A climate change study released on 4 May 2020, says that 3 billion people will live in extreme heat by 2070, a climate deemed unsuitable for human life to flourish. A projected future if greenhouse gas emissions continue without restrain.
The study states that in the past 6,000 years human beings are concentrated in a narrow subset of the earth’s available climate, this climate has a mean annual temperature of 13 C or a mode of around 11 C to 15 C. Researchers calls this a temperature ‘niche’ where agriculture and livestock production flourish.
Because of climate change, this temperature niche is predicted to shift more in the next 50 years than it has ever moved in the last 6000 years.
In this scenario, one-third of the global population will experience extreme heat or mean temperature of more than 29°C without migration.
You can find this vicious temperature in the Sahara and in 0.8% of the total earth’s land surface, but this could spread for up to 19% of the earth’s land area without mitigation of GHG emissions
Extreme heat will affect ecosystems, food security, human health, water supply, and economic growth.
And with every degree of warming, more people will be exposed to climate-related risks and poverty by up to several hundred million by 2050.
Marten Scheffer, a co-author of the study from the Wageningen University of Netherlands, says that areas of the planet that would heat up will not cool down again, and it will have devastating effects as it will lead societies less able to cope with future crises like new pandemics. The only way to stop this is through rapid cuts in carbon emissions (Rice, 2020).
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