‘Climate endgame’: The potential for an environmental crisis to end humanity is ‘dangerously unexplored’

Despite decades of warnings from the world’s best scientists that the rise greenhouse gas emissions Pushing the planet closer to catastrophe, experts have warned that the scale of the dangers awaiting them remains “dangerously unexplored”.

An international team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge said “catastrophic” scenarios could result from universal heating Worse than many expected, or by the cascading effects of events – or both at once.

As a result, they said, the world should begin to prepare for the possibility of “climate Endgame for our race.

In order to fully assess the risk profile, the team proposed a research agenda to counter bad-worst-case scenarios.

These include outcomes ranging from the loss of 10 percent of the world’s population to complete human extinction.

The researchers are calling on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to dedicate a future report to “catastrophic climate change,” which they hope will stimulate research and inform the public.

“There is plenty of reason to believe that climate change could become catastrophic, even at modest levels of warming,” said lead author Dr Luke Kemp from the Cambridge Center for the Study of Existential Risk.

Climate change has played a role in every mass extinction event. He helped bring down empires and shape history. Even the modern world seems to adapt to a particular climatic environment.

“Disaster pathways are not limited to the direct effects of rising temperatures, such as extreme weather events. Indirect effects such as financial crises, conflicts, and new disease outbreaks can lead to other disasters and impede recovery from potential disasters such as nuclear war.”

Dr Kemp and colleagues said the consequences of 3°C and beyond, and the severe risks associated with it, have not been well studied.

Modeling by the team shows areas of extreme heat – with an average annual temperature of more than 29 degrees Celsius – that could affect 2 billion people by 2070.

These areas are not only some of the most densely populated but also some of the most politically fragile.

“Average annual temperatures of 29 degrees currently affect about 30 million people in the desert and the Gulf Coast,” said co-author Chi Shu of Nanjing University.

Abandoned houses in Hong Kong. Scientists say we need to study bad-to-worst climate scenarios more closely


By 2070, these temperatures and social and political consequences will directly affect two nuclear powers, and seven maximum containment laboratories that house the most dangerous pathogens. He said there is a serious potential for severe spillover effects.

An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report last year suggested that if atmospheric carbon dioxide doubled above pre-industrial levels — something the planet is headed about halfway — there is a roughly 18 per cent chance that temperatures will rise to more than 4.5 degrees. percentage.

The research team said the current methodology of the scientific community has an increasing tendency to study future scenarios that are less risky and require a response on a smaller scale.

Dr. Kemp co-authored a ‘text mining’ study of current IPCC reports, Posted earlier this yearwhich finds that the IPCC assessments have shifted away from high warming to increasingly focus on lower temperature increases.

This depends on previous job He showed that extreme temperature scenarios “have not been adequately explored in relation to their likelihood”.

“We only know the most important scenarios,” Dr. Kemp said.

The team has now proposed a research agenda including what they call the “Four Horsemen” in the climate endgame. These are: famine and malnutrition, severe weather, conflict, and vector-borne diseases.

The global food supply faces significant risks from hotter climates, according to the team, with the potential for “breadbasket failure” increasing as the world’s most agriculturally productive regions suffer “mass collapses.”

Hotter and more extreme weather can also create conditions for the spread of new diseases as habitats for both people and wildlife change and shrink.

Experts have also warned that environmental collapse is likely to exacerbate other “interacting threats”. They highlighted growing levels of inequality, misinformation, the potential for democratic collapse, and even new forms of disruptive artificial intelligence (AI) weapons.

One of the dystopian scenarios envisioned in the paper is described as “warm wars” – where technologically enhanced superpowers fight for dwindling carbon space while also conducting giant experiments to deflect sunlight and reduce global temperatures.

The team said there should be more focus on identifying all of the potential tipping points that could push us towards a “greenhouse Earth”.

These include methane released from permafrost thawing to loss of forests that act as “carbon sinks,” and even the potential for cloud cover to fade.

“The more we know about how our planet works, the greater the cause for concern,” said Associate Professor Johann Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“We are increasingly understanding that our planet is a more sophisticated and fragile organism. We must calculate the catastrophe in order to avoid it.

Dr Kemp added: ‘We know that warming has a ‘fat tail’, which means a wide range of low possibilities but potential extreme outcomes. Confronting the future of accelerating climate change while remaining deliberate about worst-case scenarios is naive risk management at best and fatal folly. At worst.”

Publish the research in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.