‘Climate Endgame’ Scenarios, Including Human Extinction, Need More Serious Study, Experts Argue

Two boys sit on ground parched from extreme climate change
Scientists are calling for deeper study of catastrophic climate possibilities. Visoot Uthairam / Moment / Getty Images
Why you can trust us

Founded in 2005 as an Ohio-based environmental newspaper, EcoWatch is a digital platform dedicated to publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions.

 A perspective published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues that the consequences of warming the planet beyond 3 degrees Celsius have been “dangerously underexplored” with few quantitative estimates of worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction.

“We know least about the scenarios that matter most,” lead author Dr. Luke Kemp told The Guardian. The researchers warn that unchecked global warming could trigger other catastrophes like war or pandemics, and worsen existing vulnerabilities like poverty, crop failure and lack of water.

The research suggests countries may fight over geoengineering plans or the right to emit carbon as up to two billion people deal with extreme temperatures in some of the most densely populated and politically fraught areas. The researchers call on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to dedicate a future report to catastrophic climate change to incentivize future research and inform policymakers and the public.

As reported by the BBC:

The plea for serious study of more extreme scenarios will chime with many younger climate activists, who say they are often not addressed for fear of frightening people into inaction.

“It is vital that we have research into all areas of climate change, including the scary reality of catastrophic events,” said Laura Young, a 25-year-old climate activist. “This is because without the full truth, and all of the potential impacts, we won’t make the informed choices we need, and we won’t be driving climate action with enough pressure.

“For years climate change has been hidden, misinformed, and avoided and this has to stop now. Especially for the younger generations who are going to be left to deal with the consequences of years of pushing the Earth to its limits.”

For a deeper dive:

AP, The Guardian, Inside Climate News, BBC, Phys.org

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

Subscribe to get exclusive updates in our daily newsletter!

    By signing up, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy & to receive electronic communications from EcoWatch Media Group, which may include marketing promotions, advertisements and sponsored content.

    Read More

    Europe’s Largest Battery Storage System Goes Live in UK
    As the UK braces for the first full winter since
    By Olivia Rosane
    Arctic Carbon Transportation Route Discovered by Scientists
    In the Arctic, a previously unknown carbon transportation route has
    By Cristen Hemingway Jaynes
    PV Windows Cut Emissions for Highly Glazed Buildings up to 40%, Study Finds
    Research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has found
    By Paige Bennett

    Subscribe to get exclusive updates in our daily newsletter!

      By signing up, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy & to receive electronic communications from EcoWatch Media Group, which may include marketing promotions, advertisements and sponsored content.

      Latest Articles