According to a highly alarming report published by an Australian think-tank, civilization could come to a shuddering halt as early as 2050 – and it seems we humans are to blame. The report Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach outlines dire possible outcomes for Earth unless humanity acts quickly.
David Spratt and Ian Dunlop wrote the report, which was released in May 2019. Spratt is the research director for the report’s publisher, the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration. Dunlop, a former coal, oil and gas industry executive, chairs the Australian Coal Association. He’s also the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ chief executive. Dunlop is a mechanical sciences graduate of Britain’s Cambridge University. Neither author is a climate scientist.
The report is introduced by Chris Barrie, a retired Royal Australian Navy admiral who served as his nation’s Defense Force Chief. In his foreword Barrie writes that, “…after nuclear war, human-induced global warming is the greatest threat to human life on the planet.” Barrie goes on to declare that, “human life on earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way.”
In their report, Spratt and Dunlop assert that even if emissions peak in 2030, temperatures could soar to more than 5°F above pre-industrial levels by 2050. The consequences of this increased heat could be, “a high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end.” The only way to avoid this grim scenario is, “to build a zero-emissions industrial system and draw down carbon to protect human civilization.”
However, some eminent climate scientists are skeptical when it comes to Dunlop and Pratt’s conclusions. The renowned Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael E. Mann, for example, expressed his doubts to New Scientist magazine. “I respect the authors and appreciate that their intentions are good,” Mann said in June 2019. “But as I have written before, overblown rhetoric, exaggeration, and unsupportable doomist framing can be counteractive to climate action.”