Earth has changed considerably since the end of the 20th century. Global warming caused by industrial greenhouse gas emissions has raised the average temperature by about 3 degrees Celsius and sea levels by about 6 metres. Some former small island nations are completely underwater. This particular problem has, however, been halted thanks to the development of clean nuclear fusion and viable solar power plants. Operations are currently in progress to scrub excess greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and return the climate to a pre-industrial revolution state. Completion of this project is expected to take hundreds of years.

The human population has stabilised at around 9 billion people. With most of the population now educated and industrialised, old traditions of large families are finally dying out. Hunger on large scales has been largely eliminated with the development of genetically engineered crops and livestock which can be grown in regions formerly affected by famine. There are still many poor people, but for the most part actual suffering is no longer a common human condition. Emigration from Earth is ongoing and continuous, but the emigration rate of about 10,000 people per year makes no impact on the population.

Politically, Earth is still divided into countries which administrate geographical regions. This is mostly for historical reasons and there is little active competition between countries any more. The United Nations continues to be a mostly toothless tiger of an alliance between countries, but its power and influence have been increasing lately, with growing numbers of people calling for a true world government. Some political analysts predict the UN will turn into something akin to a Federation within present lifetimes.

Economically, the planet shares a single system of currency. The local currency is Earth dollars, of 100 cents each, but it is not a direct descendent of any single national currency. English is the default lingua franca of Earth (and of most human colonies), but other languages still have many native speakers.

Earth has two beanstalks for transporting cargoes into and out of orbit. One touches down in the Ecuadorian Andes, the other in Kenya. The two beanstalk operation companies charge per passenger and take a small percentage of the value of cargoes transported via their beanstalk. A small colony exists on the moon and several on Mars. There are small research and mining outposts spread throughout most of the solar system.

GURPS is Copyright © by Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

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