Over the summer, Nancy Brune and I contributed to the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends 2030 blog, a forum to discuss a range of issues ahead of the NIC’s forthcoming Global Trends 2030 study, to be released after the presidential election this fall.
What is interesting about the NIC’s study is that it focuses on emerging trends and their implications for the security and geopolitical environments. But rather than explore these trends in isolation of each other, the NIC examines different scenarios, and how trends engage one another. Urbanization and climate change are among the trends that the NIC has looked at closely. In separate posts, Nancy and I both examined the security implications of urbanization and climate change for the NIC’s blog.
Urbanization – the shift of populations from rural to urban communities – presents challenges and opportunities for policymakers in developed and developing countries. As I wrote in July:
On the one hand, urban cities have the potential to serve as engines of change, driving economic growth in some of the world’s least developed countries and pulling more people out of poverty than at any other time in history. On the other hand, climate change could undercut all of this by exacerbating resource scarcity and putting vulnerable communities at risk from sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms.
But of course, climate change is not the only other trend that touches urbanization. A range of trends, such as globalization and emerging diseases, combine with urbanization to present dilemmas for policymakers.
Last week, Yale Environment 360 published a piece that explored the challenges that could manifest from urbanization, globalization and emerging diseases coming together in novel ways. See: “The Next Pandemic: Why It Will Come from Wildlife.”