Like other species, humanity has its own habitat. By 2070 it will have seriously shrunk, billions may be deprived of a livable climate.
Globe on fire
Already in 50 years, up to 3.5 billion people may find themselves in areas of uninhabitable weather conditions, if mankind does not stop climate change on the planet by reducing emissions of CO2. This is the main conclusion of the study “Future
of the human climate niche”, published in one of the most authoritative scientific journals in the world, the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
For their study, the group of authors — anthropologists, ecologists and climate change researchers — used databases on the historical settlement of people on the planet and compared that data with climatic conditions in those regions. The scientists, they said, were surprised to find that the largest number of settlements were located in “a fairly narrow range”: areas with average annual temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees.
This climatic-geographic distribution the scientists called “human ecological habitat.” Human habitat will shrink, scientists predict However, rapid global warming threatens to severely damage the human habitat, which has remained virtually unchanged for the past 6,000 years, the scientists found.
They based their predictions on the latest report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which assumes that global greenhouse gas concentrations will generally increase. The second basis for calculations was one of the basic scenarios of the future development of the planet and the dynamics of population growth (SSP3), compiled by an international group of scientists, which is also used by the IPCC. Calculations have shown that the total area of the planet where the average annual temperature will exceed 29 degrees Celsius will increase from 0.8 percent to 19 percent of the earth’s land area by 2070. 29 degrees Celsius is the temperature “regime” of the Sahara Desert.
The problem is that the temperature will rise not only in the virtually uninhabited desert zone, but also in the densely populated areas with the highest birth rates on the planet. Large areas in South America, India, Africa, North Australia and Southeast Asia could become virtually uninhabited.
A total of scientists from 9 research centers, including the United States, Denmark, China, Japan and Britain participated in the study. Experts based on the data came to the conclusion that each additional degree of average annual temperature on Earth can leave about a billion people without the usual (or rather, suitable for life) conditions of existence. When it comes to individual countries, global warming in India alone will deprive one billion people of their environment, and in Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and Sudan at least 100 million in each of these countries. Global warming as the cause of migration and conflict But life will change everywhere: in most regions with an average annual temperature of about 13 degrees, it may rise to 20, which is comparable with the climate in the hottest regions of North Africa, the European Mediterranean and Southern China.
Will these climate processes exacerbate global migration? Scientists refrain from making a definite statement, citing the fact that the reasons for migration differ, although they consider this to be the most likely scenario. Most of the regions threatened by future extreme temperatures are among the poorest in the world, and their ability to adapt to worsening weather conditions is limited, the study authors write. One way or another, the consequences will be tragic, they warn.
In the past, when the climate changed and humanity was deprived of optimal conditions of existence, it led to conflicts and mass migration.
Mankind should have a plan for such scenarios in the future. After all, already today migration increases international tensions, although a "relatively moderate number — about 250 million people — live outside their country of birth.
The number of natural disasters has doubled since 2000. UN experts have concluded that the main reason for this is climate change.
From waves of extreme heat alone, 165,000 people have died. A total of 4.2 billion people have been affected by natural disasters, one billion more than in the previous twenty years. The economic damage from disasters has reached $3 trillion. The real damage is obviously much higher, since many countries, especially in Asia and Africa, do not publish data on the economic impact of natural disasters.
Climate scientists estimate that in order to keep the temperature rise within 2 °C, countries will need to cut global emissions in half by 2050 relative to 1990 levels, and reduce them to zero by the end of the 21st century.
According to PwC analysts, since 2000 Russia has on average reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 3.6% a year, the United Kingdom by 3.3%, France by 2.7%, and the United States by 2.3%. The average annual reduction in carbon emissions over the past 15 years has been 1.3%.
However, these efforts are not enough. In order to prevent irreversible climate change, carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by at least 6.3% annually until 2100.
This means that on the one hand we need to introduce energy-saving technologies, and on the other hand we need to switch to alternative energy sources.
There are several sources of energy that are safe for the atmosphere in terms of emissions: hydro power, nuclear power plants and new renewable sources: sun, wind, tides. Hydropower has foreseeable physical limits (there are not many rivers on Earth), wind and tide can only be used locally, so it is believed that the main energy sources of the future are the sun and the atom.
The advantage of nuclear power is that it is a large energy, it is power plants for large industrial agglomerations, large cities.
The advantage of solar power is its almost universal accessibility and the dynamic development of technology. In addition, solar power is improving and could become much more economical, unlike nuclear power, which can no longer be made much cheaper.
Wind power is suitable for individual consumption, but not for industrial production. Wind turbines are used in many regions, mostly in coastal areas, but there is no continuous coverage.
Negotiations to counter climate change are complicated by divisions between rich and poor countries.
The transition to clean energy sources is costly. Developed countries insist that all negotiators contribute to the effort. For their part, developing countries believe that the industrialized powers, which have long polluted the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, are responsible for climate change.
In 2010, the Green Climate Fund was created under the auspices of the UN to help developing countries. The funds are mostly allocated by developed countries.
Developed countries are currently experiencing a serious strain on state budgets, so they prefer climate financing to go through private investments or credits and loans. Vulnerable countries, on the other hand, are not prepared to take out loans.