The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
'Social Breakdown and Outright Chaos': Civilization Headed for Collapse by 2050, New Climate Report Warns
A new report warns that climate change could displace more than a billion people, leave two billion without regular water access and lead to a breakdown in international order by 2050 if nations do not increase their commitments under the Paris agreement.
"Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization," the report authors conclude.
The new assessment comes from the Melbourne, Australia-based think tank Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration and was written by Breakthrough's research director David Spratt and former Royal Dutch Shell senior executive Ian Dunlop. The authors use the dire scenario outlined in the report to call for a massive international mobilization towards a zero-emissions economy on the scale of efforts seen during World War II.
"A high-end 2050 scenario finds a world in social breakdown and outright chaos," Spratt told Vice. "But a short window of opportunity exists for an emergency, global mobilization of resources, in which the logistical and planning experiences of the national security sector could play a valuable role."
The report authors have a major endorsement from that sector in the figure of retired Admiral and former Chief of the Australian Defence Force Chris Barrie, who wrote the paper's foreword.
"David Spratt and Ian Dunlop have laid bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way," Barrie wrote.
Spratt and Dunlop based their scenario on findings that current Paris commitments would lock in three degrees Celsius of warming by 2100. However, since those findings do not account for feedback loops set in motion by future warming, Spratt and Dunlop predict three degrees of warming by mid-century.
"It should be noted that this is far from an extreme scenario: the low-probability, high-impact warming (five percent probability) can exceed 3.5–4°C by 2050 in the Xu and Ramanathan scheme," they write.
The impacts of three degrees of warming by 2050 would include:
- The collapse of ecosystems like coral reefs, the Amazon and the Arctic
- Unlivable temperatures for more than 100 days a year in West Africa, tropical South America, the Middle East and South-East Asia
- A one-fifth decline in agricultural yields
- The flooding of coastal cities, small islands and low-lying regions including Chennai, Mumbai, Jakarta, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai, Lagos, Bangkok, Manila and ten percent of Bangladesh
- Likely armed conflict over resources, with the possibility of nuclear war
Spratt and Dunlop offer what they call a "scenario planning" approach to climate risk assessment, because they argue that current risk-assessment strategies aren't adequate in the face of the existential threat posed to human civilization by the worst-case climate change predictions.
"What is needed now is an approach to risk management which is fundamentally different from conventional practice. It would focus on the high-end, unprecedented possibilities, instead of assessing middle-of-the-road probabilities on the basis of historic experience," they write.
The point is ultimately to avoid the scenario outlined in the report.
"A doomsday future is not inevitable!" Barrie wrote in the foreword. "But without immediate drastic action our prospects are poor. We must act collectively. We need strong, determined leadership in government, in business and in our communities to ensure a sustainable future for humankind."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Beat the COVID-19 Blues With These Wildlife and Nature Livecams ... ›
- Bald Eagles Are Still Dying From Lead Poisoning - EcoWatch ›
- Ospreys' Recovery From Pollution and Shooting Is a Global ... ›
The office may never look the same again. And the investment it will take to protect employees may force many companies to go completely remote. That's after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for how workers can return to the office safely.
- Trump Admin Rejects CDC Reopening Guidelines - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Labor Department Encourages States to Report Workers ... ›
- White House Ordered Coronavirus Meetings Be Classified - EcoWatch ›
Scientists and art historians are studying art for signs of climate change and to better understand the ways Western culture's relationship to nature has been altered by it, according to the BBC.
- Climate Change, Inspired By Banksy - EcoWatch ›
- Artists and Activists Rise to Fight Climate Change - EcoWatch ›
By Richard Connor
The University of Southern Denmark on Wednesday announced that its researchers have developed the world's first fully automatic robot capable of carrying out throat swabs for COVID-19.
Before you pour a glass of wine, feel the weight of the bottle in your hand. Would you notice if it were a few ounces lighter? Jackson Family Wines is betting that you won't.
After a minor setback, a new era in space travel and tourism is set to launch this weekend.
When the SpaceX shuttle launches its private spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, with NASA astronauts in tow, it will mark the beginning of commercialized space exploration. SpaceX
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will man the SpaceX Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. NASA
- SpaceX Launches and Lands World's First Recycled Rocket ... ›
- Dear Elon Musk: Your Dazzling Mars Plan Overlooks Some Big ... ›
- Everything you need to know about SpaceX's historic astronaut launch ›
- Crew Dragon Launch Day Timeline: From Suit up to Docking with ... ›
- Updates to Coverage of NASA SpaceX Commercial Crew Test Flight ... ›
- SpaceX's first ever commercial space flight a pit stop on Elon Musk's ... ›
- SpaceX will launch private citizens into orbit - The Verge ›
Former Federal Reserve Governor Rebukes Fed for Using Covid-19 Funds to Bail Out Fossil Fuel Industry
By Eoin Higgins
A former Federal Reserve board of governors member on Thursday called on her former colleagues to stop using Covid-19 relief funds to bail out the "dying" fossil fuel industry, calling the decision a threat to the planet's climate and a misguided use of taxpayer money.
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1266004825050939393" id="twitter-embed-1266004825050939393" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1266004825050939393&created_ts=1590674046.0&screen_name=collinrees&text=The+last+thing+the+Fed+should+be+doing+is+bailing+one+of+world%27s+riskiest+industries+%E2%80%94+fossil+fuels.%0A%0AWe+know+Big+O%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2Fu4d5SoHy83&id=1266004825050939393&name=Collin+Rees" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="a0e370c95211a3c2f9a65eda5a075be6"></iframe>
<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1266068654724132864" id="twitter-embed-1266068654724132864" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1266068654724132864&created_ts=1590689264.0&screen_name=Western_Values&text=Oil%2C+gas%2C+and+coal+companies+are+set+to+receive+billions+in+federal+aid+from+both+the+%23PPP+and+%23CARESAct.+Many+of+t%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FmX370hwkg1&id=1266068654724132864&name=Western+Values+Project" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="c000bc798f2c320613914689edb3c330"></iframe>
- The $88 Billion Fossil Fuel Bailout for Oil, Gas and Coal Exploration ... ›
- Fossil Fuel Firms With Ties to Trump Administration Get Small ... ›
- Big Oil Taking $1.9 Billion in CARES Act Tax Breaks - EcoWatch ›