As the world continues to heat up, so does the debate about when, or if, global warming will kill us. While some argue that global warming will eventually become catastrophic for humanity, others believe that human beings are resilient enough to weather any changes that come our way. To truly consider the answer to this question, it is imperative to look at the facts and consider both the positive and negative implications of rising temperatures.
The global average temperature has already risen by one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution, an increase that is directly linked to human activities and the burning of fossil fuels. If these activities continue, the planet is projected to warm anywhere from two to three degrees Celsius by 2100. This may not sound like much, but it will certainly cause significant changes to the environment and possibly lead to irreversible damage.
Changes to the environment can lead to extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods. We have already seen this happening, with record-breaking temperatures in 2019 and 2020, more severe floods in some regions of the world, and a lack of precipitation in others. All of this can lead to food and water shortages, as well as displacement of populations and even conflicts over resources.
At the same time, some believe that global warming, and its effects, can be managed and minimized. This view is based in part on the fact that humans, being resourceful and adaptive, have managed to cope with climate change in the past, such as during the Little Ice Age. Moreover, many technoscientific solutions are currently being developed, such as geoengineering, which is the practice of artificially manipulating the environment to counteract the effects of global warming.
It is clear, however, that the best way to avoid catastrophic climate change is to reduce global carbon emissions. The Paris Agreement, signed in 2016, aims to do this by committed signatory countries to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Such actions can ultimately reduce the likelihood of global warming killing us and lead to a more sustainable future.
In conclusion, while it is difficult to know when, or if, global warming will kill us, the current evidence suggests that it is best to be proactive by reducing emissions and developing solutions to managing the effects of climate change. Doing so will not only reduce the odds that global warming will be catastrophic for humanity, but also help create a better and more sustainable world for future generations.