A new report on climate change from the Australian think-tank, Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, has taken a radical, almost apocalyptic view of the impact and effect of climate change, hitting headlines in the world's mainstream media.
Published the week of June 3, the report is a “scenario analysis” that assesses climate-related security threats. It claims that supporting scientific data produced for policy-making purposes is conservative and posits that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (report released March 31, 2019) does not go far enough in evaluating the impacts of climate change.
The Australian report suggests:
- Climate change now represents a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilisation. A new approach to climate-related security risk-management is required, giving particular attention to the high-end and difficult-to-quantify possibilities.
- A 2050 scenario is outlined in which accelerating climate-change impacts pose large negative consequences to humanity which might not be undone for centuries.
- To reduce risks and to sustain human civilisation, it is essential to build a zero- emissions industrial system very quickly. This requires the global mobilisation of resources on an emergency basis, akin to a wartime level of response.
The report “accuses” climate scientists of not wanting to create “drama” and hence, current predictions of impacts are “underpredicted” or “down-played”. The authors of the report specifically challenge the IPCC, claiming that their Assessment Reports “exhibit a one-sided reliance on general climate models, …but do not include all of the processes that can contribute to…compound extreme events, and abrupt and/or irreversible changes.”
The paper portrays what the year 2050 will look like if urgent action to build carbon-neutral energy systems around the world fails develop in the next 10 years.
While creating a far-reaching view of the impacts, the report breaks down the information by decades and by rise in temperature. The report goes into the effect of rising heat, lack of adequate water, lack of adequate food, and the inability of humans to survive long periods of lethal heat. The information suggests that coastal mega-cities (Mumbai, Manila, Hong Kong, Miami) would have to be abandoned due to rising water levels.
The analysis suggests that increasing civil disobedience over climate and environment issues already exists based on drought evidence in the mid-East and the onset of the protracted war in Syria.
The report has attracted headlines but the conclusions are at least partly supported by intelligence-gathering agencies in the US. Congressional testimony from two US government intelligence analysts on June 5 outlined a range of long-term threats arising from climate change: food and water shortages that lead to political turmoil and land disputes; melting ice in the Arctic that would lead to coastal flooding and/or other exploitation.
Rod Schoonover, a senior State Department analyst, told the House Intelligence Committee that no nation would be immune from the impacts; reportedly, Trump administration officials ordered the words "possibly catastrophic" erased from Schoonover's written statement.