Asia To Africa, Demographic Dividends And Disasters In The Year 2100

At a refugee camp in Ethiopia
At a refugee camp in Ethiopia
Lucie Jung

Climate change is already affecting people's lives, even as some may try to deny it. If nothing is done to curtail it, the impact will be much more pronounced in the coming years and decades, not only for certain communities — in low-lying coastal areas, for example — but for entire regions. Fast forward to the end of this century, and climate change could shift the global population balance, researchers now warn.

Today, Asia is home to roughly 60% of the world's population. But by 2100, it could drop to 43%, according to a study published in the journal Sciences Advances. That's in part due to rising temperatures and humidity levels, which would make it nearly impossible for people to live in the southern part of the continent. These areas are vulnerable to heat waves that would test the limits of human capacity to survive. In countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where citizens rely on agriculture, climate change would also endanger livelihoods. This is all nothing short of disastrous.

Drought in Uttar Pradesh, India — Photo: Prabhat Kumar Verma/ZUMA

In contrast, the proportion of the world's population living in Africa could rise by the end of the century, according to an estimate recently published in French daily Le Monde. Today, Africa holds 1.3 billion people — or about 17% of the world population. By 2100, the continent is projected to house 4.5 billion people. That would be 40% of the globe.

How will this affect the balance of power in the world? My guess is as good as yours.

By striving to curb climate change, we can alter these projected statistics.

The jump in Africa's population is attributed to longer life expectancy. This is good news, as is the opportunity offered by the demographic dividend, i.e. Africa's relatively youthful population will be a driving force for growth in an aging world. But in Asia, the future looks bleak, if we are to go down the path described by current projections.

It's important to remember that these are estimates. It's also important to remember that we can act now: By striving to curb climate change, we can alter these projected statistics. The world in 2100, in other words, can still be whatever 2017 decides it to be.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!