Catastrophic effects of climate change are ‘dangerously unexplored’, experts warn climate news


More research is needed on climate change leading to the collapse of society or human extinction, researchers said, warning that such potentially catastrophic consequences are “dangerously unexplored”.

A team of international experts led by the University of Cambridge said not enough research had gone into the possible worst-case scenario, despite “ample reasons to believe that climate change could lead to a global catastrophe”.

In an article published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they said that analyzing extreme impacts of climate change “could drive action, improve resilience and inform policy.”

They have asked the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to devote a future report to catastrophic climate change.

The lead author Dr. Luke Kemp of the Center for the Study of Existential Risk in Cambridge said: “There are many reasons to believe that even modest warming could result in climate change becoming catastrophic.

“Climate change has played a role in every mass extinction.

“It helped overthrow empires and shape history.

“Even the modern world seems adapted to a specific climatic niche.

“The route to disaster is not limited to the direct effects of high temperatures, such as extreme weather events.

“Contagion effects such as financial crises, conflict and new disease outbreaks could trigger other disasters and hamper recovery from potential disasters such as nuclear war.”

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The “four horsemen” of the climate endgame

The researchers argue that the consequences of 3°C warming and its extreme risks are understudied.

They have proposed a research agenda that encompasses what they call the “four horsemen” of the climate endgame: hunger and malnutrition, extreme weather, conflict and vector-borne diseases.

Co-author Prof Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: “The more we learn about how our planet works, the greater the cause for concern.

“We increasingly understand that our planet is a more sophisticated and fragile organism.

“We must calculate the catastrophe to avoid it.”

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