2030: The “Perfect Storm” Scenario
Welcome to the “perfect storm” scenario for 2030. You are about to take a look into the future and the challenges that lie ahead. Making predictions about the future is hazardous. As Yogi Berra famously quipped, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Trends, however, can tell us a lot about the future, even in a 20-year timeframe.
We know with a high degree of confidence that global population will continue to grow in the near term. Demographers project that fertility rates will continue to decline, but that the world’s population will increase from 6.8 billion to 8.3 billion by 2030. We can also anticipate that the demand for grain will continue to rise as global population grows and a rising middle class desires more meat and dairy products. Similarly, we can project today that the total demand for energy will increase as a result of economic growth in China, India, and other rapidly developing nations. We also know that more people, more agriculture, and more industry will increase the demand for fresh water. Finally, we know that the world’s climate will continue to change in ways that could hamper food production and dislocate people. What we don’t know is how disruptive these trends will be.