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Global Catastrophes and Trends : The Next Fifty Years, Paperback / softback Book

Global Catastrophes and Trends : The Next Fifty Years Paperback / softback

Part of the The MIT Press series

Paperback / softback

Description

A wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at global changes that may occur over the next fifty years-whether sudden and cataclysmic world-changing events or gradually unfolding trends. Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a "fatal discontinuity," a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend.

Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time.

In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. Smil first looks at rare but cataclysmic events, both natural and human-produced, then at trends of global importance, including the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources and growing economic and social inequality.

He also considers environmental change-in some ways an amalgam of sudden discontinuities and gradual change-and assesses the often misunderstood complexities of global warming. Global Catastrophes and Trends does not come down on the side of either doom-and-gloom scenarios or techno-euphoria.

Instead, Smil argues that understanding change will help us reverse negative trends and minimize the risk of catastrophe.

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