The World in 2020 | Daily News


 

The World in 2020

What will the world look like in 2020? It is of course a leap year that adds one extra day to our calendars and lives. We can only summarize the events that are most likely to happen, not the imponderables that shape the outlook of every year.

But let’s start with the shocker: by the end of 2020 the Human habitat on this World, that is, the land mass on which we live, will be smaller! With ocean levels now rising by several inches per year, the seas are encroaching on our sole habitat in this Universe – and with all the terrifying ramifications of reduced land mass for living and making a living.

Some island nations will be among the first to be literally swallowed up by the rising ocean, unless drastic steps are taken to stop the melting of the North and South Polar ice caps and the snow and ice on all our high mountain ranges, with the Himalaya already showing glacial meltdown. It is estimated that, at the rate of the meltdown, some small island states will disappear in the next two decades. In this time, if the meltdown continues, Sri Lanka, one of the most densely populated islands in the world, will certainly have lost its beaches and some lowlying coastal areas. And where will our coastal population go? What about our vital tourism industry?

It is this very clear and present danger that makes us begin our prognosis for 2020 by sounding the alert on the Global Climate Crisis. This newspaper is firmly committed to propagating this alert consistently to energise our national response to Climate Change.

World leaders will meet in Kunming to discuss biodiversity, while emissions will be discussed in Glasgow. This year will be a crucial year to initiate action as 2100, the year that could see a climate catastrophe if things go unchecked, is just one generation away.

Aside from global warming and rising ocean levels, the biggest event of 2020 is the Summer Olympics from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, a city that gets the Five Rings for the second time after 1964. Held under the theme Discover Tomorrow, more than 11,000 athletes representing some 200 countries and 50 disciplines will converge on the ultra-modern Japanese capital. The Paralympics begin immediately afterwards. The only other World Cup event this year is the T20 Cricket World Cup, which will have a nice rhyme to it - Twenty20 in 2020.

There is another event that brings the world together – this time in Dubai, UAE. The Dubai Expo will span 173 days, with each country (including Sri Lanka) literally getting its place in the sun with individual pavilions. The overall theme is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia will host the G20 Summit in 2020.

The most eagerly awaited political event of early 2020 is the Senate Impeachment trial of US President Donald Trump, scheduled to take place this month. Political analysts expect Trump to emerge victorious, but perhaps not unscathed, at the end since the Senate is controlled by the Republicans, who are solidly behind the President. The only question is whether the Impeachment will damage or benefit President Trump in the second biggest political event this year, namely, the US presidential election to be held in November. The Democrats still do not have a clear-cut candidate at this stage, which may benefit Trump.

Sri Lanka will probably have a General Election in April-May and provincial election later.

Across the world, governments and tech analysts will keep a close tab on social media Websites, given their chequered past records in elections around the world and also in fermenting social unrest. Among the other issues that will once again come to the fore in 2020 are migration and entrenched racism.

This year will have several big anniversaries including the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN). 2020 has been designated by the UN as the Year of the Nurse, to mark Florence Nightingale’s 200th birth anniversary (May 12). The focus will be on the world’s nurses be they in the battlefields of West Asia or Ebola-stricken villages in Africa or disasters elsewhere.

The current year will see a greater shift towards all-electric cars, with virtually all carmakers introducing at least one EV model. Flying taxis will take off in Melbourne and probably Dubai (as part of the Expo) this year.

But we cannot soar towards the future without preserving and knowing more about our past. This will be the aim of the most stunning museum the world will ever see – the US$ 750 million Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in Giza which will open this year. The Heneghan Peng-designed 480,000 Sq. metre GEM will house thousands of artefacts including the complete Tutankhamun Collection.

The next 364 days will be as unpredictable as the weather. There will be plenty of joy as well as sorrow as life takes its twists and turns. The world will need to tackle global challenges collectively, shunning divisions short-sighted nationalisms that divert from the urgently needed joint action to save our habitat and our global civilisation.


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