100 years from now
Rising seas swallow Miami
Scientists say the scenario has a wide range of variability depending on actions taken now. Temperatures will rise anywhere from 2° to 5°C, seas will be from 1 meter to 3.5 meters higher. The changes will be either accelerating, (some speculate that sea levels could rise a foot a decade), or proceeding more slowly. The Middle East, Australia, and the central and western US will dry out even more. Europe may be colder, as the Gulf Stream weakens. Miami, Shanghai, Osaka, Alexandria, the Hague, and the entire country of Bangladesh will flood.
Projected affects of climate change with 2°C warming
Adapted from Liu, W., Sun, F., Lim, W. H., Zhang, J., Wang, H., Shiogama, H., and Zhang, Y. (2018). "Global drought and severe drought-affected populations in 1.5 and 2 °C warmer worlds."
Severe Heat - approaching the limit of human survival
Measures based on International Panel on Climate Change (PPCC) projections
Another future is still possible
If we change course now and embrace environmental efforts, we might avoid the worst, while discovering a new way to live on this Earth. For example, biologist E. O. Wilson and an alliance of conservation organizations propose that half of the land and half of the oceans be protected to allow bio-diverse eco-systems to regenerate and become productive again. Solar and wind energy sources are the fastest-growing segment of the energy market and cost less than oil and gas. Organic and regenerative agriculture is supplying a significant part of the food we eat. More intensive farming methods such as permaculture are developing and even being integrated into the city. Farming, as other industries, is now taking the step into robotics to do increasingly customized and detailed work. Recycling is expanding to include more materials, which are handled by smart sorting machines, while industry, particularly mining and logging, is increasingly held accountable for pollution. The oil industry may yet be forced to pay for damages wrought. Urban living is more desirable and architects are innovating new ways to live, work and enjoy life in cities.
These changes require a shift in thinking at many levels in all sectors of society.
Text: "The impacts of climate change at 1.5°C, 2°C and beyond." Climate Brief: Clear on Climate, 2019, from https://interactive.carbonbrief.org/impacts-climate-change-one-point-five-degrees-two-degrees/.
The Royal Society (2017). Climate Updates: What we have learned since IPCC 5th Assessment. Retrieved 20 September 2018 from https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2017/27-11-2017-Climate-change-updates-report.pdf
Image: Composite of Adobe Stock images and photos by author
Map: Liu, W., Sun, F., Lim, W. H., Zhang, J., Wang, H., Shiogama, H., and Zhang, Y. (2018). "Global drought and severe drought-affected populations in 1.5 and 2 °C warmer worlds." Earth Systems Dynamics 9: 267-283. https://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/9/267/2018/
Im, E.-S., J. S. Pal and E. A. B. Eltahir (2017). "Deadly heat waves projected in the densely populated regions of South Asia." Science Advances 3(8). https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/8/e1603322.full
CO2 and Temperature: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014). Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, p. 74. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full.pdf
Temperature and Sea Level: IPCC (2014) and Horton, B. P., S. Rahmstorf, S. E. Engelhart and A. C. Kemp (2014). "Expert assessment of sea-level rise by AD 2100 and AD 2300." Quaternary Science Reviews 84: 1-6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277379113004381
Population: United Nations DESA/ Population Division. (2017). "World Population Prospects 2017." Retrieved 20 September 2018, 2018, from https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/Probabilistic/POP/TOT/.