Study: Global warming, energy & food shortages, recession to cause 'industrial' failure in 10 years

In the first peer-reviewed study of its kind, a new report by a Westminster think-tank warns that abrupt climate change, energy shortages, food scarcities and economic turmoil could plunge industrial societies into chaos after 2020.
Sept. 21, 2010 - PRLog -- The study, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Pluto Press/Macmillan, 2010), predicts that converging crises may trigger resource short-falls leading to political and economic failure in the West, while accelerating international conflict including ‘intercommunal’ warfare in less developed countries.

Authored by international security analyst Dr. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed – Executive Director of the IPRD and Associate Tutor at the University of Sussex School of Global Studies – the study is the first systematic review of data, evidence and theory across physical and social sciences, including academic research and industry reports, assessing the connections between different global crises including the danger of violent conflict. Former UK Environment Minister (1997-2003) Rt. Hon. Michael Meacher MP described the study as “the first book to systematically explore their interconnections... within a single comprehensive narrative... a very worthwhile read for policymakers everywhere.”

The study predicts the ‘terminal depletion’ of the world’s traditional mineral energy reserves – oil, gas, coal, and uranium – within the first quarter of the 21st century, and warns of ‘catastrophic convergence’ between energy, food and water shortages due to abrupt global warming as early as 2018. Developed economies could consequently experience a ‘collapse’ in public services, while large states such as the US, Russia and China would struggle to maintain territorial integrity, potentially becoming embroiled in geopolitical conflict for land and resources.

The study also shows that public anxieties about global crises are already fuelling the break-down of community cohesion. Author Dr. Ahmed, an expert on the systemic causes of mass violence who predicted the global banking crisis in August 2006, said: ‘Crisis convergence will magnify the probability of civil wars and cross-border conflicts. The chaos would be ideal breeding ground for Islamist, far-right, and other forms of extremism. We could even see a resurgence of conflict between major powers, including the spectre of genocidal violence’.

The report warns that without drastic change – akin to ‘a post-carbon industrial revolution’ – industrial civilization cannot survive by the end of this century. But it also demonstrates the viability of such a transition based on cutting-edge social structures and technologies including new ways of organizing production in ‘green growth’ economies; exciting models of participatory politics; proven models of distributed renewable energy networks; and high productivity of organic, low-pesticide, small-scale forms of farming. ‘The real question is, what will the post-carbon world look like?’ said Dr. Ahmed. ‘It could be extremely negative and regressive, but equally, it could be far more equitable, just and ecologically-sound than any social form we’ve had in the past. This century is a pivotal one for the human race, and indeed the planet. It’s up to us whether we take this opportunity to re-organize our societies for the better, or lose it.’ [END]

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed’s new study, A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: and How to Save it, is published by Pluto Press (ISBN: 9780745330532.  UK release: 4th October 2010. Worldwide: 26th October 2010). To request advance review copies, please contact Jon Wheatley at or on +44(0)208 374 642. Dr. Ahmed can be contacted at or on +44(0)7824 441 044. For more information about the study see

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Independent non-profit research organization for transdisciplinary security studies, analysing violent conflict in the context of global ecological, energy and economic crises. A global network and voluntary collective of scholars and scientists.

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