Risk of Human Extinction from Climate Change ‘Dangerously Underexplored’

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Photo credit: Daily Beast

The climate destruction endgame of human extinction has been “dangerously under-explored,” scientists have said, The Guardian reports. The risk that there will be a global societal collapse or complete human extinction due to climate change has not been explored enough, scientists warned in a new analysis. 

Climate scientists called a potential extinction catastrophe a “climate endgame.” It has a small chance of occurring, but cataclysmic scenarios cannot be ruled out, they said. And the small chance of occurring is due to the uncertainties in future emissions and to the climate system. 

“Facing a future of accelerating climate change while blind to worst-case scenarios is naive risk management at best and fatally foolish at worst,” the scientists said. 

The international team of experts said there were “ample reasons” to suspect global heating could result in an apocalyptic disaster.

“There are plenty of reasons to believe climate change could become catastrophic, even at modest levels of warming,” said Dr Luke Kemp at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, who led the analysis. 

The climate experts argue the world needs to start preparing for the possibility of the climate endgame. 

“Analyzing the mechanisms for these extreme consequences could help galvanize action, improve resilience, and inform policy,” they said.

Explorations in the 1980s of the nuclear winter that would follow a nuclear war spurred public concern and disarmament efforts, the researchers said. 

The analysis proposes a research agenda, including what they call the “four horsemen” of the climate endgame: famine, extreme weather, war, and disease.

The report also calls for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to produce a special report on the issue. The IPCC has published this year several reports detailing just how catastrophic global warming is, saying it was “now or never” for the climate. 

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