4℃ of global warming - realistic?

Oh, boy… Heatwaves would be off the charts, perhaps 9°C warmer than heatwaves today [1]. Wildfires would destroy large portions of forests, and droughts would cause more crops to fail [1]. Poor people would suffer the most from worsening droughts [1]. Without being able to produce food, people would be forced to move to cooler areas [1]. Migration of people in large numbers increases the chance of conflict, so rapid climate change could spark wars [10].

Sea levels would be at least 0.5 to 1m higher [1], but it could be several times this [12] because we don’t know how much ice will melt [2,14]! Hundreds of cities will be affected [15], and some would have to relocate [16]. Flooding could ruin agricultural land, and threaten food security [1].

What about nature? At the moment, the main driver of animal and plant species loss is destruction of habitat by humans, followed by hunting and fishing [11]. But with 4°C of warming, climate change would become the main threat, and would cause loss of nature on a huge scale [1]. Many animals and plants would go extinct [4]. Coral reefs would be long-gone [13]. Much of the Amazon rainforest would dry out and turn into savanna [5].

Will this happen? If we don’t act more seriously against global warming, yes, it is expected to happen around the year 2100 [6]. These temperatures have not been seen in over 5 million years [7]. At this time, there were no humans [8], and the climate was completely different to today [9].

To prevent this from becoming a reality, we need to make changes: reduce your carbon footprint, share your knowledge with others, and use your career to tackle climate change!

References

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