Climate change could have a devastating effect on many societies by 2050 without swift and dramatic action to curb global warming, according to a new think tank report backed by Australia’s former military chief.
It paints a bleak future in which more than a billion people are displaced, food production drops off and some of the world’s most populous cities are left partially abandoned.
Its foreword is written by Chris Barrie, a retired admiral and former head of the Australian Defense Force, who said that «after nuclear war, human-induced global warming is the greatest threat to human life on the planet.»
«A doomsday future is not inevitable,» he notes. «But without immediate drastic action our prospects are poor.»
Andrew King, a climate science lecturer at the University of Melbourne who was not involved in the report, said its findings were «plausible,» although he did not expect human civilization to end in 2050.
«Without a doubt (climate change) is a huge threat to human civilization,» he said. «It’s the details that we need to pin down.»
King said that while he expected all of the issues mentioned in the paper to be occurring by 2050 — such as displacement of people and food shortages — it remained to be seen how widespread they would be.
He noted that there were many factors aside from climate change that could have an impact on global security and how humans react to altered conditions, such as population growth and inter-governmental action.

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