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The New Rules: Global Warming Shifts Focus to the Friendly North

Thomas P.M. Barnett Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

According to virtually all global warming projections, humanity faces significantly more conflict in the decades ahead as we fight over dwindling resources in climate-stressed lands. However, those reports typically overlook one likely outcome that could counterbalance the more negative impacts of global warming -- that of northern territories becoming significantly milder, more accessible, and, most intriguingly, more hospitable to immigration. This is the essential good news to be found in Laurence C. Smith's fascinating new book, "The World in 2050."

The ambitious title is perhaps a bit misleading, for where Smith really delivers is on the subtitle: "Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future" (emphasis mine). After a predictable tour through the usual fears of too many people surviving on too little food, too little energy and too little water, Smith zeroes in on the crux of his geography-centric futurology: the rise of the "New North" and what it will mean for a planet undergoing large-scale ecological change thanks to global warming. ...

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