Climate change may result in human extinction, experts caution
Researchers at the University of Cambridge urge governments to prepare for the possibility of human extinction because of climate change.
The researchers proposed a research agenda for climate change scenarios ranging from bad to worse, which include the loss of 10% of the world’s population to potential extinction.
There are many reasons to think that climate change could become disastrous, even at modest levels of warming,” said lead author Dr. Luke Kemp of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge in a press release.
Climate change has been a factor in all cases of massive extinction. It helped the fallen empires to shape history. Even the modern world seems poised for a particular climate niche.”
He and his colleagues maintain that global warming above 3°C has serious implications that are not taken seriously.
Researchers found that areas of extreme heat, like areas with an average annual temperature of more than 29°C, could cover two billion people by 2070. These areas are usually the most populous and politically fragile.
“Average yearly temperatures of 29 degrees currently affect about 30 million people in the Sahara and the Gulf coast,” said co-author Chi Xu of Nanjing University.
By 2070, these temperatures and the social and political implications will directly impact two nuclear powers and seven maximum containment laboratories housing the most dangerous pathogens. There is a serious risk of devastating knock-on effects,” he said.
Another consequence of climate change is that there may be a threat to the world’s food supply while agricultural regions around the world are suffering from a “breakup”.
Severe weather conditions may also lead to new epidemics.
‘The more we learn about how our planet functions, the more reason to be concerned,’ said Professor Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Climate Impact Research Institute.
“There is a growing understanding that our planet is a more complex and fragile organism. We have to do the math to avert the disaster.”