The year is 2100 and the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere now exceeds 1,000 ppm. As a result, average global temperatures have now risen by more than 4°C, and sea levels have risen by more than 1.5 metres. The consequences of this have been devastating.
In Africa alone, more than two billion people have lost their lives as extreme drought decimates both crop growth and water supplies. Across Asia, a massive increase in the amount of rainfall has led to unprecedented levels of flooding. This includes China where some 400 million people are now affected every year. In India, extreme drought and intense monsoon rainfall have decimated the country's cropland resulting in half the population losing their lives. In Bangladesh, some 22% of the country now sits beneath the ocean with a further 80% continuing to be flooded each year. This has rendered some 65 million people homeless, many of whom will soon lose their lives due to a combination of malnutrition, infection or dehydration. Within the Pacific, the island nations of Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives have all been consumed by rising sea levels. In Australia, chronic water shortages, famine and forest fires now plague the nation with government officials stating the country may become entirely uninhabitable by as early as the middle of the century. Similarly, in the USA, the central states are now plagued by extreme droughts, dust storms, water shortages and famine. This has resulted in some 66 million people being forced to relocate to coastal cities. In South America, some two-thirds of the Amazon has burnt to the ground leading to the extinction of some 32,000 different species of life and the release of a further 250 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Across in Europe, an average of three tropical storms now make landfall every year, each causing more than $100 billion in damage and taking the lives of some 2,000 people. On top of this, occurrences of extreme summer heatwaves have increased ten-fold in southern Europe with each one taking an average of 100,000 lives. Around the globe, extreme temperatures have rendered many of the world's most famous cities near-uninhabitable during the summer months. This includes New York, Chicago, Washington, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo. The intensity of tropical cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons have all increased, resulting in an estimated 20,000 people losing their lives each year in addition to some $800 billion of damage. On top of all of this, occurrences of both the Great El Niño and the Great La Niña have doubled over the course of the century. This has devastated the already fragile nations of Ethiopia, Malawi, Papa New Guinea, Peru, Kenya and Somalia who have little facility left to deal with such extreme events.
In total, some four billion people have now lost their lives to climate change, a further 1.4 billion are suffering from chronic water scarcity, five billion people are suffering from chronic malnutrition, and a further 95 million have been forced to relocate as rising sea levels consume their homes. Moreover, the loss of life has not been restricted to humankind. Tragically, one in three of all species on the planet has gone extinct, all the world's coral has now been pronounced dead, vast swathes of forest have burnt to the ground, and the entire ocean is now effectively dead with no life forms to be seen for thousands of miles.
Heartbreakingly, scientists state this is just the beginning. Thawing permafrost soil, forest fires and vegetation feedback will all result in massive quantities of additional greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. On top of this, the loss of much of the world's plant life means there is very little left to absorb all the greenhouse gases produced. As a result, temperatures are set to rise at least a further 2°C over the next century even if human-made carbon emissions stopped immediately. When this is coupled with locked in sea-level rises of some 20 metres, scientists state that humans, and all other life for that matter, have a bleak future ahead of them.