A recent climate report has left me devastated – I beg you to read it

© Getty Images

Wildfires rage in Chiang Mai, Thailand

– Getty Images

Never before in my life have I read a report and felt to the core of my being that every parent who loves their kids must read it. And this is also the first time I have ever opened a column with a mental health warning that what follows may be emotionally disturbing. But when I read the Chatham House Climate Change Risk Assessment report last Friday, I was left devastated at how desperate our situation is.

As I thought how best to convey the essential, terrifying message of the report, I decided I should just lay out the raw facts and let them reach your soul.

The two most civilisation-shattering facts are these. Firstly, under the current global government commitments to cut carbon emissions, as laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement, we have only a 1 per cent chance of not breaching a 1.5C rise of global temperatures. This is the temperature that prompted 200 health journals around the world, including the British Medical Journal, to simultaneously issue an editorial last week telling governments that passing this 1.5C rise would pose the greatest catastrophic, irreversible threat ever to human health.

The second fact is that we have only a 5 per cent chance of avoiding even a 2C rise. Indeed, the authors indicate that if we fail to keep to the current commitments, and instead continue increasing carbon emissions, there is a possibility of hitting a scorching 7C rise. More and more parts of the world would exceed temperatures at which people could safely work outdoors. Such temperatures would be literally lethal for humans without air-conditioning.

The report estimates that by 2050, the UK and Western Europe would have about 35 days of heatwaves – every year. Forty per cent of cropland would endure severe drought and 50 per cent in a worst-case scenario. This would be up from 9 per cent on average between 1980 and 2010. A 2C rise would lead to an 800 per cent increase in wildfires globally. California, where wildfires are already up 500 per cent, gives humanity a searing glimpse of what the new normal is now extremely likely to be.

By 2020, drought-affected land had already doubled all historic baselines, with 13 million in the African Sahel now requiring food aid. There is a 50 per cent chance of a globally disastrous simultaneous crop failure in the world’s three main breadbaskets during the 2040s. A child born this year would be in their early 20s as this catastrophe unfolds. But even without such a risk of simultaneous breadbasket failure, the report states that crop yields per hectare could be down 30 per cent by 2050, in a world where, due to the population explosion, an extra 50 per cent food would be needed.

Such food failures would not only translate into hunger and famines but wars over food resources, mass migration on a scale never before witnessed in human history and widespread political breakdown, as governments could be overthrown by hungry mobs

Currently, 230 million people live fewer than one metre above sea-level and 1 billion live fewer than 10 metres above sea level. But the report says that, even if we are miraculously lucky and the 5 per cent chance of staying under the 2C rise materialises, we would still be committed to a 12 metre rise in sea levels. It adds that ice losses from Antarctica have already tripled since 2012.

In 2020, there were over 30 million people displaced from their homes by extreme weather events, and the predictions are that over 140 million people in Africa, Asia and Latin America will be evicted from their homes by the climate catastrophe.

The authors state that all these predictions are based on a central band of expectation. Worse case scenarios resulting from the failure of governments to rein in continuing rises in carbon emissions would dwarf the above predictions.

And then came the report this week from the UN that the latest government commitments under the Paris Agreement would leave annual emissions not down but up 16 per cent by 2030, indicating that we are potentially heading towards a worst-case scenario.

Our leaders are failing humanity, just as King Priam of Troy failed his people by refusing to listen to the dire warnings from his daughter Cassandra who, as a seer, could foretell the doom approaching the city. And so Priam in his hubris ordered the gates to be opened to the Trojan Horse – just as our leaders are opening the gates of hell to this fossil fuelled madness.

Do please read the Chatham House report. Do please be kind emotionally to yourself afterwards. Do please insist that all your friends and any parents you know read it. And then finally do join Greta Thunberg, Gail Bradbrook, Roger Hallam, Vandana Shiva, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and all the rest of us Cassandras seeking to shout the alarm from the rooftops.

Who knows, maybe if we have millions of Cassandras, we may force our Priamic leaders to act? A 1 per cent chance is better than no chance at all.

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions

Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. © Greg Nash Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) ... Read more »

Ryan Gosling's Wolfman Reboot Has Made A Big Behind-The-Scenes Change

As the classic horror cinema characters such as Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula maintain their everlasting fandoms through celebrations such as Universal Studios’ Halloween-themed events, Hollywood continues its attempts to reboots ... Read more »

Alphabet's income zooms on soaring services revenue

© BRYAN R. SMITH Google’s third-quarter sales surged 41 per cent annually to $65.1 billion. Photo: AFP Alphabet reported a 68.4 per cent jump in its third-quarter net profit on ... Read more »

Neom Tech and Holding and OneWeb join in $200m venture for satellite connectivity

© Provided by The National Nadmi Al Nasser, CEO, NEOM speaking at FII in Riyadh on Tuesday. Neom Tech & Digital Holding Company and its strategic partner, One Web, on ... Read more »

Genshin Impact: The Black Sword – how to get it, stats, and ascension materials

© Provided by GamePur The Black Sword is a 4-star weapon in Genshin Impact that’s unfortunately only available to players who pay. More specifically, you’ll need to purchase the Battle ... Read more »

Home minister: Govt has no intention to amend Sosma, needed by enforcement agencies to maintain public order

© Provided by Malay Mail Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin noted that his ministry was committed to further improving the law, further stating that such improvement measures are continually ... Read more »

Jeff Bezos Is Building a Space Station That's Basically a Giant Business Park

© Orbital Reef Seems pretty on-brand. Jeff Bezos-run Blue Origin announced this week that it is partnering with other giants in the astronautics field to develop a space station. Orbital ... Read more »

Watch This Cat's Reaction When Sat on by His Dog Sibling in Comical Viral Video

This cat sat on by a dog might’ve had it coming after laying in the Great Pyrenees‘s bed one too many times. But whatever the cause, the video of the ... Read more »

3 Ways to Sneak More Money Into Your IRA

© Provided by The Motley Fool 3 Ways to Sneak More Money Into Your IRA © Getty Images Happy couple sit in front of computer with paperwork . Saving for ... Read more »

Day care group warns vaccine mandates will lead to less access

Operators of licensed day cares in Illinois say the governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the industry will make a staffing crisis even more acute. © Provided by Washington Examiner Gov. ... Read more »

Facebook is having a tougher time managing vaccine misinformation than it is letting on, leaks suggest

In public, Facebook has touted the resources it has dedicated to tackling Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation, even scolding US President Joe Biden for his harsh criticism of the company’s handling ... Read more »

Sunak is mocked for wearing 'teenage' flip-flop footwear in photoshoot

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Twitter users mocked Rishi Sunak last night for wearing £95 ‘teenage’ flip-flop footwear in a pre-Budget pictures by photoshopping clown feet over the American-style sandals ... Read more »

Careful on CA convertibility

© Provided by The Financial Express To be sure, we have come a long way since then; today, domestic residents can easily access forex for travel, study and remit $250,000 ... Read more »

19-year-old charged with Raleigh murder indicted in double murder on NCCU campus

A 19-year-old in Wake County jail on murder charges now faces charges in connection with the shooting deaths of two men last month on the North Carolina Central University campus, ... Read more »

3 men injured in shooting on Granby Street Norfolk

Three men were hospitalized after a shooting Tuesday in Norfolk, according to Twitter post from police. Officers responded to a call around 7 p.m. about a shooting in the 2700 ... Read more »

'End of the story': MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred standing down on Atlanta's tomahawk chop, nickname

HOUSTON — There has been no pressure placed on Atlanta towards changing its nickname or banning the Tomahawk Chop by its fans, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday, supporting Atlanta’s ... Read more »

Hell Yes, It's the First Trailer for Netflix's Live-Action ‘Cowboy Bebop' (Video)

© Provided by TheWrap Cowboy Bebop So far marketing for Netflix’s live action remake of “Cowboy Bebop” has basically been giant flashing WE GET THIS STUFF WE PROMISE signs for ... Read more »

Adventures At Home: Let's Rediscover Kampong Glam

Kampong Glam has transformed into a hip hangout spot, but there are plenty of reminders to its rich heritage, like the iconic Masjid Sultan. Kampong Glam has transformed into a ... Read more »

Niantic's Pikmin Bloom is rolling out globally starting today

Pikmin Bloom, the next game from Pokémon Go creator Niantic, is starting its global rollout today. The developer says that the app — which is billed as a joint project ... Read more »

Pikmin Bloom hands-on: a cute app that tries to make walking a little more magical

There’s something strangely satisfying about leaving a trail of colorful flowers in your wake as you explore a neighborhood. It’s also one of the main hooks of Pikmin Bloom, the ... Read more »

Ex-Clinton aide Huma Abedin says she was sexually assaulted by US senator but repressed memory for years

© AFP via Getty Images Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton chats with her staff, including aide Huma Abedin (L), onboard her plane in White Plains, New York, October 22, 2016, ... Read more »

Australia's net-zero emissions ‘plan': the five things you should know

Scott Morrison’s plan for achieving net zero by 2050 has already come under intense scrutiny since it was unveiled on Tuesday. But what does it all mean? Here are the ... Read more »

Budget leaks give parliamentarians a better chance of holding the government to account

By my tally there have been at least 15 different parts of the budget trailed in advance of Wednesday’s speech by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, from a boost in transport spending ... Read more »

Sudan shuts down the internet after a military coup

Sudan’s ongoing internet blockade in the aftermath of a coup on Monday, Oct. 25 could persist for longer as previous trends in the crisis ravaged African country show the military ... Read more »

US condemns Sudan military coup, pauses $700M in aid

The Biden administration suspended $700 million in planned aid for Sudan and condemned members of Sudan’s military involved a coup that ousted the country’s civilian-led transitional government from power. Sudan’s ... Read more »

Pret A Manger is making its debut in Canada, as sandwich and coffee chain expands

Pret a Manger is making its debut in Canada (AFP/Getty Images) Pret A Manger has unveiled its latest move that broadens its offering outside of London, the city where trading ... Read more »

Facebook's Instagram Reels Is Finally Landing In Singapore

© Provided by Geek Culture Short-form videos are all the craze nowadays, so it wasn’t a surprise when Facebook decided to hop on the bandwagon with Instagram Reels in August ... Read more »

Santa Fe District Attorney Says Criminal Charges Are “On the Table” in ‘Rust' Shooting Case

The set of the movie The Santa Fe County district attorney said the investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of Rustcould take weeks if not months and could ... Read more »

From silk fan painter to hanfu clothes designer, artisan youth in China discover they can make a career promoting traditional culture

More young people like Li Jingyi (pictured) are turning to making traditional Chinese handicrafts and clothing for a living and promoting their country’s culture on social media to a global ... Read more »

Mungkin tak ramai pegawai perubatan ‘terpikat' dengan tawaran Singapura

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Pegawai perubatan (MO) yang berminat dengan tawaran Singapura perlu meletakkan jawatan dengan Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM) terlebih dahulu dan tidak boleh kembali berkhidmat semula, kata ... Read more »

Najib saman Tommy Thomas, tuntut lebih RM1.9 juta

© Provided by Sinar Harian KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak memfailkan saman terhadap bekas Peguam Negara Tan Sri Tommy Thomas berhubung dakwaan menyalahgunakan kuasa untuk mendakwanya dalam ... Read more »

World-renowned expert's £100,000 coin collection stolen in London burglary

Dominik Kuzio burgled the home of coin expert Simon Bendall (MPS) A burglar who stole a £100,000 collection of antique coins while ransacking the Pimlico home of a world-renowned expert ... Read more »

2 Georgia law officers indicted in man's 2016 shooting death

EAST POINT, Ga. (AP) — A grand jury on Tuesday returned an eight-count indictment against two law enforcement officers in connection with the 2016 killing of a man shot 76 ... Read more »

Superior overdose death leads to homicide charge

Oct. 26—A Duluth man accused of selling a fatal dose of fentanyl to a Superior man in April made an initial appearance Tuesday, Oct. 26, in Douglas County Circuit Court. ... Read more »

Sneak peek of 1921 census released ahead of January publication

The public will be able to learn more about how their ancestors lived and worked in the wake of the First World War and Spanish flu pandemic when the 1921 ... Read more »

Province of British Columbia to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all residents

People receive COVID-19 booster vaccination in Michigan By Moira Warburton VANCOUVER (Reuters) – British Columbia will begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to everyone over the age of 12 from ... Read more »

Police officers who killed 8-year-old at football game acted recklessly, alleges lawsuit

The family of an 8-year-old girl who was shot and killed by a police officer at a football game in Sharon Hill, Pa., in August is suing the borough and ... Read more »

Sheriff 'Exhibited Improper Bias' in Calling Cops on Black Newspaper Carrier: Investigation

An investigation has found that Pierce County, Washington Sheriff Ed Troyer had “exhibited an improper bias” during an incident involving a Black newspaper carrier. © Andrew Winner/Getty Sheriff Ed Troyer ... Read more »

Brazilian commission votes in favor of recommending criminal charges against Bolsonaro

A Brazilian commission investigating the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has voted in favor of charges against President Jair Bolsonaro, among others. © Andressa Anholete/Getty Images South America/Getty Images ... Read more »

Kamala Harris' Campaign Ad Jeopardizes Churches' Nonprofit Status, Say Experts

Democratic Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder said Vice President Kamala Harris’ video endorsement supporting Terry McAuliffe for governor could jeopardize the 501(3)(C) status of those Virginia churches showing it—and some ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic