than double. “In fact, scientists say global warming's influence is already visible and it could get worse within decades if no action is taken. The average number of heat-wave deaths in Chicago could more than double by 2050, and killer heat waves in Europe could also increase by that time, experts say.” (“Global Warming A Tough Sell For The Human Psyche,” The Associated Press, New York, December 17, 2009)  

2050 (Mid-century).  By mid-century, air quality worsened by climate change in Seattle, Washington's King County area is projected to cause 132 additional summer deaths annually.  “Climate change in Washington will likely lead to significantly more heat- and air pollution-related deaths throughout this century.  By mid-century, King County [Seattle area] will likely experience 132 additional deaths between May and September annually due to worsened air quality caused by climate change.”  (Littell, J.S., M. McGuire Elsner, L.C. Whitely Binder, and A.K. Snover (eds), The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment: Evaluating Washington's Future in a Changing Climate, A report by The Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, June 2009, p. 2)

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Even in wealthy countries with very high air conditioning use, heat is still one of the greatest weather-related causes of mortality.  The ever-increasing urban population will greatly increase the number of people exposed to this risk. 

Those without respite from the heat, and those who are most vulnerable physiologically —  including the elderly or people of ill health — could be most heavily affected by the extra heat. (1)

— Mark McCarthy, climate scientist
Met Office, United Kingdom
On the combination of global
warming and the urban heat island effect

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These are avoidable deaths. There's an opportunity to save lives. (2)

— Joel D. Scheraga
Senior Climate Adaptation Advisor,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Commenting on heat and cold-related deaths
resulting from climate change

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View more detailed forecasts of heat waves

Heat-Related Health Impacts 2050

2050.  Americans projected to suffer 1.6 million new cases of kidney stones by 2050 as a result of global warming.  “Global warming could trigger a rise in kidney stones, resulting in 1.6 million new cases by 2050, University of Texas researchers warned Monday [in a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled Climate-related increase in the prevalence of urolithiasis in the United States].  Nationwide, kidney stones strike about 12% of all men and 7% of women. Warm Southeastern states get 50% more cases than in the Northeast, forming a belt of high-risk states. The study says global warming will drive this ‘kidney stone belt’ north. 

‘We see a relationship between kidney stones and temperatures everywhere,’ says study co-author Margaret Pearle of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. ‘Even in places with air conditioning, warmer temperatures mean more stones.’  Kidney stones result from salts crystallizing in the kidneys, often triggered by dehydration, causing painful blockages.  The U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last year [2007] that industrial emissions of greenhouse gases probably would raise average global temperatures 3 to 7 degrees this century.”  (Dan Vergano, USA Today, “Kidney stone cases could heat up - Global warming cited as culprit,” USA Today, Arlington, Virginia, July 15, 2008, p. 1A) 

Wildfires Global Warming 2050

2050.  Forest wildfire burn area in the U.S. is projected to increase by over 50% and as much as 175% in some areas by 2050.  “The area of forest burnt by wildfires in the United States is set to increase by over 50% by 2050, according to research by climate scientists. The study [Impacts of climate change from 2000 to 2050 on wildfire activity and carbonaceous aerosol concentrations in the western United States], predicts that the worst affected areas will be the forests in the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains, where the area of forest destroyed by wildfire is predicted to increase by 78% and 175% respectively. The research is based on a conservative temperature increase of 1.6 degrees Celsius over the next 40 years [2010-2050]. Published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, scientists also say that the increase in wildfires will lead to significant deterioration of the air quality in the western United States due to greater presence of smoke. . . . This work was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Dr. Dominick Spracklen carried out the research whilst at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in collaboration with Jennifer Logan and Loretta Mickley.” (NASA press release, “Wildfires Set to Increase 50 Percent by 2050,” NASA Earth Observatory, Twitter NASA EO, Greenbelt, Maryland, July 28, 2009 reporting findings in D.V. Spracklen, L.J. Mickley, J.A. Logan, R.C. Hudman, R. Yevich, M.C. Flannigan, and A.L. Westerlin, "Impacts of climate change from 2000 to 2050 on wildfire activity and carbonaceous aerosol concentrations in the western United States," Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 114, D20301, doi:10.1029/2008JD010966, published October 20, 2009.

Percentage Increase in Wildfire Area Burned
Western United States, 2050

fire global warming climate change fires

This map graphic shows the percentage increase in area burned by wildfires, from the present-day to the 2050s, as calculated by the model of Spracklen et al. [2009] for the May-October fire season. The model follows a scenario of moderately increasing emissions of greenhouse gas emissions and leads to average global warming of 1.6 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit ) by 2050. Most of the calculated increase in area burned is due to warmer temperatures in the West, which leads to dryer conditions and more serious wildfires. Credit: Loretta Mickley, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.  Spracklen et al, Oct. 2009.

2050.  Projection that property losses in California due to wildfires caused by climate change could increase by $2 billion a year by 2050. “California may be planning to slash greenhouse gas emissions, but it might also want to get busy finding ways to beat back what already lies in store for a warmer world, a new report suggests. ‘Extreme events from heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and bad air quality are likely to become more frequent in the future and pose serious challenges to Californians,’ said the report, a synthesis of 37 scientific papers. The report, the first update of a 2006 assessment on climate change in California, reaches starker conclusions than the first report did on flooding in the Bay Area and the state's diminishing rain and snow. Among the key finding [of the report was the finding that]:  Property losses due to wildfires could increase to $2 billion a year by 2050 and $14 billion a year by 2100.” (Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times, “Warming to bring more flooding and fire, less rain to state,” The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, April 1, 2009 citing a draft version of Executive Summary of Climate Action Team Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature, Climate Action Team, Sacramento, California, May 6, 2010)

2050.  20% increase in the number and area of fires in Yosemite National Park predicted for 2050.  “Wildfires within California's world famous Yosemite National Park could become more frequent and severe due to climate change, say scientists.  New research in the International Journal of Wildland Fire [published by the International Association of Wildland Fire] says warmer temperatures pose a twin threat.  As well as directly triggering fires, they could also melt the snow that covers the forest in winter.  Lightning strikes would then trigger more fires, burning more intensely. . . . That is because predicted higher temperatures will make vegetation more flammable and allow larger fires to take hold.  ‘But this research suggests that declines in snowpack will have an additional effect,’ says Dr Lutz. 

He and his colleagues estimate that [by 2050] warmer temperatures will trigger a 20% increase in both the number of fires within Yosemite and also in the area of forest that will burn with a higher severity.  These increased fires will be triggered by lightning strikes.  The reason that will happen is two-fold. First, there is some evidence to suggest that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to more lightning strikes.  Second, and more important in Yosemite, Dr Lutz and his colleagues show that if snowpack cover in Yosemite during the winter falls by 17% by 2050, an amount predicted by conservative climate models, then lightning strikes are more likely to ignite forest fires in the park.  [Analysis of historic data showed that] when snowpack cover decreased in certain years, lightning-ignited fires increased exponentially. . . .

Overall, the number of lightning-ignited fires is predicted to increase by 19.1% from 2020 through to 2049, while the area that will burn at high severity each year will increase by 21.9%.  The projections produced by Lutz's team depend on warming continuing according to what is known as the [IPCC] B1 emissions scenario [Third Assessment Report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2001].” (Matt Walker, “Warming 'big threat' to Yosemite,” BBC, Monday, November 2, 2009 reporting findings in James A. Lutz, Jan W. van Wagtendonk, Andrea E. Thode, Jay D. Miller and Jerry F. Franklin, “Climate, lightning ignitions, and fire severity in Yosemite National Park, California, USA,” International Journal of Wildland Fire 18(7) 765–774    doi:10.1071/WF08117, published: 27 October 2009)

See a more comprehensive summary of global warming fire forecasts.  

Temperatures 2050

2050.  Temperature increase of 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) projected for 2050.  “The study [Climate change in cities due to global warming and urban effects] —co-authored by [Mark P. McCarthy], Martin Best and Richard Betts, . . . of the Met Office —considered the effect of doubling CO2 levels, from 323 parts per million, what they were in the mid-twentieth century, to 645 parts per million, which could be achieved as early as 2050 in a business-as-usual scenario. The global warming from doubling CO2 levels would boost temperatures—both the daytime highs and the nighttime lows—by about 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit). On top of this warming, the urban heat island effect would turn up the thermostat yet another notch, this effect being more severe at night.” (Mason Inman, “City dwellers to face more frequent hot summer nights,” GeoHazards, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, May 28, 2010 citing findings from McCarthy, M. P., M. J. Best, and R. A. Betts (2010), Climate change in cities due to global warming and urban effects, Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L09705, doi:10.1029/2010GL042845, May 8, 2010)

2050 (forecast from 1989). 
2 - 9° F increase.  Global temperatures expected to increase by 2 to 9°Fahrenheit.  "Although scientists argue over whether the greenhouse has already arrived, there is no dispute that industrial emissions will cause global warming.  The chief culprits are carbon dioxide (CO2), emitted when such fossil fuels as coal and oil burn, and chemicals called CFC's used in plastic foams and air conditioning.  These 'greenhouse gases' act like panes of glass, trapping heat near the surface of the earth.  The result:  global temperatures are expected to rise 2 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the next century.  There would be greater increases at higher latitudes, smaller rises near the equator.  Wind and rainfall patterns would shift, with possibly disastrous consequences for agriculture.  Sea levels would rise, inundating coastlines where millions of people live.  Droughts would get worse and storms more violent."  (Newsweek, May 22, 1989, p. 80)

2050
(forecast from 1988). 3 - 9° F increase. Projected potential increase in global temperatures between 3 degrees and 9 degrees F by the year 2050.  “Whether the greenhouse effect has arrived or not, some scientists calculate that global temperatures could increase between 3 degrees and 9 degrees F by the year 2050. If that happens, even hotter, dryer summers are on the way, probably accompanied by a gradual melting of polar ice caps and glaciers that will cause sea levels to rise several feet by mid-century. By then it is probable that more CO2 production, from sources as diverse as industry and rampant deforestation, will play an increasingly important role in heating up the earth.” (David Brand, Andrea Dorfman-New York and Dick Thompson-Washington, “Is The Earth Warming Up?,” Time Magazine, Monday, July 4, 1988)


2050.  At least 0.6° F increase.  Projected global temperature increase of at least 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit before 2050. “Most experts foresee an increase of at least 0.6 of a degree Fahrenheit before the middle of the next century.  Seas would rise as higher temperatures made water expand much as they do sidewalks:  thermal expansion has already raised sea levels four inches since the turn of the century.  Polar ice caps might also partially melt.  All this would lift the waters one to four feet by 2050 and threaten the homes of 25 million to 40 million people worldwide."  (Newsweek, July 11, 1988, p. 19)

Water Shortages | Water Scarcity

2050.  More than 1 billion people projected to face freshwater shortages.  [In its 2007 report the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecast that more] than a billion people may face freshwater shortages by 2050, especially in Asia, where rising living standards will lead to increased water demand.”  (James Owen, “Warming May Spur Extinctions, Shortages, Conflicts, World Experts Warn,” National Geographic News, April 6, 2007 reporting findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007

2050.  80% increase in water supplies required to meet projected water demand of 2050 world population.   "The global population tripled in the 20th century but water consumption went up sevenfold. By 2050, after we add another 3 billion to the [global] population, humans will need an 80% increase in water supplies just to feed ourselves.  No one knows where this water is going to come from."  (Maudhe Barlow, Council of Canadians and author of Blue Covenant quoted in Martin Khor, “Make Global Water Crisis a Top Priority Issue,” Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IDN, Geneva, Switzerland, September 29, 2010)

2050.  By 2050 70% of U.S. counties may face risks to water supplies related to climate change.  “As global warming accelerates, the world will become not only hotter, flatter, and more crowded but also thirsty, according to a new study that finds 70 percent of counties in the United States may face climate change-related risks to their water supplies by 2050.  One-third of U.S. counties may find themselves at ‘high or extreme risk,’ according to the report prepared for the Natural Resources Defense Council by Tetra Tech, a California environmental consulting firm.” (Todd Woody, “Climate Change: Water Shortages Will Affect 70% of US Counties by 2050 Says New Study,” Huffington Post, July 27, 2010 citing findings in Sujoy B. Roy, Limin Chen, Evan Girvetz, Edwin P. Maurer, William B. Mills, and Thomas M. Grieb, Evaluating Sustainability of Projected Water Demands under Future Climate Change Scenarios, Tetra Tech, Inc., Lafayette, California, July 2010)

U.S. Counties Facing Water Supply Risks, 2050
Climate Change-Related

map of U.S. counties water supply sustainability risk 2050

Water Supply Sustainability Index in 2050 with available precipitation computed using projected climate change. The risks to water sustainability are classified into four categories from Extreme to Low. The numbers in parentheses are the numbers of counties in each category. View data file.  Tetra Tech, Inc., NRDC, July 2010.

Water Supply Sustainability Index in 2050 [not including climate change effects] with available precipitation corresponding to 20th century conditions, i.e., 1934-2000.  View data file.  Tetra Tech, Inc., NRDC, July 2010.

See a more comprehensive chronology of year-to-year forecasts of climate change water impacts. 

2050 Global Warming Carbon Dioxide Levels

2050.  By 2050 global greenhouse gas emissions must be 50% less than 1990 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.  ...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) Download McConnell's PowerPoint presentation. View video of McConnell's presentation at the McCormick Energy Solutions Conference.

2050.  Greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft projected to double or triple by 2050.  “The first new projections of future aircraft emissions in 10 years predicts that carbon dioxide and other gases from air traffic will become a significant source of global warming as they double or triple by 2050. The study is in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.  Bethan Owen and colleagues [of the Dalton Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University] note that aviation is not now one of the main drivers of global warming, with international aviation (source of 60 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft) not even included in the Kyoto Protocol.  Global air traffic currently contributes to between 2 and 3 percent of carbon dioxide emissions — the main ‘greenhouse’ gas linked to global warming.  The scientists' computer model forecast that emissions of carbon dioxide will likely double or triple within the next 50 years. By 2100, carbon dioxide emissions could increase by up to seven times the current levels, they say. ‘Even though there have been significant improvements in fuel efficiency through aircraft technology and operational management, this has been outweighed by the increase in air traffic,’ the study states.” (Michael Bernstein, News release, “Air traffic poised to become a major factor in global warming,” American Chemical Society, May 26, 2010 citing findings in (Bethan Owen, David S. Lee and Ling Lim, Dalton Research Institute, "Flying into the Future: Aviation Emissions Scenarios to 2050," Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester M1 5GD, United Kingdom, Received August 19, 2009. Revised manuscript received January 13, 2010. Accepted February 14, 2010)

Ski Resorts and Global Warming

2050.  As a result of global warming, nearly half of the cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics in the past are projected to no longer have climates suitable to reliably host the Games by the mid-21st century.  According to a study published by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, by the mid-21st century [2050], close to half of the cities that have hosted the games would no longer be able to.  It simply would not be cold enough. The study finds that internationally renowned Olympic sites, such as Squaw Valley (USA), Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Vancouver (Canada) and Sochi (Russia) would no longer have climates suitable to reliably host the Games by the middle of the 21st century. With additional warming projected for later decades of this century, as few as six former host locations would remain climatically suitable. . . . ‘The cultural legacy of the world's celebration of winter sport is increasingly at risk,’ said Professor Daniel Scott, a Canada Research Chair in Global Tourism and lead author of the study. 'Fewer and fewer traditional winter sports regions will be able to host a Olympic Winter Games in a warmer world.  Despite technological advances, there are limits to what current weather risk management strategies can cope with.’” (UWaterloo 2014, Press Release, “Climate change threatens Winter Olympics,” Waterloo News, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, January 23, 2014 announcing findings in UWaterloo 2014, Daniel Scott et al, The Future of the Winter Olympics in a Warmer World, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, January 2014)

Climate Change Costs | Cost of Global Warming

2050.  IEA projection that global spending on clean energy will need to increase to $140 trillion by 2050 in order to avoid missing climate targets.  “Global investments in clean energy need to [increase to $140 trillion by 2050] 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 . . . $140 trillion [in investments are required] by the middle of this century [2050], 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. . . . ‘

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)

2050.  California agricultural revenues projected to drop 50% by 2050 due to climate change.  “In addition, crop yields are projected to fall across the state; revenues are projected to drop by nearly 50% by 2050, from $2.78 billion in 2006. Compared to agricultural revenues which are calculated to be historically possible for the year 2050, Sacramento will likely see a 15.5% drop, San Joaquin, 10.4%, Tulare, 9.1% and the southern California region a 12.2% drop. Californians in these regions alone stand to lose over $3 billion under a business as usual situation.” (ASP 2011, Pay Now, Pay Later: California, American Security Project, Washington DC, April 13, 2011, p. 3 citing findings in CEC CCCC 2009, Richard Howitt et al, Estimating the Economic Impacts of Agricultural Yield Related Changes for California, California Climate Change Center, California Energy Commission, Sacramento, California, August 2009, vii, 16-17, 26-27)

2050.  Climate disruption projected to place $7.4 trillion of U.S. assets in jeopardy as a result of 20 inches of sea level rise by 2050.  Rising sea levels due to global warming in the next few decades could put trillions of dollars in U.S. assets at risk, according to a report [Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector] released Tuesday [November 24, 2009].  The joint report, released by German insurer Allianz S.E. and the World Wildlife Fund, said the planet’s atmosphere is close to dangerous temperature thresholds, or “tipping points,” that could cause devastating environmental and economic consequences.  According to the report, a sea level rise of 20 inches by 2050, as predicted by climate scientists, could jeopardize roughly $7.4 trillion of U.S. assets.” (Colleen McCarthy, “Climate change could risk trillions in U.S. assets: Report,” BusinessInsurance.com, November 24, 2009)

See more comprehensive list of projected sea level rise forecasts and impacts on global coastal shorelines and inland waterways.

2050.  About $1.4 trillion worth of U.S. coastal-area assets are at risk due to storm surge caused by global warming.  “About $1.4 trillion worth of U.S. coastal-area assets are at risk due to storm surge from a one-in-100-year event, the report [Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector] released by German insurer Allianz S.E. and the World Wildlife Fund] said.  The report ranked Miami, New York, New Orleans and Boston among the U.S. cities with the greatest asset exposure by mid-century due to global warming effects.” (Colleen McCarthy, “Climate change could risk trillions in U.S. assets: Report,” BusinessInsurance.com, November 24, 2009 citing findings in [Major Tipping Points in the Earth’s Climate System and Consequences for the Insurance Sector]

2050.  Projection that property losses in California due to wildfires caused by climate change could increase by $2 billion a year by 2050. “California may be planning to slash greenhouse gas emissions, but it might also want to get busy finding ways to beat back what already lies in store for a warmer world, a new report suggests. ‘Extreme events from heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and bad air quality are likely to become more frequent in the future and pose serious challenges to Californians,’ said the report, a synthesis of 37 scientific papers. The report, the first update of a 2006 assessment on climate change in California, reaches starker conclusions than the first report did on flooding in the Bay Area and the state's diminishing rain and snow. Among the key finding [of the report was the finding that]:  Property losses due to wildfires could increase to $2 billion a year by 2050 and $14 billion a year by 2100.” (Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times, “Warming to bring more flooding and fire, less rain to state,” The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, April 1, 2009 citing a draft version of Executive Summary of Climate Action Team Biennial Report to the Governor and Legislature, Climate Action Team, Sacramento, California, May 6, 2010)

Population 2050

2050. 9.6 billion.  Projected world population expected to reach 9.6 billion by mid-century. "The world population is expected to reach 9.6 billion by mid-century. The addition will be greater than the global population of 1950.  The United States is expected to grow from 313 million people to 400 million. Economies have expanded many times faster, vastly increasing consumption of goods and services in rich and developing countries.  'The combination of climate change and 9 billion people to me is one that is just fraught with potential catastrophes,' said John Harte, a UC Berkeley ecosystem scientist."  (Carolyn Lochhead, Washington correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, “Population growth increases climate fear,” San Francisco Chronicle, Washington, DC, Monday, September 2, 2013)

2050.  9.3 billion.  World population to reach 9.3 billion by 2050.  2010 U.S. Census Bureau projects world population to be 9,284,107,424 by 2050.  (U.S. Census Bureau, “Total Midyear Population for the World: 1950-2050,” International Data Base, updated June 28, 2010, retrieved July 21, 2010) 

Ozone Layer Depletion

2050 (Middle decades of 21st century). Higher skin cancer incidence projected due to depletion of ozone layer.  "Depletion of stratospheric ozone by human-made gases such as chlorofluorocarbons has been occurring over recent decades and is likely to peak around 2020. Ambient ground-level ultraviolet irradiation is estimated to have increased consequently by up to 10% at mid-to-high latitudes over the past two decades. Scenario-based modelling that integrates the processes of emissions accrual, ozone destruction, UVR flux and cancer induction, indicates that European and United States’ populations will experience 5–10% excess in skin cancer incidence during the middle decades of the twenty-first century. If climate change and consequent stratospheric cooling delay the recovery of protective ozone, there will be greater numbers of excess skin cancers."  (A.J. McMichael, et al, Climate Change and Human Health - Risks and Responses, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, 2003, p. 13)

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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. 

On Earth, a fraction of an inch of ozone, a form of oxygen, stands between us and the deadly ultraviolet rays of the sun. (3)

— Carl Sagan
Astronomer, Astrophysicist
Pulitzer Prize winner

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Extinction, Global Warming 

2050.  More than one million species of plants and animals worldwide are projected to be extinct by 2050 based on 2001 predicted global warming temperatures.  “By 2050, rising temperatures exacerbated by human-induced belches of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could send more than a million of Earth's land-dwelling plants and animals down the road to extinction, according to a recent study. . . . According to the researchers' collective results, the predicted range of climate change by 2050 will place 15 to 35 percent of the 1,103 species studied at risk of extinction. The numbers are expected to hold up when extrapolated globally, potentially dooming more than a million species.  ‘These are first-pass estimates, but they put the problem in the right ballpark … I expect more detailed studies to refine these numbers and to add data for additional regions, but not to change the general import of these findings,’ said [Lee Hannah, a climate change biologist with Conservation International's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science in Washington, D.C.].

The researchers based their study on minimum, mid-range, and maximum future climate scenarios based on information released by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001.  According to the IPCC, temperatures are expected to rise from somewhere between 1.5 and more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 and more than 2 degrees Celsius) by the year 2050 [See the IPCC’s most recent global warming temperature forecasts for 2050].  ‘Few climate scientists around the world think that 2050 temperatures will fall outside those bounds,’ said [Chris Thomas, a conservation biologist at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom]. ‘In some respects, we have been conservative because almost all future climate projections expect more warming and hence more extinction between 2050 and 2100.’”  (John Roach, “By 2050 Warming to Doom Million Species, Study Says,” National Geographic News, updated July 12, 2004 citing Thomas et al, “Extinction risk from climate change,” Nature, 427, 145-148, January 8, 2004)

Do models projecting animal and plant extinction rates
incorporate ozone depletion impacts?


How will animal and plant extinction rates be affected
by ozone layer depletion?

Polar Bears Global Warming 2050

2050.  Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears could disappear by 2050.  “Two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by 2050 as global warming continues to melt the Arctic's sea ice, according to a series of U.S. government studies released last Friday [September 7, 2007].  The new findings paint a sobering picture for polar bears, whose dependence on sea ice makes them particularly vulnerable to warming temperatures.  ‘Our results have demonstrated that as the sea ice goes, so goes the polar bear,’ said Steven Amstrup, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) wildlife research biologist in Anchorage, Alaska, and leader of the polar bear studies.  USGS conducted the studies to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determine whether polar bears warrant protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. . . . The USGS findings are based on the best available models of future climate, Amstrup said. 

Warming temperatures, however, are melting the sea ice quicker than even the best climate models projected, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.  As of September 3, 2007, sea-ice extent had fallen to 1.70 million square miles (4.42 million square kilometers)—beating the previous record low of 2.05 million square miles (5.32 million square kilometers) set on September 21, 2005.” (John Roach, “Most Polar Bears Gone By 2050, Studies Say,” National Geographic News, September 10, 2007 See also Predicting the Future Distribution of Polar Bear Habitat in the Polar Basin from Resource Selection Functions Applied to 21st Century General Circulation Model Projections of Sea Ice, Durner et al, USGS, 2007) 

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Fisheries, Climate Change

2050.  Wild Chinook salmon populations are projected to decline by 20% - 40% by 2050 in Washington’s Snohomish River Basin.  “Global warming is expected to further weaken wild chinook salmon populations by changing the temperatures and flows of major river systems, according to a study [Projected impacts of climate change on salmon habitat restoration] published Thursday [April 5, 2007] by the National Academy of Sciences. Warmer waters in the summer and early fall are expected to cause more disease, stress and die-offs, while rain-swollen rivers in warmer winter months could flush out salmon eggs from spawning gravel. . . The study focused on the effects of global warming on the chinook populations of Washington's Snohomish River basin

The researchers concluded that by 2050 wild chinook populations would decline by 20 percent to 40 percent in the Snohomish [view map of projected decline areas in the Snohomish River Basin and see Figure 4 table on p. 6723 of report] The range of decline depends on which of two computer models was used in the analysis. . .  Though the authors questioned the accuracy of salmon-recovery plans that did not account for global warming, they still found plenty of value in restoration efforts. 

In the Snohomish basin, a full-scale restoration that would include tree planting, dike removal and other efforts could reduce the climate-induced chinook decline to only 5 percent by 2050, according to one computer forecast model. In the other model, the restoration efforts were forecast to result in a 19 percent gain in spawning populations. ‘That was the encouraging and surprising result for us,’ [said Mary Ruckelshaus, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries scientist who was one of seven co-authors of the study]. ‘The restoration plans — if they are carried out — can make a difference.’”  (Hal Bernton, Seattle Times staff reporter, 206-464-2581, “Global warming could deal big blow to salmon,” Seattle Times, Seattle, Washington, Friday, April 6, 2007 citing findings published in James Battin, Matthew W. Wiley, Mary H. Ruckelshaus, Richard N. Palmer, Elizabeth Korb, Krista K. Bartz, and Hiroo Imaki, Projected impacts of climate change on salmon habitat restoration, published online before print April 5, 2007, doi: 10.1073/ pnas.0701685104, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - PNAS, Washington, D.C., April 17, 2007 Vol. 104, No. 16, pp. 6720-6725)

Permafrost - Global Warming 

2050.  Over half of Northern Hemisphere permafrost top layer could thaw by 2050.  “Global warming may decimate the top 10 feet (3 meters) or more of perennially frozen soil across the Northern Hemisphere, altering ecosystems as well as damaging buildings and roads across Canada, Alaska, and Russia.  New simulations from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) show that over half of the area covered by this topmost layer of permafrost could thaw by 2050 and as much as 90 percent by 2100. Scientists expect the thawing to increase runoff to the Arctic Ocean and release vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. 

The study [A projection of severe near‐surface permafrost degradation during the 21st century], using the NCAR-based Community Climate System Model (CCSM), is the first to examine the state of permafrost in a global model that includes interactions among the atmosphere, ocean, land, and sea ice as well as a soil model that depicts freezing and thawing.  Results appear online in the December 17 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.” (David Hosansky, news release, “Most of Arctic's Near-Surface Permafrost May Thaw by 2100,” National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, December 19, 2005 citing findings in Lawrence, D. M. and A. G. Slater (2005), “A projection of severe near‐surface permafrost degradation during the 21st century,” Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L24401, doi:10.1029 / 2005GL025080, December 2005)

2050.  50% of surface permafrost expected to melt by 2050.  “There is about 400 billion tons of methane trapped in permafrost hydrate (20 percent of the land on earth is permafrost). Fifty percent of the surface permafrost is expected to melt by 2050, and more than 90 percent by 2100.  A release of less than 30 billion tons of methane would be like doubling the CO2 in the air.  Worse, there is an estimated 10,000 billion tons of methane hydrate under the ocean. Substantial quantities of this has melted before with catastrophic results (55 million years ago-the PETM [Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum] ushered in the Age of Mammals, and 250 million years ago-the ‘Great Dying’ killed most life on earth). 

In other words, the carbon cycle has been upset before (possibly by volcanic eruptions), causing a chain reaction.  Mankind's GHG emissions are more than 30 times stronger a trigger than past severe runaway global warming events. This means the chain reaction will happen sooner, unfold faster, and therefore be much, much more severe.”  (Brad Arnold, Saint Louis Park, Minnesota, Staff Writer, “Global warming and melting methane hydrate,” The Pilot-Independent, Walker, Minnesota, May 3, 2007)

  • How will the rate of permafrost melting be impacted by the projected volume of smoke, deposition and accumulation of soot on permafrost surfaces resulting from predicted large scale global warming forest fires and the consequent higher heat absorption of the darker surfaced "dirty snow"?
  • At what point does methane outgassing from melting permafrost pose significant risk of igniting large-scale combustible methane-fueled fires triggered by random lightning strikes or other causes?
  • What are the probabilities of seasonal wildfires intersecting areas of high methane emissions?

Ice Free Arctic | Arctic Melting Global Warming

2050.  2007 IPCC forecast that Arctic would retain ice year-round until 2050 found to underestimate Arctic sea ice melting rate “Arctic Ocean sea ice is melting faster than even the most advanced climate change models predict, a new study [Arctic Sea Ice Decline: Faster Than Forecast] concludes.  The work, published today [May 1, 2007] in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used the models to retroactively predict sea-ice decline from 1953 to 2006.  Scientists then compared the results to what has actually been recorded by Earth-based and satellite observations during that time frame. 

The team found that, on average, 18 climate models used in a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) underestimated the extent of sea-ice decline by a factor of three.  ‘We're about 30 years ahead of what the models show,’ said Julienne Stroeve, lead author of the study and a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The IPCC report projects that the Arctic Ocean will retain some ice year-round until about 2050, after which time the region will be ice-free during the summers. . .

But the new findings mean that the ocean could lose its summer sea ice much sooner, Stroeve said. . . . Study author Stroeve believes that the models underestimate the effect of ocean currents carrying ever warmer water into the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic and Pacific.  ‘The models don't handle ocean processes quite so well,’ she said. ‘This is playing a larger role than we thought.’  Still, she added, all the models make it clear that human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other atmosphere-warming gases are a major factor in Arctic melting.  ‘It is highly unlikely that this is natural variability,’ she said. ‘I believe this is happening because of changes in our atmosphere’ caused by human activities.” 

(Richard A. Lovett, “Arctic Ice Melting Much Faster Than Predicted, National Geographic News, May 1, 2007 citing findings from Stroeve, J., M. M. Holland, W. Meier, T. Scambos, and M. Serreze (2007), Arctic sea ice decline: Faster than forecast, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L09501, doi:10.1029/2007GL029703, May 1, 2007)  Follow NSIDC on Twitter for the latest Arctic sea ice developments.

See other forecasts of Arctic climate change and an ice free Arctic ocean.

2050.  Loss of 75% of Arctic summer sea ice projected for 2050.   “Loss of summer sea ice will bring an increasingly navigable Northwest Passage, and the Northern Sea Route will create new opportunities for cruise shipping. Projections suggest that by 2050, the Northern Sea Route will have 125 days/yr with less than 75% sea-ice cover, which represents favourable conditions for navigation by ice-strengthened cargo ships (Instanes et al., 2005). Increased marine navigation and longer summers will improve conditions for tourism and travel associated with research (Instanes et al., 2005), and this effect is already being reported in the North American Arctic (Eagles, 2004).”  (Chapter 15, IPCC 2007, Anisimov, O.A., D.G. Vaughan, T.V. Callaghan, C. Furgal, H. Marchant, T.D. Prowse, H. Vilhjálmsson and J.E. Walsh, 2007: Polar regions (Arctic and Antarctic). 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, p. 676 citing Instanes, A., O. Anisimov, L. Brigham, D. Goering, B. Ladanyi, J.O. Larsen and L.N. Khrustalev, 2005: Infrastructure: buildings, support systems, and industrial facilities. Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, ACIA, C. Symon, L. Arris and B. Heal, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, November 2005, pp. 907-944)

See more recent forecasts of global warming effects on Arctic.

Sea Levels, Global Warming

2050 .  1 to 4 feet. Ocean waters projected to rise one to four feet by 2050 threatening the homes of 25 million to 40 million people.  "Most experts foresee an increase of at least 0.6 of a degree Fahrenheit before the middle of the next century.  Seas would rise as higher temperatures made water expand much as they do sidewalks:  thermal expansion has already raised sea levels four inches since the turn of the century.  Polar ice caps might also partially melt.  All this would lift the waters one to four feet by 2050 and threaten the homes of 25 million to 40 million people worldwide."  (Newsweek, July 11, 1988, p. 19)

2050. Several feet.  Sea level projected to rise several feet by the year 2050. 
“Whether the greenhouse effect has arrived or not, some scientists calculate that global temperatures could increase between 3 degrees and 9 degrees F by the year 2050. If that happens, even hotter, dryer summers are on the way, probably accompanied by a gradual melting of polar ice caps and glaciers that will cause sea levels to rise several feet by mid-century. By then it is probable that more CO2 production, from sources as diverse as industry and rampant deforestation, will play an increasingly important role in heating up the earth.” (David Brand, Andrea Dorfman-New York and Dick Thompson-Washington, “Is The Earth Warming Up?,” Time Magazine, Monday, July 4, 1988)


2050.  Rising sea levels projected to inundate coastlines where millions live. 
"Although scientists argue over whether the greenhouse has already arrived, there is no dispute that industrial emissions will cause global warming.  The chief culprits are carbon dioxide (CO2), emitted when such fossil fuels as coal and oil burn, and chemicals called CFC's used in plastic foams and air conditioning.  These 'greenhouse gases' act like panes of glass, trapping heat near the surface of the earth.  The result:  global temperatures are expected to rise 2 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the next century.  There would be greater increases at higher latitudes, smaller rises near the equator.  Wind and rainfall patterns would shift, with possibly disastrous consequences for agriculture.  Sea levels would rise, inundating coastlines where millions of people live.  Droughts would get worse and storms more violent."  (Newsweek, May 22, 1989, p. 80)

Air Travel - Climate Change

2050.  By 2050 climate instability is projected to cause airlines significant increases in costs due to a doubling of the air space area subject to 10% - 40% increases in air turbulence over the North Atlantic.  Scientists studying climate change are predicting that flights across the North Atlantic may experience 10% to 40% greater air travel turbulence in the future.  According to research by Dr. Paul Williams of the University of Reading (Reading, Berkshire, England, UK) and Dr. Manoj Joshi of the University of East Anglia, climate change is changing the wind speeds and turbulence in flight paths at 10 kilometers [6.2 miles] up where planes fly.  Analyzing supercomputer simulations for flights over the North Atlantic ocean, the researchers found that the amount of air space containing significant turbulence is most likely to double by 2050 — meaning that it will be necessary for airlines to extend ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt Sign’ freedom of movement restrictions on passengers for twice as long as today. 

The average strength of turbulence by 2050 is expected to increase by 10% to 40%.  The University of Reading research findings estimate that the cost to airlines currently is approximately $100 to $150 million a year.  Air turbulence causes physical damage to aircraft, injuries to passengers and crew, re-routing of flights, cost impacts on insurance requirements, delays in reaching flight destinations, increased fuel consumption, increased emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, higher passenger ticket prices as well as administrative costs incurred for government inquiries. ‘Aviation is partly responsible for changing the climate in the first place,’ observed Dr. Williams.  ‘It is ironic that the climate looks set to exact its revenge by creating a more turbulent atmosphere for flying.’”  (BBC 2013, Atlantic turbulence 'to become more frequent', British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England, United Kingdom, April 9, 2013 and University of Reading 2013, Press Release, Fasten your seatbelts: climate change doubles turbulence risk to aircraft, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom, April 8, 2013 announcing findings in Paul D. Williams and Manoj M. Joshi, “Intensification of winter transatlantic aviation turbulence in response to climate change,” Nature Climate Change, Volume 3, Issue 7, April 2013, pp. 644-648)

 

Other 2050 Forecasts and Projections

2050 Food and Fisheries

2050.  Projection that all fisheries will have collapsed by 2050 if fishing continues at current rates.  “‘Seventy-five percent of fisheries are overfished,’ says marine biologist Enric Sala. ‘If nothing changes, all fisheries will have collapsed by 2050.’ The solution, says Sala—a National Geographic Society fellow—is involving all levels of society, from consumers to policy makers. ‘The solutions exist, we just need the political will to implement them at large scale,’ he adds.”  (National Geographic editors, “Cod Caught in a Net, Gulf of Maine,” National Geographic, undated, retrieved Saturday, June 12, 2010)  View Enric Sala's TEDTalks' presentation on the pristine ocean that we've lost and a way to bring it back.

 

 How to Bring Back the Pristine Ocean We've Lost

 

2050 Mental Health - Dementia

2050.  Dementia, 135 million.  Number of people suffering from dementia worldwide projected to reach 135 million by 2050.  “Many governments are woefully unprepared for an epidemic of dementia currently affecting 44 million people worldwide and set to more than treble to 135 million people by 2050, health experts and campaigners said on Thursday.  Fresh estimates from the advocacy group Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) showed a 17 percent increase in the number of people with the incurable mind-robbing condition compared with 2010, and warned that by 2050 more than 70 percent of dementia sufferers will be living in poorer countries.  ‘It's a global epidemic and it is only getting worse,’ said ADI's executive director Marc Wortmann.’ Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, is a fatal brain disease that has no cure and few effective treatments. . . . Even now, the global cost of dementia care is more than $600 billon, or around 1.0 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), and that will only increase, the ADI says.” (Reuters 2013, Kate Kelland, “Dementia epidemic looms with 135 million sufferers seen by 2050,” Reuters, London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, December 4, 2013)
2050.  16 million Americans projected to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by 2050.  “Using new census and life expectancy information, specialists now estimate that the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease could more than triple to 16 million by the year 2050. . . . Some 4.6 million Americans currently [2002] suffer from Alzheimer's. . . . Last year, the World Health Organization estimated there are as many as 37 million people worldwide with dementia. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia.  Economists estimate that, in the United States alone, it costs at least $100 billion a year to look after people with Alzheimer's. A study last month estimated that U.S. businesses lose about $61 billion a year because of employees who have to care for family members stricken with Alzheimer's.” (Emma Ross, AP Medical Writer, “Experts predict 16 million Americans could have Alzheimer's disease by 2050,” Associated Press, July 23, 2002)
 

2050 Technology

2045.  The year when Raymond Kurzweil predicts computers will become more intelligent than humans and civilization will be irreversibly transformed.  “In his book, The Singularity is Near, Raymond Kurzweil predicts exponential growth in genetics, nanotech and robotics will drive an intelligence explosion by mid-century [2045]. In that year, he estimates, given the vast increases in computing power and the vast reductions in the cost of same, the quantity of artificial intelligence created will be about a billion times the sum of all the human intelligence that exists today [2011]. . .

Kurzweil believes that we're approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity — our bodies, our minds, our civilization — will be completely and irreversibly transformed. He believes that this moment is not only inevitable but imminent. According to his calculations, the end of human civilization as we know it is about 35 years away [2045].” (Lev Grossman, “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal,” Time, Thursday, February 10, 2011)

View Kurzweill's TEDTalks' presentation, How Technology Will Transform Us.

 

2045 - Singularity: How Scared Should We Be?

 

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(1) Mark McCarthy, climate scientist at the United Kingdom Met Office quoted in Mason Inman, “City dwellers to face more frequent hot summer nights,” GeoHazards, American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, May 28, 2010 citing findings from McCarthy, M. P., M. J. Best, and R. A. Betts (2010), Climate change in cities due to global warming and urban effects, Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L09705, doi:10.1029/2010GL042845, May 8, 2010
(2) Joel D. Scheraga, national program director for the U.S. Global Change Research Program of the Environmental Protection Agency quoted in Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer, “More Frequent Heat Waves Linked to Global Warming - U.S. and European Researchers Call Long Hot Spells Likely,” The Washington Post, August 4, 2006.  See also Excessive Heat Events Guidebook.
(3) Carl Sagan quoted in Greg Edwards, Staff Writer, “A Mars Lesson For Planet Earth,” The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, Virginia, October 24, 1990, p. B3
(4) Dr. Richard Feely quoted in Pete Spotts, Staff writer, “Global warming's evil twin threatens West Coast fishing grounds,” Christian Science Monitor, June 14, 2012 reporting findings of Alin et al 2012, “Coastal Carbon Synthesis for the Continental Shelf of the North American Pacific Coast (NAPC): Preliminary Results,” OCB News - Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry News, Vol. 5, No. 1, Winter 2012, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, pp. 1-5
(5) Dr. Peter Brewer, Senior Scientist, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute quoted in Richard Harris, “Acid In The Oceans: A Growing Threat To Sea Life,” NPR All Things Considered, August 12, 2009

 
 
 
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Climate Change 2050 - Global Warming 2050