“It’s real ... And the great irony and tragedy of our time, is a lot of the general public thinks scientists are still arguing.”
– James Balog

In 2020, despite past pledges, the international support for the Paris Agreement starts to wane. In the years that follow, CO2 emissions are reduced at the local and national level but efforts are limited and not always successful. …

Global warming of 1.5°C is reached by 2030 but no major changes in policies occur. Starting with an intense El Niño–La Niña phase in the 2030s, several catastrophic years occur while global warming starts to approach 2°C. There are major heatwaves on all continents, with deadly consequences in tropical regions and Asian megacities, especially for those ill-equipped for protecting themselves and their communities from the effects of extreme temperatures. Droughts occur in regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, central North America, the Amazon region and southern Australia, some of which are due to natural variability and others to enhanced greenhouse gas forcing. Intense flooding occurs in high-latitude and tropical regions, in particular in Asia, following increases in heavy precipitation events. Major ecosystems (coral reefs, wetlands, forests) are destroyed over that period, with massive disruption to local livelihoods. An unprecedented drought leads to large impacts on the Amazon rainforest, which is also affected by deforestation. A hurricane with intense rainfall and associated with high storm surges destroys a large part of Miami. A two-year drought in the Great Plains in the USA and a concomitant drought in eastern Europe and Russia decrease global crop production, resulting in major increases in food prices and eroding food security. Poverty levels increase to a very large scale, and the risk and incidence of starvation increase considerably as food stores dwindle in most countries; human health suffers.

There are high levels of public unrest and political destabilisation due to the increasing climatic pressures, resulting in some countries becoming dysfunctional. The main countries responsible for the CO2 emissions design rapidly conceived mitigation plans and try to install plants for carbon capture and storage, in some cases without sufficient prior testing. Massive investments in renewable energy often happen too late and are uncoordinated; energy prices soar as a result of the high demand and lack of infrastructure. … Global and regional temperatures continue to increase strongly while mitigation solutions are being developed and implemented.

Scenario 3 [one possible storyline among worst-case scenarios], from Global Warming of 1.5°C, 2018, an IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

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