What might our future look like if we fail to address the climate crisis?
Rising Global Temperatures: Staggeringly high temperature rise by 2100, especially over land, of up to a 10°F increase over much of the United States and extreme temperatures of up to 122°F threatening most of the central, southern, and western U.S. Already the Earth’s ten hottest years ever recorded all have occurred since 1997.
Dramatic Sea Level Rise: Sea level rise of more than 6 feet by 2100, with levels expected to rise faster along the U.S. East Coast than in any other densely populated part of the world. The first 40 inches of rise alone would flood 13,000 square miles of the US, forcing Southern Louisiana and South Florida to be abandoned. By 2050 in New York City rising sea levels combined with a category 3 hurricane would sink lower Manhattan, southern Brooklyn and Queens underwater. Globally, it would create more than 100 million environmental refugees.
National and Global Water and Food Crisis: Scientists predict a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest US. China is already in the process of moving more than a 150 million “eco-refugees” due to its water crisis. As soon as 2020, African crop yields could be reduced by up to 50%.
Mass Extinctions: By 2100 40-70% of plant and animal species face extinction. Marine biologists anticipate huge “dead zones” in the ocean that would be devoid of fish and seafood and endure for up to two millennia.
More Extreme Weather Events: Scientists calculate that a 1.8 ºF increase in sea-surface temperatures would result in a 31% increase in the global frequency of category 4 and 5 storms per year. Computer models suggest seas may warm by a further 3.6 ºF by 2100. Over the last 60 years, heavy rain and snow storms have become 24% more frequent in the U.S.
Financial Effects: If no action is taken to address human emissions of greenhouse gasses, the consequences could cost as much as 20% of world GDP. The US is ranked number one in world in vulnerability to financial losses from climate change.
Health Effects: Health experts now deem climate change and global warming as posing the biggest threat to human health in the 21st century. Climate linked disease tolls will double by 2030 if no action is taken, and experts say children and the elderly are the most at risk. Scientists anticipate the rapid spread of fatal diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, and encephalitis, and cholera. As early a 2005, scientists has already found climate change to be contributing to more than 150,000 deaths and 5 million illnesses each year.
Melting Icecaps: More than 2 trillion tons of land ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted since 2003. North Pole is poised to be largely ice-free by 2020. Ice loss by glaciers in Greenland doubled between 1996 and 2005. If completely melted, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets would result in more than 200 feet of sea level rise.
C02 Levels Climbing at Alarming Speed: In 2008 world CO2 levels jumped to their highest estimated level in 20 million years. Last time CO2 levels were this high it was 5° to 10°F warmer and seas were 75 to 120 feet higher.
The Forecasts are Getting Worse Not Better: Last year MIT scientists reported that global warming could be twice as bad as forecasts estimated just 6 years ago. With new data flooding in month after month, “worse case scenerio” are now looking worse and worse.