Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years

Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years

by Vaclav Smil
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262518228

ISBN-13: 9780262518222

Pub. Date: 09/30/2012

Publisher: MIT Press

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

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Overview

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262518222
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
09/30/2012
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
768,230
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Preface: What to Expect

1 How (Not) to Look Ahead 1

2 Fatal Discontinuities 9

3 Unfolding Trends 71

4 Environmental Change 171

5 Dealing with Risk and Uncertainty 219

App. A Units and Abbreviations, Prefixes 255

App. B Acronyms 257

References 259

Name Index 297

Subject Index 299

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