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Experts Tell What Living in 2050 Might Be Like

Climate news may often seem grim, portraying a bleak future for our planet. However, when you engage in conversations with climate scientists, engineers, and researchers, you’ll find a different perspective – one that is hopeful and achievable.

As we celebrate Earth Day in 2023, USA TODAY encourages us to imagine a brighter future instead of dwelling on worst-case scenarios. Through interviews with a dozen experts, we see what life could be like for a generation of Americans who have successfully addressed climate change without relying on miracles or yet-to-be-invented technology.

Fast forward to 2050. Experts on Earth Day tell what living in 2050 might be like. Let’s see what is next in 2050!

Through hard work, cutting-edge engineering, America’s entrepreneurial spirit, and a bipartisan effort driven by both voters and corporations, the United States has achieved its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

According to climate futurist Alex Steffen, “The big secret here is not how bad things are but how good they can get – if we move fast enough.”

Thanks to the collective efforts of nations worldwide, the global temperature rise has been kept below 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). While challenges remain, such as rising sea levels resulting in coastal city inundation, habitat loss threatening plant and animal species, and adverse impacts on farming and farmers due to hotter and more erratic weather, the situation could have been much worse.

experts tell what living in 2050 might be like

There has been enough time to relocate people from vulnerable cities and towns, as Michael Mann, a climate scientist and director of the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media, suggested.

The new inland cities that emerged are designed to be more compact, with green spaces interspersed among apartment buildings and single-family homes, making them walkable and accessible via light rail, buses, and self-driving vehicles.

Efforts to combat climate change have also included ecosystem restoration initiatives, such as re-establishing mangrove forests and coastal ecosystems to help stabilize coastal areas and carbon capture.

Romany Webb, a research scholar at the Sabine Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, suggests that offshore oil and gas rigs have been repurposed to cultivate kelp and other seaweeds, nurturing marine life.

Furthermore, a comprehensive program of controlled “prescribed burns” rejuvenated America’s forests, returning them to their former glory when Native tribes regularly used such fires for ecological management. As a result, the devastating mega-fires that once ravaged millions of acres are now essentially a thing of the past, as proposed by Alex Steffen.

Regarding how Americans might live in the future, there has been a shift towards increased mobility. People tend to reside in cities and larger towns during their 20s, move to suburban areas when starting families, and then return to cities as empty-nesters to take advantage of urban amenities, as suggested by Scandinavian climate researchers Henrik Osterblom and Oyvind Paasche.

While many Americans still live in single-family homes with yards, these homes have significantly improved energy efficiency, insulation, and overall comfort.

Heat pumps have become a standard feature in every house, replacing traditional gas furnaces and making them more sustainable, as David Sholl, director of the Transformation Decarbonization Initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, predicted. Get more news on Get Top Trends.

All-electric appliances are now designed to be energy-efficient and quiet in these homes. Changes in dietary preferences have also emerged over the past 30 years, with vegetables playing a more prominent role in meals, beans, and legumes becoming more popular, often in processed forms that appeal to a wide range of palates. For example, hummus, not commonly consumed in 1950, has become a bestseller, reflecting a growing trend towards plant-based protein sources.

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