- 100 years - effective space transportation, orbital and lunar habitats, Earth in real crisis.
- 200 years - Colonies exploiting Jovian and Saturnian moons. Earth stabilized and beginning to re-terraform. Lunar and cis-lunar space a single confederation but one with a lot of tension between components. Map only barely recognizable.
- 300 years - Stardrive invented. Political relations stable in Sol system but stresses develop in the development of nearby usable worlds.
Well the first century is the rough one. For a future that can only averted by an unprecedented level of international cooperation go to this site and watch the TVO video or listen to the podcast. Sure, you don't trust scientists and everything is fine. I'm married into science, I know climatologists who have worked on this, for that matter I know Coast Guard captains who have sailed the arctic over four decades; climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is probably going to get very bad. In the interests of fairness, and since I am allowed to choose any premise I want for a future history, any comments debating either side of the reality of this prospect will be deleted. Heck, maybe we will get lucky (or smart) -- most of the future histories rooted in the 1950s started with a global nuclear war.
Anyway, here's my line for the 1st century:
- In the mid-21st century a number of very wealthy people around the world realize that the earthbound component of any crisis could be very hard on themselves and their heirs. Under the guise of space tourism they fund (and persuade their governments, under the cover of ideological competition and patriotism) the development of the first permanent orbital habitats. Within a few decades the technologies for ground-to-orbit travel, long-term environmental control, and permanent space habitats advances more than was ever considered possible during the first century of space flight.
- With CO2 control a desperate priority, the gloves come off of nuclear research and development. Small, economical and reasonably safe fission plants become commonplace, and nuclear fusion becomes a reality early in the 22nd Century.
- The development of halphyte agriculture, including algal based fuel extraction, not only helps make up for the massive loss of farmland as the world becomes dryer and hotter, but feeds back into the development of colonization technologies when we finally find other worlds.
- The great die-off. The vast majority of the world's populations live in those parts of the world at greatest risk. The evaporation of the glaciers that feed the river systems of India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and China are an unmitigated disaster; both famine and war ensue.
- The pressure from the climate refugees escaping the disaster completely disrupts the wealthy countries of the North. While the fundamental grounding of the larger northern nations is preserved at some core level, the political organizations are completely re-organized.
Next post, off to the planets!