future timeline technology singularity humanity
Timeline»21st century»2030-2039»





Global population reaches 9 billion

For the vast majority of human history, the world's population stayed below 100 million. Life was often brutal and short. But the modern era led to unprecedented improvements in health, personal incomes, and general living standards. In just over a century, between 1805 and 1925, the number of humans on the planet doubled from one to two billion. It took only 35 years to reach the next billion and a mere 14 years to reach the billion after that. Population growth hit its maximum rate in 1963, peaking at 2.2% per annum.

These huge increases continued until the end of the 20th century and into the early 21st. Major environmental impacts now began to emerge as humanity exceeded planetary boundaries. The United Nations (UN) reported 15th November 2022 as the likely date when the global population reached 8 billion.*

The next milestone of 9 billion is reached in 2037.* This is sooner than a previous forecast by the UN, which had suggested 2042. It does, however, continue to indicate a slowing growth rate, since the 15 years after the last milestone is longer than the 12 years between the 7 and 8 billion milestones. The next milestone of 10 billion is predicted to be 21 years hence, in 2058.*

Countries growing at the fastest annual rate in 2037 include Niger (3.4%), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2.8%), and Mali (2.7%).* The most rapidly falling populations are the British overseas territory of Saint Helena (-1.2%), the U.S. territory of American Samoa (-1.1%), and Bulgaria (-1%). Larger and more prominent countries with declining populations include Ukraine (-0.7%), Japan (-0.7%), and Poland (-0.5%).

The density of humans on the planet has increased from 54/km² (2022) to 61/km² (2037), when measured by land surface area. More people than ever before are living in urban regions, up from 57% in 2022 to 63% in 2037.*


global population 9 billion 2037



Global warming hits 1.5°C

A temporary breach of the 1.5°C limit agreed at the Paris Climate Accords had already been observed during a recent El Niño. This phenomenon is part of a natural heating cycle that occurs every four to seven years in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in particularly hot years. By 2037, the global average temperature is regularly exceeding this threshold,** with no sign of the increase slowing.

Panic is now setting in, as the impacts of climate change become ever more obvious – with increasingly frequent, record-breaking disasters throughout much of the world, accompanied by disrupted supply chains, falling crop yields, and surging numbers of displaced refugees. With its goal of 1.5°C now largely abandoned, the international community is focused on adaptation efforts and limiting the rise as much as possible.

By 2037, greenhouse gas emissions have recently peaked and are now declining. Most developed nations are in the final stages of a transition to renewable sources of electricity. The US, for example, has cut its overall emissions by 50% relative to 2005.* This is slower than required by the Paris Climate Agreement, but significantly more than had been expected by some earlier forecasts, due to a landmark bill passed in 2022. Meanwhile, the UK recently achieved a goal of producing 100% of its electricity without fossil fuels and, led by Prime Minister Keir Starmer, established a new publicly owned clean energy company known as Great British Energy.*

Even China – the world's largest emitter since 2006 – has now peaked its emissions and begun the long journey towards carbon neutrality, a goal it will reach within the next 30 years. India is close behind, on its way to net zero by 2070.

Significant advances have been made in cutting worldwide emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas with up to 96 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide when measured on a per-molecule basis over a 20-year timescale. At the COP26 summit in 2021, more than 100 nations agreed a 30% reduction in methane emissions by 2030. While this pledge fell short of its original target, enough progress occurred to achieve a peak and decline, which has continued with another seven years of reductions.

Despite these recent developments, greenhouse gas emissions remain dangerously high, with climate impacts accelerating. Just a decade and a half remains until the middle of the century and a potential breach of the 2°C threshold.

By 2037, the annual chance of a European summer like the 2003 heatwave has reached 30-50%. Warm spell durations in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean have increased by 14 and 15 days, respectively. Annual water availability in the Mediterranean has declined by 9%, while the area burned by summer wildfires has increased by more than 40%.*

In the Americas, temperature increases already exceed the 1.5°C global average – ranging from 1.8°C in the south and southwestern United States to as high as 2.4°C in the northeastern states.* As a result, US crops are being negatively affected, with maize yields now typically at least 10% below where they should be. Other impacts include the Mississippi River now experiencing an 18% increase in the frequency of extreme high flows. The length of the tropical rain season has declined by three days in Central America and as much as ten days in northern Brazil. In Amazonia, warm spell durations have increased by 28 days and the frequency of warm extremes over land has soared by more than 250%.

In Africa, the picture is more mixed. For example, while some regions have seen little or no change in rainfall, others such as the Greater Horn of Africa are experiencing as much as 17% more rainfall. The frequency of extreme high river flows has increased by 9% in the Nile and 25% in the Congo.* The number of people exposed to water scarcity has remained stable in the Sahara region, declined by 13 million in West Africa, and increased by five to six million in the eastern and southern parts of the continent.

In Asia, glacier masses in high mountains are on average 36% lower.* This has been accompanied by an increase in landslides, erosion, and floods, now a common feature in news reports, due to their devastating impact on populated areas below. By mid-century, glacier volumes in the Everest region will have declined by half (relative to 2015),* with serious consequences for water availability. The frequency of warm extremes over land has increased substantially throughout much of the continent – from 76% in Northern Asia to as much as 235% in Western Asia. However, the Russian Federation has benefited from a decrease of one month in average drought length. In terms of populations exposed to river flooding, the worst increases are being experienced by the countries of India (326%), Bhutan (261%), and Bangladesh (227%). For China, the figure is 93%. Despite increasingly disruptive climate events, Asia's crop yields have remained relatively stable, for now, although this will change with 2°C of global warming.

By the late 2030s, the Arctic Ocean is becoming almost entirely ice-free during some months.* The resulting change of albedo – from reflective white to a darker and more heat-absorbing surface – is creating feedback loops of amplified warming. The jet stream is also being altered, changing the movement of weather patterns over North America, Europe, and Russia. In a somewhat counterintuitive trend, cold winter extremes in some parts of the northern hemisphere are becoming more likely and winter storms are being driven further south. This is caused by the increasing moisture capacity of the atmosphere, with about 7% more water vapour carried per 1°C of temperature rise. The shifting jet stream is also influencing the path of hurricanes and worsening their damage.

In addition to these immediate short-term impacts, the breaching of 1.5°C has set in motion a number of longer-term trends.* This includes the almost total loss of the Great Barrier Reef by 2050, and a vast thawing of boreal permafrost. The loss of both the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets (together accounting for a combined 9 metres of sea level rise in the coming centuries) is no longer a mere possibility, but now likely.*

A growing sense of doom pervades the world, as nations scramble to protect their own interests amid the deteriorating geopolitical situation. Wars are being fought over water, land, and other resources. Borders are becoming tighter. Financial markets are volatile, as fossil fuel demand undergoes a series of collapses. Tourism is declining in many regions, due to environmental impacts. Mental health is also suffering, with depression the number one global disease burden.* People are becoming reluctant to have children, or even to work and forge careers, as they foresee a bleak future. The sheer uncertainty is a defining feature of this time. The level of political and economic uncertainty in the world had been increasing since the financial crash of 2008 and this trend has continued.*


global warming timeline predictions 2030 2034 2035



Total solar eclipse in Australia and New Zealand

A total solar eclipse occurs on 13th July 2037.* It passes through the centre of Australia at 2:40 UTC (12:40 local time) with maximum eclipse occurring near the intersection of three states – Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia – before moving across the North Island of New Zealand. Totality has a duration of three minutes and 58 seconds.*


2037 eclipse



America's sixth-generation fighter jet enters service

By 2037, deliveries of the F-35 Lightning II for the U.S. military have ceased.* Although the aircraft is scheduled to remain in service until 2070,* it is succeeded around this time by a sixth generation of planes that begins to be rolled out. The U.S. Navy's existing fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornets is also being retired now, necessitating a replacement. The new fighter jets are procured for both the U.S. Navy (a program known as F/A-XX) and Air Force (known as F-X). In terms of technology they are a major leap over the F-35 and also designed to outclass China's Chengdu J-20 and Shenyang J-31.

The sixth-generation jets feature increased autonomy (with the option of being unmanned), orders of magnitude improvements in computer processing and algorithmic power, faster manoeuvring and sensing of the battlespace, hypersonic weapons, laser guns, advanced electronic warfare capabilities, better stealth technology and so-called "smart skins" where sensors are built into the side of the aircraft itself to reduce drag.* They incorporate a supersonic tailless design for the first time ever, made possible through advanced computer modelling and new materials.*




The Oxford English Dictionary 3rd edition is published

Work on the original version of The Oxford English Dictionary began in 1857, when a small group of intellectuals in London (unconnected to Oxford University) became dissatisfied with the existing English dictionaries. They formed an "Unregistered Words Committee" to search for words unlisted or poorly defined in current dictionaries. The gradual realisation of the project's immense scale – far greater than any previous effort – led to the idea of a new, truly comprehensive dictionary organised in a series of volumes.

It took until 1888 for the first of these to be published, covering words beginning with the letters A and B. Another 40 years would pass before the final entries in the V to Z range, marking the 10th and final volume, completed in 1928.

As the English language evolved through the 20th century, the first edition became outdated. The need to accommodate many new words and phrases resulted in additional supplements and, eventually, a complete second edition. Published in 1989, this took advantage of recent advances in computerisation to improve the editing and production process. The second edition increased the number of word definitions from 400,000 to 600,000 and the number of volumes from 10 to 20. Author Anthony Burgess declared it "the greatest publishing event of the century", while TIME magazine dubbed the book "a scholarly Everest" and The Guardian called it "one of the wonders of the world".

Following the launch of an online version in 2000, the dictionary's editors began a major revision project to create a completely new third edition, at a projected cost of £34 million. Apart from general updates to include information on new words and other changes in the English language, the third edition brings many other improvements – including changes in formatting and stylistic conventions for easier reading and computerised searching, more etymological information, and a general change of focus away from individual words towards more general coverage of the language as a whole. While the original text drew its quotations mainly from literary sources such as novels, plays, and poetry, with additional material from newspapers and academic journals, the new edition references more kinds of material that were unavailable to editors of earlier editions, such as wills, inventories, account books, diaries, journals, letters, blogs, and Twitter posts. This third edition, roughly double the overall length of the second,* is finally completed in 2037.*


oxford english dictionary 3rd edition 2037
Seven of the 20 volumes of the printed 2nd edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (1989)
Credit: Dan (mrpolyonymous on Flickr), CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons




« 2036

⇡  Back to top  ⇡

2038 »



If you enjoy our content, please consider sharing it:






1 Global population reaches 8 billion, Future Timeline Blog:
Accessed 20th November 2022.

2 Day of 8 Billion, UN:
Accessed 20th November 2022.

3 2022 Revision of World Population Prospects, United Nations:
Accessed 20th November 2022.

4 Population & Demography Data Explorer, Our World In Data:
Accessed 20th November 2022.

5 Urban population, 1950-2100, Future Timeline Data & Trends:
Accessed 20th November 2022.

6 "...take the rate of historical warming over the past 30 years and extend it into the future. In that case, we would expect global temperatures to exceed 1.5C around 2037."
Analysis: When might the world exceed 1.5C and 2C of global warming?,
Carbon Brief:
Accessed 23rd April 2023.

7 Extrapolated from NASA's GISTEMP temperature series:
See GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4), Carbon Brief:
Accessed 23rd April 2023.

8 Climate bill could slash US emissions by 40% after historic Senate vote, The Guardian:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

9 Labour is right: it's time for Britain to profit from its own renewables, The Guardian:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

10 The impacts of climate change at 1.5C, 2C and beyond, Carbon Brief:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

11 The impacts of climate change at 1.5C, 2C and beyond, Carbon Brief:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

12 The impacts of climate change at 1.5C, 2C and beyond, Carbon Brief:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

13 The impacts of climate change at 1.5C, 2C and beyond, Carbon Brief:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

14 See 2048-2058.

15 Observation-based selection of climate models projects Arctic ice-free summers around 2035, Nature:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

16 World on brink of five 'disastrous' climate tipping points, study finds, The Guardian:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

17 Risk of multiple climate tipping points escalates above 1.5°C global warming, EurekAlert!:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

18 See 2030.

19 Economic Policy Uncertainty Index, Economic Policy Uncertainty:
Accessed 21st October 2022.

20 13 July 2037 — Total Solar Eclipse, Time and Date:
Accessed 2nd February 2017.

21 Solar eclipse of July 13, 2037, Wikipedia:
Accessed 2nd February 2017.

22 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, Wikipedia:
Accessed 15th February 2017.

23 Lockheed F-35 service life extended to 2070, Flight Global:
Accessed 15th February 2017.

24 Why America's 6th-Generation Fighter (What Comes After the F-35) Could Be a Game Changer, The National Interest:
Accessed 15th February 2017.

25 Northrop Developing 6th Gen Fighter Plans, Defense News:
Accessed 15th February 2017.

26 The evolving role of the Oxford English Dictionary, Financial Times:
Accessed 27th October 2022.

27 Deadline 2037: the making of the next Oxford English Dictionary, The Irish Times:
Accessed 27th October 2022.


⇡  Back to top