environment | December 20, 2012

Preparing For 2030: Laurence C. Smith On NPR's Talk Of The Nation

"None of us can predict the future," Laurence C. Smith says in an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation, "but it's certainly reasonable to project some long-term trends should current activities continue as they are now." That type of projection is exactly what the UCLA Climate Scientist did in his sweeping debut book The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilizations Northern Future. During the radio show, Smith drew on research used in his book to discuss parallels between his projections for 2050, and a new report's predictions for life in 2030. Compiled by the U.S. National Intelligence Council, the report unveiled some major changes set to take place in the future; changes that David Andelman, Editor of the World Policy Journal, also commented on in an interview with the Huffington Post.

While Andelman focused on the political and economic shifts poised to redefine the power players in the global market, Smith discusses the climate projections found in the report. "The climate changes that we have observed are already happening much faster than we thought," he tells NPR. "For example, the disappearance of the arctic sea ice cover has just stunned the scientific community." Smith and his team have witnessed this change first-hand and have done research to understand the rate at which the ice is melting to project the effects it will have on the ecosystem down the road. "As a climate scientist myself," Smith explains, "this is one of the fears that keeps me awake at night." He also briefly mentions the impact that a "graying planet" will have on the climate in the interview.

Smith is one of the world's most respected voices on climate change and has published more than sixty research papers on the subject, as well as advising both the United Nations and Congress. He speaks from experience, drawing from his writing and his research in the field to present a balanced look at what the future has in store—and how we can prepare for it.