May 21, 2015 by John Crapper
In researching a book I’m writing I’ve been collecting prognostications about climate change. These have been gathered over time from numerous sources. But they are projections and hence a best guess as to what is in our collective future. (Obviously the past dates are accurate.) I must confess that during the time I have been compiling these predictions the timeframe has been trending towards an acceleration of events rather than an elongation of them. There have been a shitload of Holy Shit moments in the process of putting this together. Even if you allow that only 50% of these predictions will occur you must come to the conclusion that life as we know it will be dramatically altered.
*A city hits “climate departure” when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005. For example, let’s say the climate departure point for D.C. is 2047 (which it is). After 2047, even D.C.’s coldest year will still be hotter than any year from before 2005. Put another way, every single year after 2047 will be hotter than D.C.’s hottest year on record from 1860 to 2005. It’s the moment when the old “normal” is really gone.
In 2008 Arctic sea ice hit its second lowest summer ice extent on record (the lowest extent was in 2007).
A massive chunk of ice breaks away from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier.
Several breakups of ice shelves in Antarctica are observed. (NSIDC; Jason Box, Ohio State University; ESA, NSIDC)
The Bush Administration enacts changes to the Endangered Species Act that affect reviews of government projects.
Polar bears and beluga whales are placed on the Endangered Species List.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declares carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
An ice bridge connected to the Wilkins Ice Sheet of Antarctica breaks apart.
Many of the world’s major rivers are found to be losing water. (Aiguo Dai, NCAR, Journal of Climate)
China became the largest energy consumer in the world, overtaking the USA China added 15,000 car to its roads every day and a new power plant every week.
The first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, an international environmental treaty created to limit the production of greenhouse gases, expires. Nations will have to draw up and enact a successor treaty to further limit emissions, should they choose to do so.
The amount of carbon pollution has already locked in more than 4 feet of sea level rise past 2013 levels. That is enough, at high tide, to submerge more than half of 2013’s population in 316 coastal cities and towns (home to 3.6 million) in the lower 48 states.
Flash floods increase across all parts of Europe. Less rainfall reduces agriculture yields by up to 50 percent in some parts of the world.
World population reaches 7.7 billion people.
Hubbert’s Peak or peak oil level is reached. Global oil production begins an irreversible decline, triggering a global recession, food shortages and conflict between nations over dwindling oil supplies.
Manokwari, the largest and capital city of the West Papua, Indonesia is the first city in the world to hit climate departure.*
2023 – Kingston the capital and largest city of Jamaica and Ngerulmud the capital of Palau become the next two cities to hit climate departure.*
2028 – Singapore hits climate departure*
2029 – Jakarta, Georgetown and Lagos hit climate departure.*
Diarrhea-related diseases increase by up to 5 percent in low-income parts of the world.
Up to 18 percent of the world’s coral reefs are lost as a result of climate change and other environmental stresses.
In Asian coastal waters, the coral loss reaches 30 percent.
World population reaches 8.4 billion people.
Warming temperatures causes temperate glaciers on equatorial mountains in Africa to disappear.
In developing countries, the urban population more than doubles to about 4 billion people, packing more people onto a given city’s land area. The urban populations of developed countries increase by 20 percent.
The Arctic Sea is ice-free in the summer.
In China lung disease kills over 80 million people due to the long term effects of pollution.
2031 – Mexico City hits climate departure.*
2033 – Bogota hits climate departure.*
2034 – Mumbai hits climate departure*
2036 – Cairo and Nairobi hit climate departure.*
2037 – Alpine glaciers disappear completely.
2038 – Sydney, Lima and Cape Town hit climate departure.*
2040 – World Population hits over 9 billion. 2041 – Tokyo and Wellington hit climate departure.*
2042 – Taipei and Seoul hit climate departure.*
2043 – Phoenix, Santiago. Pretoria and Honolulu hit climate departure.*
2044 – Rome hits climate departure.*
2045 – Kabul hits climate departure.*
2046 – Beijing and Bangkok hit climate departure.*
2047 – D.C. and New York hit climate departure.*
2048 – Los Angeles hits climate departure.*
The Amazon rainforest is threatened not only by illegal deforestation, but also the effects of drought and climate change. Under a “business as usual” scenario, nearly half of the jungle is be destroyed. and it could be almost entirely gone by 2100.
More than 2,000 native tree species face extinction.
World population reaches 9.5 billion people.
Some 70% of polar bears disappear due to the shrinking of Arctic ice caused by global warming.
Large glaciers shrink by 30 to 70 percent.
Ocean acidification kills off most coral reefs.
One of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef disappears .
At least 400 bird species become extinct due to deforestation and climate change.
In Australia, there is an additional 3,200 to 5,200 heat-related deaths per year. Hardest hit are people over the age of 65.
An extra 500 to 1,000 people die of heat-related deaths in New York City per year.
In the United Kingdom, the opposite occurs, and cold-related deaths outpace heat-related ones.
All amphibians in Europe are extinct.
Crop yields shift increasing by up to 20 percent in East and Southeast Asia, while decreasing by up to 30 percent in Central and South Asia. Similar shifts in crop yields occur on other continents.
As biodiversity hotspots are more threatened, a quarter of the world’s plant and vertebrate animal species face extinction.
Rio de Janeiro hits climate departure.*
2052 – Chicago hits climate departure.*
2054 – Ulan Bator hits climate departure.*
2055 – Seattle hits climate departure.*
2056 – London hits climate departure.*
Guangzhou, P.R. of China
New York-Newark, USA
Shanghai, P.R. of China
Tianjin, P.R. of China
Hong Kong, P.R. of China
Ningbo, P.R. of China
New Orleans, USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Virginia Beach, USA
Hai Phòng, Vietnam
Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
Extinctions peak with 0.5% of the world’s animal and plant species disappearing every year.
World population reaches 9.9 billion
2063 – Moscow hits climate departure.*
2064 – St. Petersburg hits climate departure.*
2066 – Reykjavik hits climate departure.*
World population reaches 10.2 billion
As glaciers disappear and areas affected by drought increase, electricity production for the world’s existing hydropower stations decrease.
Hardest hit is Europe, where hydropower potential declines on average by 6 percent; around the Mediterranean, the decrease is up to 50 percent.
Warmer, drier conditions lead to more frequent and longer droughts, as well as longer fire-seasons, increased fire risks, and more frequent heat waves, especially in Mediterranean regions.
2071 – Anchorage hits climate departure.*
World population reaches 10.5 billion
While some parts of the world dry out, others get inundated.
Up to 20 percent of the world’s populations live in river basins and are affected by increased flood hazards.
Up to 100 million people experience coastal flooding each year. Most at risk are densely populated and low-lying areas that are less able to adapt to rising sea levels and areas which already face other challenges such as tropical storms.
Coastal populations balloon to 5 billion people, up from 1.2 billion in 1990.
Between 1.1 and 3.2 billion people experience water shortages and up to 600 million go hungry.
Sea levels rise around New York City by more than three feet, flooding the Rockaways, Coney Island, much of southern Brooklyn and Queens, portions of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, lower Manhattan and eastern Staten Island from Great Kills Harbor north to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
2085 – The risk of dengue fever from climate change increases to 3.5 billion people.
2090 – World population reaches 10.7 billion
World population reaches 10.8 billion
Global average temperature rises to 6°C (10°F) by 2100.
Carbon dioxide concentrations reach 1000 parts per million (ppm).
By the start of the century, global climate emissions increased, to lock in 23 feet of sea level rise, threatening 1,429 municipalities in the U.S. alone.
A combination of global warming and other factors push many ecosystems to the limit, forcing them to exceed their natural ability to adapt to climate change.
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are much higher than anytime during the past 650,000 years.
Ocean pH levels decrease by 0.5 pH units, the lowest it’s been in the last 20 million years.
The ability of marine organisms such as corals, crabs and oysters to form shells or exoskeletons is impaired.
Thawing permafrost and other factors make Earth’s land a net source of carbon emissions, meaning it emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it absorbs.
Roughly 20 to 30 percent of species assessed as of 2007 are extinct by 2100.
New climate zones appear on up to 39 percent of the world’s land surface, radically transforming the planet.
A quarter of all species of plants and land animals—more than a million total— are driven to extinction.
Due to climate change and food scarcity, up to 30% of bird species go extinct.
Polar bears go extinct.
Increased droughts significantly reduce moisture levels in the American Southwest, northern Mexico and parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, effectively recreating the “Dust Bowl” environments of the 1930s in the United States.
The Amazon rain forrest is almost entirely gone. More than 2,000 native tree species face extinction.
2200 – Scientific projection An Earth day is now 0.12 milliseconds shorter, as rising temperatures cause oceans to expand away from the equator and toward the poles. Water in the oceans shift toward the poles so the poles are closer to the Earth’s axis of rotation, which causes them to speed up the planet’s rotation.
*** *A city hits “climate departure” when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005. For example, let’s say the climate departure point for D.C. is 2047 (which it is). After 2047, even D.C.’s coldest year will still be hotter than any year from before 2005. Put another way, every single year after 2047 will be hotter than D.C.’s hottest year on record from 1860 to 2005. It’s the moment when the old “normal” is really gone.