STUDY: Human Civilisation Could End in 30 Years

  • 05 Jun 2019

Does human civilisation only have 3 decades of existence left? A report from an Australian think tank seems to suggest so - and have outlined a terrifying scenario in which human-induced climate change destroys the planet.
The Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Australia warns that climate change represents a "near to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation" and says the world needs a new approach to climate-related security risk-management.
The report outlined a scenario in which the accelerating impact of climate change posed consequences to humanity "which might not be undone for centuries".
Here's the 3-decade scenario the study's authors outlined:
Earth warms by 1.6°C after carbon dioxide levels reach their highest levels in 20 million years. All this comes after governments fail to act on evidence that the Paris Agreement isn't enough to keep the planet's temperature from rising.
Despite emissions falling after peaking in 2030, Carbon cycle feedbacks and the continuing use of fossil fuels cause global temperatures to further rise by 3°C by 2050. This estimation is NOT the extreme scenario; there is also a low-probability of "high-impact" warming, with temperatures exceeding 3.5-4°C by 2050.
By now, the "hothouse Earth" scenario has come true. The impact of this climate change is horrifying. Ecosystems like coral reefs, the Amazon and the Arctic, collapse.
Sea levels have risen 0.5 metres by now and may go up by another 2–3 metres by 2100. Eventually, the seas may rise by more than 25 metres. Meanwhile, rising temperatures cause some poorer countries to become unviable. Deadly heat that persists for more than 100 days per year displace over a billion people from West Africa, tropical South America, the Middle East and South-East Asia.
In Asia and West Africa, monsoons become more intense while the slowing of the Gulf Stream in Europe impacts on life support systems there. North America, meanwhile, suffers from extreme weather such as wildfires, heatwaves, drought and inundation.
Summer monsoons in China fail and Asia's great rivers start going dry due to the loss of more than one-third of the Himalayan ice sheet. More than 30 percent of earth's land turns arid and desertification is severe in southern Africa, the southern Mediterranean, west Asia, the Middle East, inland Australia and across the south-western United States.
The availability of water plummets, affecting over 2 billion people worldwide and much of the world sees a huge drop in food production.
Significant parts of some of the world’s most populous cities — such as Chennai, Mumbai, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Lagos, Bangkok and Manila — are abandoned while some small islands become uninhabitable.
What happens after?
The study predicts that nations around the world will be overwhelmed by the scale of change as well as other challenges, such as pandemic disease. This will put nations under stress, from a dramatic rise in migration and changes in agricultural patterns and water availability. Armed conflict between nations over resources is likely and even nuclear war is possible. Social consequences from these changes range from increased religious fervour to outright chaos.
How to avoid this grim fate
The study warns that the response to this needs to be similar to what would happen during wartime. It says there needs to be a global mobilisation of resources on an emergency basis. It also said there needs to be a zero emissions industrial system "very quickly" in order to reduce risks and sustain human civilisation.

Source: IFLScience, Breakthrough - National Centre for Climate Restoration
Photo Credit: Wired, Physics World, The Economist & Undark

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