If our planet is indeed three-quarters of its way through the cycle of Planetary
Metamorphosis it allows us to predict the future and how conditions will deteriorate.
I say deteriorate, because we are already near the end of the ‘comfortable environment’
phase associated with the planet’s orbital distance from the Sun. Equatorial temperatures
will gradually increase and this will mean that desertification will encroach into
areas which now have equable climates.
However, the greatest problem we will face will be associated with a significant
increase in sea level. If methanogens are indeed responsible for sea-level rises
of the order of 0.18 cm per year - then in one million years only, most land will
be covered with deep water. Only mountainous land will reach out of the oceans.
This may be the deciding factor which will require us to move on to the next planet
outwards - Mars. However it is difficult to imagine how billions of people could
be transported to another World. There would likely be a ‘Scramble for Mars’ and
warring between the most powerful of nations to ensure they gained the most valuable
territories and resources available there.
By then, many species of animals will become extinct as natural ecosystems become
depleted and are replaced by agrarian systems. A much larger population restricted
to a diminishing land surface area will cause insurmountable problems and much stress
for the future inhabitants of this Earth.
Perhaps we should start preparing for a future on Mars. If methanogens were seeded
there, they could start the production of water resources. Introduced photosynthesising
bacteria would prepare Mars’ atmosphere for us by producing oxygen and there is plenty
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for this purpose.