A combination of growing populations and food, energy and water shortages will reach crisis point by 2030, the government's chief scientific advisor will say later today.
"It's a perfect storm," Prof John Beddington will tell the Sustainable Development UK 09 conference.
"There's not going to be a complete collapse, but things will start getting really worrying if we don't tackle these problems."
The comments come as development campaigners join forces with environmentalists at a protest in Coventry today.
Prof Beddington predicts demand for food and energy will shoot up 50 per cent by 2030, while demand for freshwater will go up by 30 per cent.
The world population will have hit 8.3 billion by this time, with climate change then acting to destabilise the situation.
"My main concern is what will happen internationally, there will be food and water shortages," he will say.
"We're relatively fortunate in the UK; there may not be shortages here, but we can expect prices of food and energy to rise."
Prof Beddington will warn that the recession should not drive the issue off the agenda, just because prices were currently dropping.
"We can't afford to be complacent. Just because the high prices have dropped doesn't mean we can relax," he will say.
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