New Study on Global Warming: One Billion-Plus to Face Extreme Heat if We Don’t Fight for Change

A recent study finds that global warming will impact humanity even more intensely, and sooner than previously thought. According to the research, for every 1ºC increase in global temperature, one billion people will be displaced or forced to endure insufferable heat. This means that within the next 50 years, 1.2 billion people, in the best case scenario, will live in regions with climates nearly uninhabitable for humans. Based on our current fossil fuel emissions, a third of the total human population will suffer temperatures as hot as the hottest parts of the Sahara Desert in North Africa, with most having no resources to combat the unlivable heat.

“We were blown away by the magnitude,” one researcher said. “There will be more change in the next 50 years than in the past 6,000 years.” And while those with enough money and energy to pay for air conditioning or for food to be flown to them may be able to stay in these areas, the majority will be forced either to flee, to try to endure the heat, or simply to die.

These findings make it clear that we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero – NOW. Each degree Celsius of temperature increase will sentence one billion people more to an unlivable existence. And while politicians and CEOs may find this death toll acceptable, as they have shown with their responses to the current global pandemic, we must fight back to reorganize production to prevent this grim prospect. No one is too small to participate in this fight. We must gather our forces and do this together. Working people produce everything. Reorganizing HOW we produce is totally possible. The future is in our hands.

Featured image credit: Xu et al. / PNAS