Remember how 2020 began? Even before the pandemic of the new coronavirus, there were more than enough problems in the world and, unfortunately, they did not disappear. Thus, climate change remains the main threat facing our civilization. But the problem is that global warming is not happening quickly. Therefore, slowly, almost imperceptibly, it is able to turn life on Earth into a real hell. In the book "The Future We Choose", the authors describe two possible futures of humanity: one in which all our actions will be aimed at halving our emissions in this decade, and the second, which describes what will happen if we do not succeed … In this article, we will look at the second, worst-case scenario described in the book.
The future of cities
Perhaps the CoVID-19 pandemic made many people realize how fragile the familiar world is - at some point, the lives of millions of people have changed beyond recognition. Of course, the pandemic will end sooner or later, but its consequences will be with us for a long time. But if no action is taken to combat climate change, this pandemic will certainly not be the last.
As authors Christiana Figueres - co-founder of Global Optimism - and Tom Rivett-Carnac write in their book The Future We Choose, no country has made any efforts since 2015 to control emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere, which led to an increase in average temperatures on the planet. Therefore, by 2050, in many places on Earth, the air is hot, heavy and polluted. Residents of cities are constantly coughing, and their eyes are watering. When storms and heatwaves overlap and thicken, air pollution and elevated levels of surface ozone can make it dangerous to go outdoors without a respirator.
The world is getting hotter, but people no longer control anything. Arctic glaciers, which previously reflected solar heat, have melted, and most of the planet's forests have either been cut down or destroyed by fires. At the same time, permafrost is spewing greenhouse gases into an already congested atmosphere. In five to ten years, more and more places on Earth will become uninhabitable. The situation is such that no one knows whether it will be possible in the future to live in Australia, North Africa, Russia, the United States and other countries. The future for children and grandchildren is uncertain.
Polluted air kills millions of lives every year
Increased air humidity, rising temperatures and sea levels have led to extreme hurricanes and tropical storms. Coastal cities in Bangladesh, Mexico, the United States and other countries have suffered infrastructure damage and flooding, leaving thousands dead and millions homeless. Every year, such events occur more and more often. Read more about which cities in the world will go under water by 2050 in our material. Given the frequency of natural disasters, major food supplies reached areas affected by floods, hurricanes and storms after weeks or even months.
The situation is seriously aggravated by outbreaks of diseases such as malaria, Dengue fever, cholera and respiratory infections. As the melting permafrost releases ancient microbes and viruses, diseases are raging across the planet for which we have not developed immunity. Diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks are appearing in new regions with increasing frequency as these species thrive in the changed climate.To make matters worse, the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance has only intensified as populations have become even denser in habitable areas and the planet's temperature continues to rise. Read about how global warming is releasing ancient viruses in the material of my colleague Ramis Ganiev.
The impact of hurricanes and floods will be even more severe
Photos of climate refugees are on the news every day. The news is about people living in houses that are ankle-deep because they have nowhere else to go. Their children cough and wheeze due to mold that thrives in humid environments. Insurance companies take turns filing for bankruptcy, leaving survivors without funds to recover from the disaster. Those who stay on the coast will witness the death of fishing - as the oceans absorb carbon dioxide, the water becomes more acidic and so hostile to marine life that fishing is prohibited in almost all countries of the world.
But as devastating as the oceans, droughts and heatwaves are, there is another worrying problem - desertification. Cities such as Marrakech and Volgograd are on the verge of becoming deserts. Hong Kong, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi and many others have been desalinating seawater for years, desperate to cope with a constant wave of immigration from areas that have completely dried up.
More and more coastal regions are becoming uninhabitable
At least two billion people live in the hottest regions of the planet, with temperatures hovering around 60 ° C for at least 45 days a year. Let me remind you that a person cannot stay in such a temperature longer than six hours, since the body loses its ability to cool. Mass migration to less hot countries and regions is accompanied by civil unrest and bloodshed due to the lack of water and food, the production of which is becoming less regular.
Do you think we should be afraid of such a future? Share your opinion in the comments to this article, as well as with the members of our Telegram chat. Recently, the death of our civilization has been discussed more and more often, and some scientists have been trying for many years to mathematically calculate the probability of such an outcome. But at the same time, it is important to understand that we have a choice and it is in our power to leave everything described above as the imagination of the authors, albeit based on the data of the latest scientific research. It is possible that the coronavirus pandemic will make us think about where we are going. Be healthy.