A new policy paper by an Australian think tank asserts climate change is an “existential threat to human civilization” that demands an immediate “wartime level” response.
The paper, titled Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario Approach, was published last week by Australia’s National Centre for Climate Restoration and alleges that climate science projections tend to be overly “conservative and reticent” and therefore underestimate the severity of the climate crisis.
Erring on the side of “least drama,” climate scientists may “underpredict or down-play future climate changes,” the paper states. The most recent assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), for example, projected that warming would reach the 1.5°C mark around 2040, which is an overly conservative estimate.
The 1.5°C boundary “is likely to be passed in half that time, around 2030, and the 2°C boundary around 2045,” the paper asserts, “due to accelerating anthropogenic emissions, decreased aerosol loading and changing ocean circulation conditions.”
Endorsed by the former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, the report envisions an apocalyptic unfolding of extreme weather events due to anthropogenic climate change.
By 2050, the paper states, “35 percent of the global land area, and 55 percent of the global population, are subject to more than 20 days a year of lethal heat conditions, beyond the threshold of human survivability.”
Widespread desertification and collapsing ecosystems will result in “more than a billion people being displaced from the tropical zone,” the paper grimly declares, with dire consequences for human society.
Food production is inadequate to feed the global population and food prices skyrocket, as a consequence of a one-fifth decline in crop yields, a decline in the nutrition content of food crops, a catastrophic decline in insect populations, desertification, monsoon failure and chronic water shortages, and conditions too hot for human habitation in significant food-growing regions.
In the paper’s high-end scenario for 2050, “the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model, with a high likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end.”
Australia, whose fertile imagination gave the world Mad Max and the Road Warrior, is experienced in creating over-the-top dystopian thrillers and the Aussies have done it again with this exhilarating paper.
The only problem, of course, is when they start confusing fantasy with non-fiction.