Climate scientists warn the world is not doing enough to prepare for the worst

Climate scientists warn the world is not doing enough to prepare for the worst

Iceberg in Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland

In a study published Tuesday in an article in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), scientists warned of the potential for a series of catastrophes caused by global warming. dangerously unexplored ” by the international community, and called on people to think of the worst in order to better prepare for it.

Researchers say more work needs to be done to understand the potential catastrophic risks that could arise climate change, for example if temperatures rise faster than expected or lead to unintended consequences. The most important scenarios are the ones we know the least about.

As research is conducted on the tipping points of Earth's climate—such as the irreversible melting of the ice caps or the loss of the Amazon rainforest—it becomes increasingly important to take into account accounts for high-risk scenarios in climate modelling.

Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts and one of the study's authors, said their findings suggest that global warming is already affecting the distribution of animal populations. The team proposes a research agenda to help governments combat the four horsemen of climate apocalypse: starvation and malnutrition, extreme weather events, conflict, and vector-borne diseases.

2.7 °C by the end of the century

Current government actions put the Earth on a warming trajectory of 2.7°C by the end of the century, far from the 1.5°C target set by the Paris Agreement in 2015.< /p>

Furthermore, a certain scientific trend has favored the least bad scenario, which has led to insufficient attention being paid to the potential consequences of a warming of 3°C or more. 

These researchers calculated that 2 billion people could be affected by extreme heat zones by 2070 if the average annual temperature remains above 29°C. These high temperatures could lead to breadbasket ruptures from droughts in Western Europe and heat waves in India.

Scientists suggest there is ample evidence that climate change could become a major problem. “Understanding extreme risk is important for informed decision-making, from preparedness to reviewing emergency response,” says Luke Kemp, Center for the Study of Existential Risk, Cambridge.

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