GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Geopolitical Trends in the Near Future: Welcome to the Anthropocene


Geopolitics is about how the world is understood politically at the planetary scale. It is simultaneously a term that refers to great power rivalries and the knowledge and representational practices that legitimate that mode of rule. Now in the face of climate change the premises for thinking about human politics have been dramatically changed, even if many political elites and scholars have yet to face up to the changed circumstances for geopolitical thinking and practical matters of ruling a biosphere that is being transformed by human action. Where geopolitics in the past provided the context for thinking about human actions, in coming decades the political decisions that are made will shape that human context fundamentally. Anthropocene thinking changes the parameters of geopolitics, but it remains to be seen whether institutions capable of making intelligent decisions about such matters as whether the planet will have polar ice caps in coming centuries will emerge in the coming decades.