Global Warming: The Catastrophic Effects of Three Degrees of Warming Three degrees of global warming would be catastrophic, but the world is well on its way there. Since the industrial revolution, the earth has warmed between 1.1 and 1.3 degrees Celsius. Children born today are up to seven times more likely to face extreme weather than their grandparents. If global temperatures do rise by three degrees, what would the world look like?
Global Warming: The Catastrophic Effects of Three Degrees of Warming
Three degrees of global warming would be catastrophic, but the world is well on its way there. Since the industrial revolution, the earth has warmed between 1.1 and 1.3 degrees Celsius. Children born today are up to seven times more likely to face extreme weather than their grandparents. If global temperatures do rise by three degrees, what would the world look like?
Effects of Three Degrees of Warming
Rising sea levels
Increased storm surges
More frequent droughts
Climate scientist Yuri Rogel has spent the last 10 years modeling future climate scenarios for the United Nations. There is still a 1 in 4 chance that, under current policies, we would hit three degrees by the end of the century. This is just one of the scenarios Yuri looks at. Another one imagined that all policy promises are kept. The most optimistic assumes that all promises have been kept and net zero targets are met, where our best estimate ends up around 2 degrees at the end.
In some parts of the world, the effects of inaction are already clear. The slums of climate migrants are moving to Bangladesh’s capital and are filling up with climate migrants. In many parts of Australia, New York City, and the United States, people are becoming increasingly concerned about climate migrants. Smallholders and small-scale farmers around the world are particularly vulnerable to climate change, and there are over 600 million of them around the world. Smallholders with farms under two hectares produce around a third of the global food supply.
The Village of Toguru
In Fiji, rising waters are already upending lives due to this rising sea level and climate change. The village of Toguru in Fiji is being swallowed by the sea. The villages of Togarwar and Togarai have seen over half the village disappear. If we do not have the sea wall, then it will keep eroding, and time will come when the world will be only roads. The rising waters have been swallowed by rising waters. In fact, it is becoming more and more. The world is at risk of losing entire villages and small communities due to rising sea levels and climate change.
The Threat of High Wet Bulb Temperatures
The average daytime temperature has crept up by nearly half a degree in the last 20 years. High so-called wet bulb temperatures are on the rise. A high wet bulb temperature is a measure of heat and humidity. Humans cool themselves by sweating, but in these conditions when relative humidity is near 100 percent, sweat doesn’t evaporate well, so people can’t cool down even if given unlimited shade and water. The body can’t lose heat, and so it gets hotter and hotter. The Philippines and Myanmar are just two countries that will also see an increase in storm surges in a three-degree world. To escape many will move often to urban areas. Half of the world’s population already lives in cities, almost a third in slums. For them, a three-degree world could be deadly.
The Economist on a Three Degree World
The Economist has recently published a cover package on what a three degree world might look like. The magazine explains that a three degree world could lead some places to the brink of societal collapse. Despite existing pledges, greenhouse gas emissions are still set to rise by 16% from 2010 levels by 2030. The need to act has never been clearer. There’s still time to reduce emissions so that a three degrees world remains fiction rather than becoming fact.
Adaptation vs Mitigation
The Economist says that adaptation will reduce suffering, but it doesn’t mean that it will eliminate suffering. Suffering is built into this whole process of heating up the planet. Adaptation will only get the world so far, but that’s why increasing efforts on mitigation are important.
Avoiding a Three Degree World
The Economist believes that the best way to deal with a 3 degree world is not to go to a three degree world. The magazine says that there’s a need to work towards negative emissions that could bring down the temperature after it peaks. It is important to reduce greenhouse gases that can bring down temperatures after it peaks. Adaptation will not eliminate suffering. The need for more work towards negative emissions is to reduce carbon emissions that can bring down temperature after peak levels is important. There’s still a need to reduce the emissions that are not to reduce global emissions that have never been to a low levels of carbon emissions.