Climate Change Will Kill Billions This Century

A leading scientist writes that climate change will kill billions of people this century as the Earth enters a “fever” phase. James Lovelock is the scientist who propounded that the Earth is a self-regulating organism in the “Gaia Theory”. Like me and others, he has concluded that the world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilization as we know it is now unlikely to survive. Humanity has simply overwhelmed the Earth System's myriad feedback mechanisms which in the past have acted in concert to keep the Earth habitable and much cooler than it otherwise would be.

U.S. and European temperatures are now expected to rise 8C (15F) and those in the tropics will rise by 5C (8F), faster than anticipated in current UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. And the impacts will be cataclysmic. “Over the coming decades soaring temperatures will mean agriculture may become unviable over huge areas of the world… water supplies for millions or even billions may fail. Rising sea levels will destroy substantial coastal areas… Numberless environmental refugees will overwhelm the capacity… to cope, while modern urban infrastructure will face devastation from powerful extreme weather events…”
Despite the warnings of eminent scientists and tireless efforts of Earth advocates, it is clear that Gaia's condition is critical. Soaring numbers of human beings each scrambling to consume ever more have damaged the living planet's ancient regulatory system and destruction to the Earth's life-giving biosphere is accelerating uncontrollably. Earth vandals in the oil and military industries have stifled adequate policy responses while they could still have made a difference. No technology exists to replicate the global ecological system, and never will. Lovelock terms the Earth's critical state “The Revenge of Gaia” and examines it in detail in a new book with that title, to be published next month.

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11 Responses

  1. Lance says:

    If every 1 degree F means that plant species will have to flee poleward by about 100 miles, an
    increase of 5 degrees means that forest communities (grasses, forbs, shrubs, trees, insects,
    fish, birds, and mammals) will be attempting a migration of 500 miles. Some will die trying.
    Lance Olsen

  2. Richard Harvey says:

    I saw this coming 25 years ago.
    Three years ago I saw that our efforts (Kyoto et al)were feeble in the face of mortal danger, and that only extreme measures would save things or at least halt the slide and ussher in an austere but stable regime.
    Now, reading Lovelock's latest thoughts I am not sure of human survival.
    However we should not give up trying. There are ways to save the Worls, but it takes courage to say them out loud.

  3. George says:

    Not just some species will die during the migration north as would have been the case before humans. Now that we have fragmented the planet, we placed serious obstacles in the migration paths which means that tens of thousands of species will not be able to survive the journey.

  4. Mike says:

    Global warming will ulimately solve the biggest environmental problem that Earth has–human overpopulation. Nature is self healing.

  5. Titania says:

    It's terrible how man is dramatically destroying his planet in name of development (?)….
    I'm a bit terrified when I think of what I'm leaving for my family and for those to come…
    Nice of you to share these problems and to make people “open their eyes”!
    Greetings from Portugal!

  6. GORDON says:

    The “site owner” will probably not allow questions, but that is all I have:
    Is there a URL or literature anywhere of a “grocery list” of requirements, materials, items, knowledge, & etc. one would need to eek out life physically, mentally,after ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE kicks in? Looking for a survival guide — and I'm in a hurry! GORDON

  7. aurelius marcus says:

    Dear all, especially Glen Barry:
    I have come back from long ago when I tried to maintain the Roman Empire .
    I ask myself what response the world got other than the ones already published herebove.In my time the crowds were the same: not interested in wordly matters , only in bread and games.You confirmed once, Glen: we are going to hell in a ….. basket.Right now I do not remember the saying exactly in English.
    But I have another: do not put your eggs in more than one basket.Or maybe we SHOULD put our eggs in different baskets.
    Keep up hope and the good work.
    blink eye,
    Aurelius Marcus

  8. Alan says:

    Given the uncertainty of the extremes of a Gaian reaction and the uncertainty of the human failures of nerve and imagination, we should plan our actions “as if” we were wise and as if we would survive. For wilderness preservation, that means planning long north-south corridors and larger reserves. For human continuity, it may mean arcologies and abandoning shorelines … As if …

  9. Barend van der Merwe says:

    Dear Dr Barry
    Will civilization as we now it end? Indeed it will and should, but that is what civilizations do. In nature ecologists often refer to the ability of a species to adapt and evolve to fit into a new niche. This ability to adapt has ensured the survival of life on earth. Why should we not evolve culturally? It is essential for our survival. A more pressing concern is that we are decreasing our ability to survive in the future. We are reducing our current (and potential) resource base. But blaming development is not the right thing to do. We are to blame. To quote Isaac Asimov:” The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”. It is our unwise use of the tools of development that are causing problems, not development per se. Development (not referred to in any metaphysical context) is part of human nature, humans are part of nature, therefore development is also part of nature.

  10. WE Evams says:

    For those that remember a movie called Solent Green there was a movie that came out with it about 55 years ago that terrified me about global warming. It was called ” No Blade Of Grass” If anyone has access to an old film library, I highly recommend this film.. The time is comeing

  11. Perry Hyde says:

    At the current rate of climate change, the sea levels will rise 10 metres in 24,000 years. However 24,000 years ago the sea was 140 metres below its current rate. Humans wouldnt have had any kind of technology to make that happen. Climate change will not kill Billions and certanly not in the next century.
    As it shows here, in just 3000 years, the sea rose 60 metres. But this was 11,000 years ago. Did we do that?
    Obviously not. Global warming and climate change is not and WILL not be a serious issue, and it is overexaggerated by the media.

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