The Birmingham Post today launches a major six-part series putting the spotlight in the Midlands on the human challenges posed by global warming and declining fossil-fuel supplies.
Joanna Geary will examine just how successful the region has been at tackling these issues – and ask what needs to be done to make the West Midlands "sustainable" in economic, environmental and social terms.
The series will inform next week's Business Council for Sustainable Development Summit at the NEC – a conference where key decision-makers will ask if our region is ready to face tomorrow's world.
The year is 2080 and the West Midlands is a very different place.
Stuck between a drought-suffering south and the wind-ravaged north, the region is struggling to adjust to a new UK climate and geography.
Birmingham has been given the dubious honour of new capital of Britain after the recent catastophic flood of London.
With global warming left unchecked, the world's major ice sheets have collapsed. The rise in sea levels has been so great that it has wiped out London, as well as other low-lying cities across the globe such as New York and Tokyo.
The West Midlands has suffered a massive influx of refugees from the London tragedy – people the region can do little to support as much of its industry is unable to function since the remaining oil reserves were rationed in the 2050s.
Happy to rely on imported gas and reluctant to curb our energy-wasting lifestyles, the country was taken by surprise by the politically motivated gas wars of the early 2060s. At the end of the gas pipeline, Britain was left out in the cold. The weather has also affected our health. We have enjoyed the hotter summers but they have also brought a dramatic rise in skin cancer. The very young and old are also far more susceptible to heat exposure.
Those living on the region's floodplains are becoming used to damaged homes during the winter flash floods.
So is this really the future of the West Midlands? According to Sir Nick Stern's report on climate change, much of this could be reality if temperatures rise by five degrees by 2080.
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