We joke about the end of the world and the like all the time because it is still presumably still quite a while away and there’s still time to fix this genuine existential threat. But with the release of a new scientific analysis on the end of human civilisation, we have an official window when society will plunge into Mad Max levels of chaos and it’s a lot closer than we all initially thought.
According to a new paper published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, which is a think-tank based in Melbourne, the end of the world as we know it will arrive at around 2050 thanks to climate change.
The paper outlines a pretty frightening yet plausible scenario of what will happen over the next 30 or so years if we all continue with our current lackadaisical attitude towards climate change.
In a nutshell, policy makers don’t agree on the current Paris Agreement, which will lead to escalating CO2 levels and warming of up to 3°C by 2050, resulting in a sea level increase of 0.5 metres. This will lead to the collapse of several ecosystems, devastating weather extremes, a billion people having to relocate due to unlivable conditions, another billion people being left without sufficient water supplies, and a massive drop in food production in most regions in the world.
Once food and water become scarce, society will lose their minds in hunger and the world becomes something out of a post-apocalyptic movie directed by George Miller but with less cars. Okay, this last part wasn’t in the report but I’ve watched enough movies to know what happens at that point.
To prevent this end-of-the-world scenario from happening, the paper states that the only way to do it is to build a “zero-emissions industrial system [to] set in train the restoration of a safe climate” that is akin in scale to the “WWII emergency mobilisation.” In other words, we need to fix this climate change problem right and we gotta go frigging huge.
Now this may all seem like an exaggeration of the highest order but we should all sit up and take notice because the paper’s author is a former fossil fuel executive. You know something is serious if someone who originally spent their career killing the earth is now telling everyone to save it.
To really nail this whole “fix the earth” point home, the paper also contains a foreword from retired Admiral Chris Barrie, Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002 and former Deputy Chief of the Australian Navy, who heaps praise on the research for “bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way.”
So for those who have a contingency plan in place for when society collapses, well you’re already one step ahead of everyone and the thought of investing in a nuclear bunker suddenly doesn’t seem like such a ridiculous idea.