Climate change could lead to the downfall of humanity as civilisations will struggle to cope with the planet’s changing demands, experts have claimed. Several “global tipping” points are close to being exceeded which could lead to the demise of humanity.
The most notable disastrous landmarks the planet is set to reach include the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, the melting of the ice caps and the heating planet in general.
These coupled with the booming population could lead to disaster.
The melting ice sheets will lead to rising sea levels, which equates to less land for humanity to live on, forcing the increasing population inland.
The warming planet will make less of the world habitable, again forcing climate refugees to move elsewhere, and the demise of the Amazon, and other rainforests, leads to an exacerbation of the warning planet.
Australian National University emeritus professor Will Steffen believes it will take at least 30 years for humanity to turn it around now, by which point it might be too late.
Prof Steffan told Voice of Action: “Given the momentum in both the Earth and human systems, and the growing difference between the ‘reaction time’ needed to steer humanity towards a more sustainable future, and the ‘intervention time’ left to avert a range of catastrophes in both the physical climate system (e.g., melting of Arctic sea ice) and the biosphere (e.g., loss of the Great Barrier Reef), we are already deep into the trajectory towards collapse.
“That is, the intervention time we have left has, in many cases, shrunk to levels that are shorter than the time it would take to transition to a more sustainable system.
“The fact that many of the features of the Earth System that are being damaged or lost constitute ‘tipping points’ that could well link to form a ‘tipping cascade’ raises the ultimate question: Have we already lost control of the system? Is collapse now inevitable?”
Prof Steffan used an analogy to express humanity’s fate.
He said: “If the Titanic realises that it’s in trouble and it has about 5km that it needs to slow and steer the ship, but it’s only 3km away from the iceberg, it’s already doomed.”
The planet is continuing to warm, with scientists stating the global temperature has risen by roughly 0.15-0.20C per decade.
This has led to the visible loss of ice in the polar caps but frozen water is also melting beneath the surface, scientists have warned.
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Permafrost is a permanently frozen layer beneath the surface, which affects 18 million square kilometres in the upper reaches of the northern hemisphere.
The layer of ice contains rocks, soil, sand and stores the remains of plants and microbes which have been stored in the permafrost for millions of years.
However, with this means the carbon dioxide (CO2) from dead plants and microbes has also become trapped in Earth’s natural freezer – and with permafrost beginning to melt at an alarming rate, this CO2 will eventually be released into the atmosphere.
Current estimates suggest there is up to 1.5 trillion metric tons of carbon stored in permafrost.
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