US intelligence sees fight ahead over water, food

Dec 10, 2012 by Kimberly Dozier

(AP)—Nearly two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2030, with most people middle class, connected by technology, protected by advanced health care and the United States and China perhaps cooperating to lead the way.

That's the best-case scenario in a , 2030, released Monday by the U.S. government's National Intelligence Council.

In the worst-case scenario, the rising population leads to conflict over water and food, especially in the Mideast and Africa, and the instability contributes to global economic collapse.

The study is the 's analysis of where current trends will take the world in the next 15 to 20 years, intended to help policymakers plan for the best and worst possible futures.

One bright spot for the U.S. is . "With , the U.S. will have sufficient natural gas to meet domestic needs and generate potential global exports for decades to come," the report said.

Among the major trends: the rise of a global middle class that is better educated, connected via technology and healthier due to advances in medicine. Power will no longer reside with one or two key nations but be spread across networks and coalitions of countries.

In countries with declining birth rates and an like the U.S., economic growth may slow. Sixty percent of the world's population will live in cities.

Food, water and energy will be more scarce. "Nearly half of the world's population will live in areas experiencing severe ," the report said. Africa and the Middle East will be most at risk of food and , with China and India also vulnerable.

Among the anticipated crises is the worry of global economic collapse, fighting among nations that don't adapt rapidly enough and the possible spillover of instability in the Mideast and South Asia to the rest of the world.

Technology is seen as a potential savior to head off some of this conflict, boosting economic productivity to keep pockets filled despite rising population, rapid growth of cities and climate change.

The report outlines several "Potential Worlds" for 2030.

Under the heading "Stalled Engines", otherwise known as the "most plausible worst-case scenario, the risks of interstate conflict increase," the report said. "The U.S. draws inward and globalization stalls."

In the most plausible best-case outcome, called "Fusion," the report said, "China and the U.S. collaborate on a range of issues, leading to broader global cooperation."

The report warns of the mostly catastrophic effect of possible "Black Swans," extraordinary events that can change the course of history. These include a severe pandemic that could kill millions in a matter of months and more rapid climate change that could make it hard to feed the world's population.

Two positive events are also listed, including "a democratic China or a reformed Iran," which could bring more global stability.

Explore further: Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

More information: www.dni.gov/nic/globaltrends

4.3 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Climate: which nations, cities most at risk?

Oct 26, 2011

A third of humanity, mostly in Africa and South Asia, face the biggest risks from climate change but rich nations in northern Europe will be least exposed, according to a report released Wednesday.

World needs global food system overhaul: report

Jan 24, 2011

The world needs fundamental changes to the global food system to feed the expanding population, according to a British government report out Monday on how to feed the planet until 2050.

Global warming slows down world economy: report

Sep 26, 2012

Climate change caused by global warming is slowing down world economic output by 1.6 percent a year and will lead to a doubling of costs in the next two decades, a major new report said.

World water crisis must be top UN priority: report

Sep 11, 2012

A rapidly worsening water shortage threatens to destabilize the planet and should be a top priority for the UN Security Council and world leaders, a panel of experts said in a report Monday.

Recommended for you

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

10 hours ago

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2012
Shale gas is just another fossil fuel, a bit further down Obama's EPA list of businesses to terminate.
Jo01
1 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2012
Economic growth will lead to disaster and war.
It's an unsuccessfull way of thinking that will die out eventually.
The question is, will it wipe out human kind entirely?
I hope not, some people are exeptional and have all the qualities that should live on, like (emotional) intelligence, kindness, love for animals, deep emotions, complete honesty, curiosity and an exceptional strong will.

J.
arosjoa
not rated yet Dec 18, 2012
Jo01: "Economic growth will lead to disaster and war."

Yea, the US had too much greed and started to seek growth without firm bases. Capitalism wasn't that wrong, it just became very stupid.