There are two reports made by the European Union's Foresight Expert Group "The World in 2025", and "Rising Asia and Socio-ecological Transition". The experts assessed and measured global trends over recent decades and then developed forward projections and alternative scenarios.
I cannot relate to the research methods of futurology. But I'm sure the findings and opinions of the experts deserve attention, especially as most of their predictions are based on the here and now and could well be influenced by today's policies.
I'm in the middle of the report now.
The center of global activity will be in Asia, especially China. The population of India will approach China's, which will have started to decrease. Europe will place third, the United States fourth. Russia will be knocked out of the top ten because of growing population in Africa and South America. The European population will be older than that of any other country.
If everybody in the world follows the habits of the US population, which has the highest per capita energy, food and water consumption, a dearth of commodities could create a severe world crisis.
The poorest nations would be the main victims. Extending cheap energy, food and clean water supply therefore is a number one priority.
Ageing will challenge intergenerational solidarity due to changes in family patterns (more unmarried cohabitation, later marriage, more divorce, more repartnering, smaller family sizes, later childbearing).
There will be massive migration to the cities (most of the migrants will be "climate refugees") 60 % of the population will live there. This may lead to tensions with the existing population.
Further chapters are on economy, trade, employment (very interesting the chapter on "communicative sharing" - that's what do we here on the blogs, don't we?)
Then there's a chapter on environment and health, climate change and energy. I didn't find anything substantial on renewable energy, especially solar energy!
There are chapters on technology, innovation, research, education, information, entrepreneurship, international financial systems.
Very drastic are the parts on "the transversal threats and challenges".
"All the areas producing energy goods vital for defence and security (including uranium) are becoming major crisis areas: Russia, Middle East, Africa. The challenge for Europe is rather clear: except a genuine energy or technological revolution, Europe will be indeed increasingly dependent on more and more unstable areas (Africa, Middle East, Russia)".
The experts also name "main drivers that could impact the future", those being people and their cognitive abilities, and wildcards that may change the situation radically, such as wars, the first collapse of a third-world big city, and more.