The world in 2050 if we commit to lowering the heating

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In The Future we Choose - Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, the authors try to depict how to world could look like if we act quickly enough to limit global heating to under 2 degrees before 2050. Of course their job is to depict a bright future, neglecting current problems.

They argue that it will become natural and economically viable to ditch fossil fuels (starting by carbon) and switch to renewable energies and in some cases by nuclear (very limit attention to this, though). Car ownership will be forbidden, care sharing and autonomous cars are going to be the norm.

Slow travel will go hand in hand with remote work, allowing people to move around by slower means of transport, and enjoy more what they visit. Some cities and countries that invest early on climate management, such as by planting trees and redesigning transport, will see an increase in global business.

Planes will become more efficient by traveling slowly, making other means of transport such as electric trains more competitive. Smarter electrical grids with distributed sources and improved batteries will be the cherry on top. Countries with poor access to electricity will be included by skipping a step, going straight to renewable energy sources.

Health will improve because of less pollution the air, and the extra money because of lower health costs can be transferred to finance energy conversion processes.

An interesting point is regarding food. The authors claim that food will become more expensive. Meat will virtually not consumed and protein will be sourced from plants. People will be incentivised to produce their own food because of the higher costs.

Sadly, the authors do not mention at all inequality in this chapter. Higher food costs, and access to technology to produce it will likely be not spread through the world. Especially on denser cities around the world this can become a bottleneck, imposed by higher transport costs imposed by wealthier countries.

Something I liked in the chapter is this notion of a cooperative future. People will need to come together to collect rain water in their neighborhoods, to tender gardens for food, etc. Not sure how easy it is to materialize, considering the unequal access to space in different cities.


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Aquiles Carattino
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