The world is changing at a very fast and dynamic rate. This can be inferred from our historical past that has shown that man has increased the rates of developments all over the globe. However, the advancement and development that come as a result of technological discoveries seem to pose a challenge to human survival on planet earth. Most of the changes that result threaten fauna and flora as well as the stability of the environment. The planet is currently facing global climatic changes, population explosion, global warming, energy shortages, food shortages and many other problems (Claussen, 2002).
The United States is ranked the most populated developed nation on earth. The nation also has the highest rate of population growth among the developed nations. Its population grows by an estimated 1% of the population per annum, which is approximately 2.5 million people per year. This implies that the population will have increased by 25 million people after fifty years (Haub, 1995). This is a population equivalent to fifty new cities such as San Diego. The high growth in population implies that there will more competition for scarce resources that will even grow scarcer (Haub, 1995). In the same fifty-year period span already scarce resources such as energy are expected to be scarce and expensive, partly due to resource exhaustion and population increase that will put more strain on the already scarce resources.
The energy sector is likely to face a wide array of challenges that will be interlocking in nature. These may include environmental, technological, economic and geopolitical challenges. As the population of the nation grows as well as that of other nations, the demand for energy is bound to greatly rise in the next 50 years (OECD, 2000).
Meanwhile, conventional oil and natural gas sources will be expected to sharply decline because the resources will be limited. As a result, the transport sector is likely to be more dependent on oil imports from most Middle Eastern nations and probably Russia. The use of alternative energy forms such as coal may also come into play. The prices of gas and commodities which are produced using the gas are likely to soar. In the short-run the alternative sources such as coal will lead to further pollution and greenhouse effect which will increase global warming (OECD, 2000). However, it is anticipated that the use of non-polluting alternative energy sources will be sought.
The high rates of pollution that increase each day will be expected to have risen further in fifty years, because general demand will grow as the population grows and therefore, more commodities will be demanded (SEDAC, 2010). This demand will only be met by the construction of more factories, car units and other machinery that contributes to pollution. The increase of greenhouse gases and their effect will in turn, increase the global temperature and lead to climatic changes that will result into more natural disasters such as droughts and flooding. Scientist have predicted that with the ongoing global trend, temperatures may rise by 2-10 degrees Fahrenheit in a century; therefore, we should expect a warmer earth in fifty years (Claussen, 2002). Consequences expected will include rising sea levels, increased drought and flooding, heat waves and intense storms among other extreme weather patterns.
The policy makers in these future periods-including the presidents-will be required to make affirmative action to combat some these negative trends. This is because they will be highly likely to face challenges such as energy crises, national food shortages, adverse climatic changes and more natural disasters as well as a high death toll from natural disasters (Claussen, 2002). Pollution reduction and development of alternative cleaner energy sources shall be among some of the challenges they will be tasked with in 50 years to come.
April 2011 from http://www.pewclimate.org/press-center/speeches/climate-change-next-50-years-one-decade-time
Haub, C. (1995),. Global and United States national population trends: Consequences, volume 1, issue number 2. Retrieved on 30th April 2011 from http://www.gcrio.org/CONSEQUENCES/summer95/population.html
Organization for economic co-operation and development (OECD) (2000),. Energy: The next fifty years, retrieved on 30th April 2011 from http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/37/55/17738498.pdf
Socioeconomic data and applications center (SEDAC). (2010),. 2010 Environmental performance index: Retrieved on 30th April 2011 from http://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/es/epi/