Solar power broke through the 10% mark by 2023, and by 2045, well more than 50% of civilization's energy needs were being met by the sun. More than 40% was also being met by wind, tidal, and the resurgent nuclear power, with nuclear fusion only just now being rolled out for commercial usage. Using coal for energy demand is effectively obsolete.
While the effects of climate change are being felt nevertheless, they are not being amplified by continued fossil fuel use, granting mankind the time and attention needed to develop methods of reversing the damage caused by previous generations.
I'm more conservative than this, but I still think at least 50% of civilization's energy (not just electricity) needs will be met by clean energy by 2045. "Clean" energy includes solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal, hydroelectric, and H2 (so long as it isn't produced by combusting fossil fuels). The developed world--including China--will have almost abandoned coal power by 2045.
Asteroid mining should be a thing by then because asteroid mining companies already exist and are testing satellites.
Yeah, but given how long it will take to find valuable asteroids, send space ships to them, and either return the ships to Earth with mined cargo or steer the asteroids to near-intercept courses with Earth, 2045 is way too early to expect any company to be making real profit off of asteroid mining. In 2045, there might be someone like a new Elon Musk who is attracting a lot of startup capital for such a business, but that's it.
So be 2045, you begin to see subtle hints this is the case. Such as retro-technology becoming more in vogue, the rich encouraging the poor to use lesser technology so that they can't compete, unwittingly not realizing it plants the seed of their own destruction over the next 1,000 years.
I wouldn't assume the poor will be so dumb that they'd fall for such an obvious strategy.
A variation on that theme would be in regards to health care. Super-advanced treatments and procedures affordable to a tiny elite while the vast majority suffer from a progressive degradation of health care services. One day a plague super-virus then arrives, and the rich suddenly wish there was a better developed public health care system in place to contain the outbreak.
I'm of two minds on this.
On the one hand, I remember that drug patents expire after 20 years, meaning that all the blockbuster drugs made before 2026 will be dirt cheap by 2045. So poor people in 2045 will have access to cheaper drugs than we do today, and to more advanced drugs than even the richest people can get today (think of what might be invented between now and 2026). Also, I remind myself that there are government health care systems like Medicaid that are highly likely to still be around in 2045, and the masses of the poor will always be able to use the vote to allocate public funds to those programs to keep affordable/free healthcare service available to themselves.
On the other hand, I also think it's possible there could be cutting-edge medical interventions in 2045, such as nanomachines and therapeutic cloning, that are only available to the rich, and that radically extend their lifespans and/or quality of life. If that sort of disparity existed, people might look at it with a great sense of injustice and grievance.
At the moment, technology starts expensive, and therefore restricted to the rich, and then over time becomes cheaper and more accessible.
And in 2045, that trend will be as strong as it is today.
There would need to be significant changes to society, and a conscious decision by the wealthy and powerful, to stop poor people getting access to new tech.
No it wont, and for several reasons. First, "the wealthy and powerful" aren't of one mind, don't function as one, and never have. Many of them are actually ethical people who would reject the course of action you mention. Many more of them are narrowly self-interested, and will break with the pack in a second and sell advanced technologies to the poor if they sensed it would profit them personally, the Grand Evil Rich People Plan be damned. Second, as I wrote earlier, poor people in 2045 are unlikely to be so dumb that they'd fall for such an obvious strategy of disempowerment against them. Muckraking journalists who were just as smart as the evil rich people and who had access to their social circles would also expose the plan early on.
Automation and AI are going to mean the rich need poor and uneducated people less and less
This is true, and by 2045, mass technological unemployment will be a major problem. Using today's methodology, the U.S. Unemployment Rate might be ~20% and rising each month, this will be the case during economic expansions and bull markets, robots will be everywhere you look (e.g. - I go through a typical day in 2018 without seeing ONE robot, but in 2045, I'll probably run into a dozen of them on a typical day), and everyone will be able to see what's happening. Machines will be destroying old human jobs faster than new human jobs can be created. The pace of change and the constant need to re-train will also demoralize some competent people from even trying to participate in the workforce.
, so if they made this decision, ultimately, they will just kill everyone who isn't useful to them (with their terrible robot legions).
Not by 2045. For one, even the most advanced armies will still rely on human soldiers. I doubt machines will get powerful enough to wipe out humanity--or just the poor part of humanity--until late this century.
By the time we get to the point where they wouldn't need the masses for anything, because AIs can do everything we also have hit the point where they can just get the masses hooked on TIVR, get some AIs to look after them and then ignore them. While the world's elite shoot themselves into space and go off to each find their own private planet or whatever.
This is a much more likely and humane outcome. In fact, the idea is so good that you'd think someone would have already thought of it (panem et circenses).
By 2045, virtual reality is going to be vastly better than it is today. Designing virtual worlds, NPCs and quests could also be automated, meaning each player would have their own, little world where struggles were neither too easy nor too hard, and where they were always #1.
Instead of the rich eating the poor in 2045, I think we'll have a sort of hostage situation where the poor use their voting clout and perhaps the threat of mob violence to force the rich to pay for stuff like free healthcare and free access to virtual reality gaming. In their heart of hearts, many rich people might wish for robot armies they could send in to slaughter the ingrates, but various factors will prevent them from doing so.