The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the final volume in a series of reports, declaring the science of climate change “unequivocal” and emphasizing the urgent need for action. The report outlines experts’ latest understanding, predicting a surge in catastrophic events due to a warming world.
However, amidst the clear warnings, the report highlights “known unknowns”—potential outcomes scientists recognize but can’t predict precisely. Notably, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a key regulator of temperatures, poses uncertainties. While the collapse before 2100 is deemed unlikely, the consequences would be severe..
A collapse feared by many scientists
Will humanity collapse before the end of the 21st century? Beyond ancestral fears of the end of the world, click on to read what some scientists say today.
“Massive population correction”
Professor William Rees, of the University of British Columbia, in Canada, known for coming up with the concept of “ecological footprint” of human actions, talks about a “massive population correction”.
Only a certain number of animals can live in a given environment
In his paper published in the journal ‘World’, he points out that many models have been developed over the years that show that only a certain number of animals can live in a given environment: they all show that at some point, a population correction occurs.
Signs of stress due to overpopulation
Rees notes that there are already signs of stress due to overpopulation: the planet is growing warmer and critical resources are at risk, such as the availability of fossil fuels as well as food and water.
War, famine, habitat instability, disease
Rees suggests that all of this is leading planet Earth to a “drastic reduction in human population”, perhaps before the end of this century, through war, famine, habitat instability, disease or a combination of these factors.
Scientist who eradicated smallpox agrees
Eminent Australian scientist Professor Frank Fenner, who helped to wipe out smallpox, agrees with William Rees’s predictions.
Extinct by 2110?
According to Phys.org, Fenner said homo sapiens will not be able to survive the population explosion and “unbridled consumption,” and will become extinct, perhaps by 2110, along with many other species.
The ravages of overconsumption
The continuous increase in population and income leads to overconsumption with devastating effects. According to an article published in the journal ‘Science’ in 2018, consumption (particularly meat) has devastating effects on ecosystems.
A collapse by 2050?
And there’s scientists that are even more pessimistic about the timing of humanity’s collapse. A distressing Australian climate change analysis, published in 2019, assured a collapse by 2050 if we don’t grapple with the imminent threat of climate change.
A point of no return
By 2050, the analysis said, human systems could reach a “point of no return” in which “the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order.”