The UN’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was completed by 1,360 researchers from 95 countries and published last year; a five-volume coda has just been published that “outlines four plausible ways the planet could develop politically, economically, and socially by 2050, and the effect they would have on people and the environment.” According to a CSM article:

By 2050, it estimates that the highly global approach – with liberal trade policies, and concerted efforts to reduce poverty, improve education and public health, yet respond reactively to environmental issues – could yield the lowest population growth and the highest economic growth. But the environmental scorecard would be mixed.

In a fragmented world that focuses largely on security and regional markets and takes a reactive approach to ecological problems, economic growth rates are the lowest and the population is the highest of the four pathways.

Two other paths, which place a greater emphasis on technology and a proactive approach to the environment, yield population growth rates somewhere in the middle, and economic growth rates that may be slow at first, but accelerate with time.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Huh. The title of the article is “Forecast for Earth in 2050: It’s not so gloomy,” but I, living in a highly reactive, security-focused, highly influential country, am skeptical.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.