There are no purely political predictions here. Politics has become so poisonous that anything said immediately becomes a partisan battle. But there is controversy and probably a few surprises. Nobody predicted the Internet — it just happened.
China will take over North Korea
China has few good options in North Korea, but they will act to prevent a country directly on their border from becoming an ally of western countries or a collapse of the government. It’s clear that Kim Jong-un won’t change his methods and those increasingly threaten China’s goals. China invaded North Korea once before during the Korean War.
The Next Step: The world will not prevent whatever China does in North Korea. Drums will beat loudly in world capitals, but nothing will happen.
Nationally, 2018 will be the year of the all-electric vehicle and the start of a revolution in electric power generation
Tesla, of course, will start producing cars and local solar power installations in significant volumes, but the real change will be an explosion of electric car production by everybody else, including companies that you never heard of before. In Hawaii, the cost of power has already resulted in over a quarter of all power coming from renewable sources, including solar arrays on buildings. In Arizona, over 20 percent comes from renewable sources. The cost of maintaining the power infrastructure for a vanishing customer base may cause power utilities to fail or be taken over.
The Next Step: The power grid will be stressed to handle the switchover from gasoline to electricity. Power generation, including dirtier power like coal, natural gas and nuclear power, will be seriously reconsidered.
Locally, a severe, crippling drought will be a crisis in Utah and the entire southwestern United States
Southwestern Utah hasn’t had a significant storm since June. The Beaver River water district in Utah has only had 3 percent of normal precipitation. Escalante has had 4 percent. There’s no good reason to expect this to get a lot better.
The Next Step: This will kill, once and for all, the Lake Powell Pipeline and create genuine water conservation in Washington County and St. George, which uses far more water per person than other comparable cities. The idea of draining Lake Powell to conserve water loss and focus on Lake Mead will be reconsidered. The demands of states on their legal right under the unrealistic 1922 Colorado River Compact to take more water than exists in the Colorado will create pressure to renegotiate the Compact.
Dan Mabbutt graduated as an electrical engineer from the University of Utah and retired from a career in data processing in Salt Lake City. He now lives in the Zion National Park gateway town of Springdale.