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December 7 – THE WORLD IN 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future

When: Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 6:30 PM
Where: UCLA Faculty Center
: RSVP to by December 6, 11am with your selection of $33 dinner/$38 dinner with dessert. Please bring your check payable to “Michael Intriligator,” your UCLA host. Parking is available at Structure 2, near the Faculty Center, at the corner of Hilgard and Westholme. Parking fee is $10.

SEMINAR TOPIC: THE WORLD IN 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future. This talk presents a science-based projection of what our world might look like in forty years’ time, assuming no change to current trajectories in (1) population demographics, (2) resource demand, (3) economic globalization, and (4) climate change. Content is drawn from Dr. Laurence C. Smith’s book THE WORLD IN 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future. The first part of the book (“The Push”) identifies key world pressures and trends, for example in urbanization, population aging, energy technology, water supply, immigration, and a historic transfer of wealth and power from west to east. The second part (“The Pull”) describes the emergence of a new region, coined the “Northern Rim”, comprised of the northern United States, Canada, Greenland/Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Russian Federation (named the “NORCs”). These eight northern countries and their surrounding seas will experience transformative changes over the next 40 years, making the Northern Rim a place of rising human activity and global strategic value relative to today. The last part (“Alternate Endings”) explores some more extreme, but less likely potential outcomes; and the power of societal choice in shaping our future.

THE SPEAKER: Dr. Laurence C. Smith is Professor and Vice-Chair of Geography and Professor of Earth & Space Sciences at UCLA. He earned a B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Illinois (1989), M.S. in geological sciences from Indiana University (1991), and Ph.D. in Earth and atmospheric sciences from Cornell University (1996). He has published more than sixty research papers including in the journals Science and Nature. In 2006, he briefed Congress on the likely impacts of northern climate change, and in 2007 his work appeared prominently in the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In 2006-2007 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow by the John S. Guggenheim Foundation in New York. He has won more than $5M in external grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for his research on northern climate change. Other honors include a NASA Young Investigator award (2000), Finalist for NASA’s Presidential Early Career Award (2002), and a Bellagio Residency from the John D. Rockefeller Foundation (2007). In 2010 he published a book THE WORLD IN 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future (Dutton: New York) which describes cross-cutting themes of population demographics, globalization, natural resource demand, and climate change. His work has received media coverage in The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, NPR, CBC Radio, Discover Magazine and others.

Organized and sponsored by PSR-LA, Michael Intriligator (Professor of Economics, Political Science and Public Policy, UCLA and former Director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations; Senior Fellow Milken Institute), and Bennett Ramberg (Seminar Director, is a former State Department policy analyst) and the much appreciated financial support of Richard Bernard, Jack Kaufman, Armin Satoff, Don and Judy Broder, Jack and Valerie Melmed, William E. Perkins, and an anonymous donor.

Click here for a full list of previous Global Security Seminar speakers.

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