We live in uncertain and chaotic times. The world is facing a lot of economic and political struggles, and on top of all that mess there’s also global warming to take into account. That’s why it’s only normal for anyone’s imagination to wander into end of the world scenarios. The current situation of the world makes you wonder, will everyone make it out in the end?
- A Youtube channel named Top Lists compiled a list of countries he believes will not survive the next 20 years
- It’s highly speculative
- He includes countries that are going through economic or political upheaval
In this list, we’ve also included nations that are threatened by global warming. Recently, the Alliance of Small Island States met up to discuss their mounting fear over the fact that they will “cease to exist due to climate change.” Rising temperatures, and in turn, rising sea levels, will put at risk the lives of millions of people living in these islands.
In the spirit of speculation and contemplation, here’s a list of countries and highly populated coastal cities that are most likely not to survive the next 20 years:
1. North Korea. The small Asian nation continues to insist on self-reliance and authoritarianism, using nothing but the resources within their borders and some aid from Russia and China, North Korea’s closest allies.
But experts believe that at some point within the next 20 years, the nation will leave behind their isolation and slowly open its borders and expand its foreign affairs beyond Russia and China.
2. Belgium. This small European nation is split into Flanders and Wallonia, two regions that have very little in common. During the 2007 crisis in Belgium, the partition of the country was hotly debated, especially when it came to how they would split up Brussels.
The people of Wallonia are mostly French speakers who want to become one with France, while the people of Flanders are Flemish and they wish to be an independent nation away from their Francophone brothers and sisters.
3. China. The nation counts with one of the strongest and powerful economies in the world, and its military is nothing to joke about. But the destruction of China will not come from foreign threats, but because of the environmental damage the nation has sustained.
There are cities in China, like Beijing, where the smog problem is so intense that residents are often advised to stay indoors during the days when it hits the hardest. On top of the air problem, China’s rivers and water reservoirs are irreversibly polluted by the contamination of factories. The Chinese government has predicted that the nation will run out of drinkable water by 2030.
Moreover, the Islamic State would have to be defeated and kicked out of the nation, and all three groups would have to find a way to balance the way they live so that a sustainable Iraq can live on.
5. The United Kingdom. It’s not a secret that Scotland has always wanted their independence from the United Kingdom (although the latest referendum showed that the nation still couldn’t make up its mind about whether they should be independent or a part of the union. As of the year 2016, England is no longer a part of the European Union, and this has led the country into a more divided political and social atmosphere.
Wales and Northern Ireland are also nations that have strong independence movements, and if any of these nations succeeds at gaining their independence, the United Kingdom would fall apart and all of its members would simply exist independently.
As recently as 2012, 50 states have sent petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures that want to break away from the union. Top Lists speculates that the most likely states to break away are Alaska and Texas.
7. Spain. The iconic European nation has been facing an economic crisis since 2008. Their debt to GDP ratio is dangerously close to 94 per cent. As of January 2015, nearly a quarter of Spanish citizens were unemployed. This economic trouble has created a generation of young Spaniards who feel hopeless in their home nation, and who’ve instead decided to flock the country for greener pastures within the European Union.
On top of the economic problems, Spain has two regions that have always wanted independence: Catalonia and the Basque region of the North. The Basque area is home to the nationalist organization ETA, which has been responsible for a number of terror attacks that have killed over 829 people since 1968
On top of the domestic divisions, the geopolitical conflicts in Libya are still going strong. Even if the wars cease and the country finds peace within the next 20 years, it’s unlikely that it will remain under the one unified Libya that the rest of the world knows.
9. The Maldives. Many people would agree that this island nation, like many other island nations around the world, is one of the most likely ones to cease to exist. The small tropical nation located in the Indian Ocean has been under the threat of rising ocean levels for quite some time now. The population of the Maldives is almost 350,000 people.
In 2012, Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed looked into moving the population into the mainland of South Asia, and he even warned Australia that they should prepare for an “oncoming wave of environmental refugees” within the next 20 years.
Island nations like The Bahamas rely on tourism, so they need to implement drastic measures to save time while more long-term measures to stop global warming are implemented. Sea walls, for example, are one of the measures that could help in the meantime by stopping the increasingly strong and wild waves that keep crashing against places inhabited by the nation’s population.
11. The Pacific Marshall Islands. The islands, located closest to Japan and Australia and aligned with the equator, have a population of over 50,000 people. In 2015, the New York Times published an article titled “The Marshall Islands are Disappearing.” Countries like the Marshall Islands are so small, and so underdeveloped when compared to other nations facing collapse, that they’re often ignored during climate conferences around the world.
Things look bleak for the islands. At a conference convened to draft the Paris accord, an official from the Marshall Islands tried to make a case for the sinking nation. But bigger and more economically powerful countries like India ignored their pleas, which means that in 20 years the land mass might disappear entirely if they can’t be helped.
Like with every other island nation, the lack of funding and the temporary measures make the future of this country look grim.
13. Solomon Islands. In 2016, the Guardian reported that six of the Solomon islands were washed away by rising sea levels, destroying entire villages never to be seen again. Over the past two decades, the Solomon islands have seen their sea levels rise as much as 10mm per year. One island, Nuatambu island, was the home of 25 families.
Rising sea levels aren’t just making shorelines disappear. They’re also spoiling farming lands and crops, making food security another issue for the small island.
14. Tokyo, Japan. The city of Tokyo is unlikely to disappear entirely, with 7 million people living there. But even a spike in global temperatures by at least 2 degrees Celsius would leave over 4 million Tokyo residents without a home, according to a report by the Japan Times.