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Civilization Could Crumble by 2050 if We Don't Stop Climate Change Now, New Paper Says
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50957"><span class="small">Brandon Specktor, Live Science</span></a>   
Monday, 10 June 2019 14:08

Specktor writes: "According to a new paper, climate change poses a 'near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization,' and there's a good chance society could collapse as soon as 2050 if serious mitigation actions aren't taken in the next decade."

Vintage cars line a property after the Loma fire burned through Loma Chiquita Road near Morgan Hill, California, on Sept. 28, 2016. (photo: Noah Berger/AP)
Vintage cars line a property after the Loma fire burned through Loma Chiquita Road near Morgan Hill, California, on Sept. 28, 2016. (photo: Noah Berger/AP)

Civilization Could Crumble by 2050 if We Don't Stop Climate Change Now, New Paper Says

By Brandon Specktor, Live Science

10 June 19

Warming climate could bring "outright chaos" unless urgent steps are taken, according to the paper's authors.

t seems every week there's a scary new report about how man-made climate change is going to cause the collapse of the world's ice sheets, result in the extinction of up to 1 million animal species and — if that wasn't bad enough — make our beer very, very expensive. This week, a new policy paper from an Australian think tank claims that those other reports are slightly off; the risks of climate change are actually much, much worse than anyone can imagine.

According to the paper, climate change poses a "near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization," and there's a good chance society could collapse as soon as 2050 if serious mitigation actions aren't taken in the next decade.

Published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration in Melbourne (an independent think tank focused on climate policy) and authored by a climate researcher and a former fossil fuel executive, the paper's central thesis is that climate scientists are too restrained in their predictions of how climate change will affect the planet in the near future.

The current climate crisis, they say, is larger and more complex than any humans have ever dealt with before. General climate models — like the one that the United Nations' Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) used in 2018 to predict that a global temperature increase of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) could put hundreds of millions of people at risk — fail to account for the sheer complexity of Earth's many interlinked geological processes; as such, they fail to adequately predict the scale of the potential consequences. The truth, the authors wrote, is probably far worse than any models can fathom.

How the world ends

What might an accurate worst-case picture of the planet's climate-addled future actually look like, then? The authors provide one particularly grim scenario that begins with world governments "politely ignoring" the advice of scientists and the will of the public to decarbonize the economy (finding alternative energy sources), resulting in a global temperature increase 5.4 F (3 C) by the year 2050. At this point, the world's ice sheets vanish; brutal droughts kill many of the trees in the Amazon rainforest (removing one of the world's largest carbon offsets); and the planet plunges into a feedback loop of ever-hotter, ever-deadlier conditions.

"Thirty-five percent of the global land area, and 55 percent of the global population, are subject to more than 20 days a year of lethal heat conditions, beyond the threshold of human survivability," the authors hypothesized.

Meanwhile, droughts, floods and wildfires regularly ravage the land. Nearly one-third of the world's land surface turns to desert. Entire ecosystems collapse, beginning with the planet's coral reefs, the rainforest and the Arctic ice sheets. The world's tropics are hit hardest by these new climate extremes, destroying the region's agriculture and turning more than 1 billion people into refugees.

This mass movement of refugees — coupled with shrinking coastlines and severe drops in food and water availability — begin to stress the fabric of the world's largest nations, including the United States. Armed conflicts over resources, perhaps culminating in nuclear war, are likely.

The result, according to the new paper, is "outright chaos" and perhaps "the end of human global civilization as we know it."

How can this catastrophic vision of the future be prevented? Only with the people of the world accepting climate change for the emergency it is and getting to work — immediately. According to the paper's authors, the human race has about one decade left to mount a global movement to transition the world economy to a zero-carbon-emissions system. (Achieving zero-carbon emissions requires either not emitting carbon or balancing carbon emissions with carbon removal.) The effort required to do so "would be akin in scale to the World War II emergency mobilization," the authors wrote.

The new policy paper was endorsed with a foreword by Adm. Chris Barrie, a retired Australian defense chief and senior royal navy commander who has testified before the Australian Senate about the devastating possibilities climate change poses to national security and overall human well-being.

"I told the [Senate] Inquiry that, after nuclear war, human-induced global warming is the greatest threat to human life on the planet," Barrie wrote in the new paper. "Human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way."

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+2 # indian weaving 2019-06-10 14:52
Such was the jewel of the universe, Our Great Mother, raped to death by we humans. And no one anywhere will ever know or care. Tragic? How about ineffable - and not in the good sense, that's how I feel about it. For me, the only hope, and it's farfetched, is to understand and practice what is written by Michael Pollan in his incredible book "How To Change Your Mind". If you read it and understand what he's talking about, you already know it's what the world needs now ( love, sweet love - remember that one).
-11 # BKnowswhitt 2019-06-10 23:58
Pictures of Paradise fire .. inflammatizatio n of an event that was factually not Climate Change .. see the studies .. and once again .. like Al Gore the Climate Change 'Whore' $$$ .. said 20 years ago same thing .. nothing has happened Al you lying asshole!!!!!!!! !!!!!
+5 # janie1893 2019-06-11 01:10
Well, this article sounds about right. People who say it is a scare tactic are quite wrong because they do not factor in the number of people on the planet now and how many more there will be in 30 years. As well, we are doing nothing about learning to survive in a much different climate and to use skills far different than we use now.
Farewell cruel world!
+4 # economagic 2019-06-11 05:45
Despite the scary claims, this new paper as it is described by the article says essentially the same thing that every paper on the subject for the general public has said for the past thirty years: The planet is warming rapidly and at a constantly increasing rate; the burning of carbon fuels is the primary if not the only cause; it will lead to unimaginable chaos in all systems that sustain life on the planet including human civilization; and while we have very little time to act we know what is required and there is probably still time to avoid total collapse.

When I graduated from college fifty years ago I declined to pursue additional education for a career in the STEM fields that are my native language, because it was clear to me that the problems facing humankind cannot be solved by technology. But I have been saying for a decade that the scope and scale of the mobilization that will be required if we are to avoid collapse on a scale that is almost unimaginable, rendering extinct most life on earth, will also be almost unimaginable, and will dwarf that by all nations for the first real World War, Part II.

It cannot be done by individuals, although it will require every individual to be involved. It will require instead the transformation within the next three decades of the institutions dedicated to diminishing life--especiall y the military and authoritarian government--int o institutions that support life.

Any volunteers?
+4 # DongiC 2019-06-11 06:55
Not to worry. Our esteemed leader, Donald Trump, says global warming is all a Chinese hoax. He backs this up by appointing climate trolls like Pruitt and Wheeler to the EPA and by suppressing reports of his own State Dept on the severity of the crisis. Apparently, he would destroy our civilization before he would admit that he was wrong.

When is the legislature going to impeach and remove this dangerous lunatic from the presidential office? If they did sack Trump, I am sure Pence would be scared into doing the right thing re global warming -- decarbonize America as soon as possible. Or else the same fate would befall him.
+2 # ddd-rrr 2019-06-11 07:28
If what is in this article proves to be true (and who is able to say,
convincingly, and with proof, that it isn't?), this issue of climate change
is of utmost importance, NOW! We have no time to waste with stupid and
short-sighted squabbling about its reality, its consequences, and its solutions!
We need to begin SERIOUS efforts to at least ameliorate some effects
NOW, and then we MAY have enough time to discuss whether
or not some other climate change issues need further
emergency considerations and actions.
+3 # ddd-rrr 2019-06-11 07:36
Let us NOT make the mistake of "fiddling while Earth burns"!
+3 # Kootenay Coyote 2019-06-11 08:27
& what is the title of this paper? Essential information is missing here. But the warning is plain & reliable.
+1 # Citizen Mike 2019-06-11 10:31
We will just continue with business as usual until everything suddenly collapses. Massive population reduction and loss of all technology will send the thin remnant of humanity back to the stone age. Glad I will not quite live to see it happen, though I may see it start if I survive into the 2040s.
+2 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-06-11 12:58
Nature will be fine without us.
+2 # jimallyn 2019-06-11 23:39
Nature will be fine without us.

Well no, not really. Nature will suffer the same fate as humanity faces: a massive die-off, and quite possibly extinction.