A fairly plausible cause of novelist apocalypses are wars: generally big ones. With the wind down of the cold war, the nuclear apocalypse, outside of the much cleaner EMP limited war version, has faded a bit.
Are we correct in predicting the unlikelihood of future conflict.
Well maybe not:
Erik Voeten, Washington Post, 12 March 2014 (hat tip: MR)
Other than Sarah Palin and certain Russian astrologers, few people foresaw that Russia would intervene militarily in the Ukraine. The Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project at the College of William & Mary held a snap poll among international relations scholars, which asked: “Will Russian military forces intervene in response to the political crisis in Ukraine?” The results, reported in Foreign Policy, were disheartening: only 14 percent of the 905 interviewed scholars answered affirmatively on the eve of the intervention. (The poll was conducted from 9 p.m., Feb. 24 to 11:59 p.m., Feb. 27. Russian forces controlled the Sevastopol airport on Feb. 28).
So, in other words, only 14 % of the experts could predict military action by Russia 4 days before it occurred.
I seem to be more worried than most apocalyptic-handicappers about future armed conflicts (excepting dubious surgical strike EMP attacks) as a very dangerous possibility. The retreaters of the 1970s (what they used to call survivalists) had their bomb shelters. We have sustainability.