Again, this is from Bart Verheggen’s blog on a post called ‘The Problem is it’s Not Our Problem (But Rather That of Future Generations) found here.
According to several independent sources including the UN, the average income (not GDP) in the US in 2050 will be $88,000 in inflation adjusted dollars. Individual figures for other developed countries vary, but are at the same order of magnitude.
China’s income (not GDP) will skyrocket from about $1,600 to about $23,000 over the same period.
So Bart, your lovely daughter will be able to help your academic retirement, but she won’t be Bill Gates. And her Chinese counterpart will be excitedly using the electronic tool kit that her parents couldn’t quite afford, and driving a decent car.
At 2050 the picture looks pretty difficult from a green point of view. We will be using massive amounts of energy, and most in the developing world will not care overly much how it is generated.
But then it starts to get better–and quickly. China’s population will start to decline, as will that of 48 other countries (mostly in Europe). The elderly population that will be so prominent everywhere will use less energy than they did when economically hyperactive.
Those still working will get proportionally higher incomes, as GDP gets spread among fewer workers. And their children will be born and educated in much the same way as your daughter.
And they will care. And they will have enough money to mitigate and adapt.
We should do all we can now, whether at an individual level (I quit driving as my ‘grand green gesture’ 20 years ago), a group level (I am trying to persuade our landlord to get solar panels) or through political means.
The future needs our help. But we don’t have to sweat bullets and imagine catastrophe. We do the footwork and prepare the field, lower our emissions as and when we can, and if we do an honest, workmanlike job of it, things will be okay.