The World in 2050
, by Laurence C. Smith
I hope you like hockey (presuming there's any ice left to play it on). The future, writes UCLA professor Laurence C. Smith
, belongs to those places that will be temperate and pleasant in 40 years' time--places like Canada and Sweden. Smith's magic number is 45: Forty-five degrees latitude, that is, a line halfway between the equator and North Pole that cuts a line through northern U.S. states like Oregon, Wisconsin, and New York. It continues around the globe running across France, Romania, southern Russia, northern China, and Japan. Smith argues that the land north of this invisible line stands to prosper in the new manmade climate. So yes, buy your vineyard grounds in British Columbia and that now-cheap Detroit real estate.
But can countries like Canada, Russia, and Sweden--owner of vast tracts of land but comparatively few humans to occupy it--accommodate the flood of climate refugees from roasting southern cities? Smith argues that they can, but that the movement of people will reshape the map. Here's one oddly specific prediction: "I imagine the High Arctic, in particular, will be rather like Nevada--a landscape nearly empty but filled with fast-growing towns fueled by a narrow range of industries."