A new policy paper has been published from the National Centre for Climate Restoration that has modelled a scenario in which Human Civilization could crumble under the unabated effects of climate change by 2050. The paper breaks down over the next decades how humanity could ultimately succumb.
The basic outline of the scenario is as follows:
The 20’s: Policy makers fail to act on the evidence that their commitments under the Paris Accords will lock in at least 3 degrees warming. The plant warms by at least 1.5 degrees by the end of the decade.
2030: Emissions peak and begin to fall, in line with a probably generous 80% reduction in fossil fuel energy intensity (when compared with 2010 levels).
2030 -2050: Emissions and triggering carbon-cycle feedback loops lead to warming of between 2.4 and 3 degrees by mid-century.
2050: There is broad consensus that major tipping points occurred prior to what was expected in the decades prior. The “Hothouse” or “Greenhouse” Earth scenario is realised; this is essentially a process of many climate events occurring in a chain that would lead to set of extreme conditions that haven’t occurred in the last 1.2 million years. Sea levels have risen by 0.6 meters but could raise by 3 at the end of the century and 25 over the length of the effects of climate change. 55% of the earth’s population is subjected to 20 annual days of lethal heat conditions.
North America is ravaged by wildfires, heatwaves, droughts and flooding rains. Monsoons in China begin to fail, as the Asian and West African monsoons falter. Water flows into Asia are severely reduced by the loss of over a third of the Himalayan ice sheet. Severe glacial loss occurs globally. Ecosystems collapse, including the Arctic, Amazon rainforest and coral reefs.
Direct heat exposure displaces about a billion people from the Tropical zone that reside in nations too poor to provide an artificially cooled environment. Water availability affects 2 billion people worldwide. Agriculture becomes unviable in the dry subtropics, crops yield less, pollinating insect populations decline, nutrient content becomes scarce and desertification brings about famine and skyrocketing food/water prices.
These kinds of wholly possible effects pose serious national security questions for every nation. There could be well over a billion people to re-house under this scenario. Europe continues to struggle with the migration crisis from Syria (which was itself partially precipitated by climate factors like drought/famine), which is only a fraction of the scale of this problem.
The issues with food and water scarcity in addition to resource competition would most probably lead to increased military confrontation. This includes an increased possibility for nuclear war; India and Pakistan are each nuclear-armed states that depend upon the Himalayan ice sheet for their water supply and their current relationship is incredibly tense (to say the least).
The global and national security situations will be tough to navigate, especially as the human population continues its upward growth.
By Nathan Booth