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Humans May Be Headed for Extinction 'in Most Horrible Way'

Wars, lethal heat, water shortages could be 30 years off: authors
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2019 6:21 AM CDT
A fish skeleton lies on the dried bed of Lake Colorado City near Colorado City, Texas., on Aug. 11, 2011, during the second-most severe drought in state history.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(Newser) – Numerous in-depth reports on climate change have failed to show in just how dire a predicament humans find themselves—essentially inches from total destruction—according to a new paper from climate researchers, one a former fossil fuel executive. They write that there is a "high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end" with the planet warming 2 degrees Celsius, per ABC News. But unless people and governments accept climate change and get to work to solve it immediately, there will be 3 degrees of warming by the year 2050, reads the analysis by Australia's Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration. In this scenario, all of the world's ice sheets disappear, the Amazon rainforest—one of the world's biggest carbon offsets—is largely destroyed, and almost one-third of all land surface becomes desert, reports Live Science.

On top of that, 35% of land area and 55% of the global population will see more than 20 days a year of heat conditions "beyond the threshold of human survivability." With shrinking coastlines and food and water shortages, there are also likely to be wars for resources, perhaps nuclear wars, and more than 1 billion people will become refugees, reads the paper, concluding "climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization." "Human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way," former Australian defense chief Adm. Chris Barrie writes in a forward to the report. We still have time to act, but the effort won't be easy. According to the authors, we have 10 years to move toward a zero-carbon-emissions system, which "would be akin in scale to the World War II emergency mobilization." (Read more climate change stories.)

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