What Will the World Look Like in the 2020s?

If our emissions continue to increase at the current rate, the 2020s will likely include a desert land expansion equivalent to two times the size of India, huge droughts through-out much of the United States and the demise of the North Pole.

2024 – Over 120,000 People Left to Die

Extreme heatwaves have resulted in some 120,000 deaths.1 France has been most affected, where some 40,000 people have lost their lives.2 Doctors blame the deaths on a combination of extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in European buildings.3 They explain that the human body is usually capable of dealing with extreme heat as long as it has sufficient time to recover.4 However, with many buildings unable to cool down sufficiently overnight,5 body temperatures have continued to rise. This has led to the body temperatures of many Europeans rising to more than 41.5°C, at which point widespread damage occurs to vital organs, including the brain, unless immediate medical attention is obtained.6 Worryingly, the Global Health Organisation warns that body temperatures exceeding 41.5°C are going to become commonplace over the course of the next two decades.7 Furthermore, the organisation states that we should expect the number of lives lost to increase from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands by the end of the century if human-made emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase.8
A Makeshift Paris Hospital Treats an Influx of Heatstroke Victims

2025 – Carbon Emissions Rise by 40%

In a statement today, the UN announced that human-made greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 41% since the turn of the century.9 This means that humans are responsible for pumping the equivalent of 52.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.10 This has resulted in the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere rising to a record high of 455 ppm.11
Scientists Discuss the Impacts of Rising Global Temperatures

2026 – Half the World’s Coral Declared Dead

Scientists have released a report revealing that more than 50% of the world's coral has now died.12 They go on to explain the consequences of this, as, despite occupying only a tiny fraction of the ocean's surface, coral reefs are home to around a quarter of all marine species.13 Scientists explain that the coral losses are the result of sea temperatures rising above 30°C, at which point the water becomes too hot for the coral to survive.14 The report adds, even if we stop all emissions now, further rises in sea temperatures are now unavoidable leading to the loss of nearly all the ocean's coral by as early as 2045.15
The Dead Coral Found in the Great Barrier Reef Was Once Home to More Than 1,500 Species of Fish

2027 – Dust Storms Ravage the States

The USA is in a state of emergency as vast swathes of the country are left devastated by the biggest drought in nearly 1,000 years.16 Monstrous dust storms span from Florida to Dakota, with water shortages now gripping 80% of the nation.17 Over seven states have been struck so far, with fifteen more expected by 2050.18 Government scientists report that the last comparable event occurred in the middle ages when freak heatwaves left nearly half of America beneath the sands.19 Sadly, if temperatures continue to rise, it is only a matter of time before many states become completely uninhabitable.20 Emergency food imports have been organised as crop production has been decimated.21 In total, some 5.5 million people have been forced to relocate with more than 33 million expected to relocate by the middle of the century.22 Additionally, agricultural losses alone are expected to top $2 trillion by 2050, bringing even more damage to the now fragile American economy.23
A Monstrous Dust Storm Roars Through Austin, Texas

2028 – The End of the North Pole

One of the Last Sightings of a Polar Bear in the Wild
Climate change is now undeniably confirmed as the North Pole has become ice-free for the first time in more than 100,000 years.24 Only thirty years ago, as much as seven million square kilometres of the North Pole was covered in ice.25 Now, all that can be seen are thousands of kilometres of open ocean. Scientists explain that the rapid melting of the ice was inevitable once pockets of the ocean became exposed to the sun's light.26 This is because ice absorbs around 40% of the sunlight that strikes its surface, whereas seawater absorbs some 94%.27 As a result, the temperatures in the Arctic have risen roughly twice the average rate.28 This has led to unprecedented rates of arctic melting with as much as 400,000 square kilometres disappearing in a single season.29 Unfortunately, such rapid melting has proved to be too much for polar bears which are now doomed to extinction.30 The loss of sea ice has also provided access to even more fossil fuels,31 which if used, will further increase the rate at which the planet warms. Scientists gloomily state that the melting of the ice cap marks the beginning of a new era for humankind – the era of climate change.

2029 – The Deserts Are Growing

The planet is drying up as the world's deserts continue to expand.32 Scientists estimate that an additional six million square kilometres have emerged within the past decade alone.33 That is an area roughly twice the size of India.34 This is just the beginning though, with the world's desert area predicted to cover some 40 million square kilometres by the end of the century.35 That is an increase of 15 million square kilometres.36 Worst hit is Africa where some 500 million people are already suffering from chronic malnutrition.37
The Once Fertile Lands of Tunisia38

Climate Change in the 2030s

The damage caused by climate change does not stop with our expanding deserts. Find out what disasters our greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause in the next decade by selecting the link below. Alternatively, find out how we can stop climate change by returning to the main menu.

Image Credits

Title image created by SUPER RADICAL LTD. Amazon underlay taken by top10top and reproduced under license from Adobe Stock. Fire overlay taken by norinori303 and reproduced under license from Adobe Stock. Burnt land overlay taken by Vladimir Melnikov and reproduced under license from Adobe Stock.

Image of Paris hospital created by SUPER RADICAL LTD. Image base sourced from ‘Prison Crowded’ taken by the California Public Records Act and released into the public domain. Special thanks to Alejandro Zorita for his assistance creating the image.

Image of scientists discussing impacts of rising global temperatures taken by Antonio Zugaldia, released on Flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0. Minor modifications undertaken by SUPER RADICAL LTD.

Image of dead coral taken by Rich Carey and reproduced under license from Shutterstock. Minor modifications undertaken by SUPER RADICAL LTD.

Image of dust storm created by SUPER RADICAL LTD. Dust storm underlay sourced from ‘Dust Storm’ taken by Sydney Oats, released on Flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0. City overlay sourced from ‘UT Tower’ taken by Earl McGehee, released on Flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.

Image of polar bear created by SUPER RADICAL LTD. Icebergs and polar bear overlay sourced from ‘Polar Bear on Ice’ taken by Anette Holmberg and reproduced under license from Shutterstock. Sea underlay sourced from ‘Surface of the Calm, Summer Sea’ taken by Aleksandr Simonov and reproduced under license from Adobe Stock.

Image of desert taken by Tomasz Zajda and reproduced under license from Adobe Stock. Minor modifications undertaken by SUPER RADICAL LTD.

General Notes

Barrels of oil equivalent is based on 1628.2 kWh of energy being contained within each barrel. Data sourced from Unit Juggler – 'Converter: Barrel of Oil Equivalent to Kilowatt-Hour' – unitjuggler.com.

The volume of one tonne of carbon dioxide is equivalent to 556.2 cubic metres. Sourced from International Carbon Bank and Exchange – 'CO2 Volume Calculation' – www.icbe.com.

For further information about any of the sources listed, please visit the ZERO EMISSION WORLD Works Cited page.

Article Endnotes

  1. Based on the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by Europe that resulted in around 70,000 lives being lost becoming commonplace come 2040 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate. 2003 heatwaves becoming commonplace sourced from Stott, Stone and Allen – 'Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003' (Dec 2004) – Page 613. Number of lives lost during the 2003 summer heatwaves sourced from Guha-Sapir, Below, and Hoyois – 'EM-DAT: The CRED/OFDA International Disaster Database' – www.emdat.be.
  2. Based on the estimated 20,000 heat-related deaths that occurred during the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by France. Sourced from Guha-Sapir, Below, and Hoyois – 'EM-DAT: The CRED/OFDA International Disaster Database' – www.emdat.be.
  3. Based on extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in buildings being the primary cause of death for the majority of people who lost their lives during the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by France. Sourced from Ogg, Jim – 'Heatwave: Implications of the 2003 French Heat Wave for the Social Care of Older People' – Page 7.
  4. Beniston, Martin and Diaz, Henry F. – 'The 2003 Heat Wave as an Example of Summers in a Greenhouse Climate? Observations and Climate Model Simulations for Basel, Switzerland' – Page 77.
  5. Based on extreme temperatures and a lack of ventilation in buildings being the primary cause of death for the majority of people who lost their lives during the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by France. Sourced from Ogg, Jim – 'Heatwave: Implications of the 2003 French Heat Wave for the Social Care of Older People' – Page 7.
  6. Patient – 'Heat-Related Illness' – www.patient.info.
  7. Based on the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by Europe that resulted in around 70,000 lives being lost becoming commonplace come 2040 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate. Sourced from Stott, Stone and Allen – 'Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003' (Dec 2004) – Page 613.
  8. Based on the 2003 summer heatwaves experienced by Europe that resulted in around 70,000 deaths being considered an extremely cold event by the end of the century if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Heatwave intensity increase sourced from Christidis et al. – 'Dramatically Increasing Chance of Extremely Hot Summers Since the 2003 European Heatwave' – Pages 46 to 50. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – 'Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model' – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – 'Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback' – Pages 719 to 721.
  9. Based on human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2000, human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 47.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2012, human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 49.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015 and human-made greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase at the current rate. Emissions sourced from Crippa et al. – 'Fossil CO2 and GHG Emissions of All World Countries - 2019 Report' – Database.
  10. Based on human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 47.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2012 and some 49.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015. Emissions sourced from Crippa et al. – 'Fossil CO2 and GHG Emissions of All World Countries - 2019 Report' – Database.
  11. Based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5, including all forcing agents, and sourced from RCP Data Comparison – 'RCP Database' – www.iiasa.ac.at.
  12. Based on less than 10% of the world's coral reefs being preserved if average global temperatures rise 1.5°C more than pre-industrial levels and average global temperatures likely rising by 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels come 2030 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate. Coral presence sourced from Frieler et al. – 'Limiting Global Warming to 2°C is Unlikely to Save Most Coral Reefs' – Pages 165 to 170. Projected temperature rise based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – 'Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report' – Pages 10 to 11.
  13. Number of species that the coral reefs are home to sourced from World Wild Fund for Nature – 'Coral Reefs' – wwf.panda.org.
  14. Short, Andrew and Woodroffe, Colin – 'The Coast of Australia' – Page 210.
  15. Based on coral reefs no longer being prominent within coastal ecosystems if average global temperatures rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, temperatures likely already rising 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels come 2030 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate and the earth being committed to a further rise of 0.6°C even if we stop all emissions. Coral presence sourced from Frieler et al. – 'Limiting Global Warming to 2°C is Unlikely to Save Most Coral Reefs' – Pages 165 to 170. Projected temperature rise based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – 'Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report' – Pages 10 to 11. Further rise of 0.6°C sourced from Hansen et al. – 'Earth's Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications' – Pages 1,431 to 1,435.
  16. Based on the risk of decade-long droughts increasing from around 5% between 1950 and 2000 to more than 80% between 2050 and 2100 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the current rate. Sourced from Cook, Ault, and Smerdon – 'Unprecedented 21st Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains' – Pages 1 to 7.
  17. Dust storms based on those experienced in 1930 and sourced from Mattice, W. A. – 'Dust Storms, November 1933 to May 1934' – Pages 53 to 55. Water shortages based on 40 of the 50 state water managers in the United States expecting water shortages between 2014 and 2024. Sourced from United States Government Accountability Office – 'Freshwater: Supply Concerns Continue, and Uncertainties Complicate Planning' – Page 28.
  18. States consumed based on those experiencing severe (-3) drought between 1999 and 2008 according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index. States likely to be consumed based on those experiencing mild (-1) to severe (-3) drought between 1146 and 1155 according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index. Sourced from Woodhouse et al. – 'A 1,200-Year Perspective of 21st Century Drought in Southwestern North America' – Page 21,286.
  19. Based on the droughts experienced by North America in the medieval era being more persistent than any other historical drought event. Sourced from Cook, Ault, and Smerdon – 'Unprecedented 21st Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains' – Pages 1 to 7.
  20. Based on water supplies and crop production not being able to meet demand under drought conditions in some states and the risk of decade-long droughts increasing from around 5% between 1950 and 2000 to more than 80% between 2050 and 2100 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Lack of water based on non-renewable groundwater reservoirs currently being utilised to mitigate the impacts of drought and this water resource running dry as a result of increased drought length. Lack of crop production based on yields falling by more than 50% for the states of Arkansas and Missouri as a result of the droughts experienced in 2012 and yield losses increasing as a result of increased drought length. Water supplies and increased risk of decade-long droughts sourced from Cook, Ault, and Smerdon – 'Unprecedented 21st Century Drought Risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains' – Pages 1 to 7. Crop losses in 2012 sourced from United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service – 'Crop Production: 2014 Summary' – Page 10. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – 'Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model' – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – 'Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback' – Pages 719 to 721.
  21. Requirement for emergency food based on corn production within the United States falling by 28% as a result of the droughts experienced in 2012. Figure calculated from yields of 123.1 bushels per acre in 2012 and 171 bushels per acre in 2014. Sourced from United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service – 'Crop Production Historical Track Records, April 2015' – Page 31.
  22. 2027 relocations a loose estimate based on around 25% of the population of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Nebraska and Kansas relocating. Mid-century relocations a loose estimate based around 25% of the population of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota relocating. 2027 states selected based on the states that experienced severe (-3) drought between 1999 and 2008 according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index. Mid-century states selected based on the states that experienced mild (-1) to severe (-3) drought between 1146 and 1155 according to the Palmer Drought Severity Index. Historical drought data sourced from Woodhouse et al. – 'A 1,200-Year Perspective of 21st Century Drought in Southwestern North America' – Page 21,286. State populations based on 2015 data and sourced from the United States Census Bureau – 'Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States' – Table 1.
  23. A loose figure based on an estimated 45% reduction in crop production for some 25 years and crop production contributing $177.2 billion to the USA's gross domestic product. Contribution to gross domestic product based on 2014 data sourced from United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service – 'Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy' – www.ers.usda.gov.
  24. State of the North Pole based on studies that indicate it will reach near ice-free conditions come 2040 even if human-made greenhouse gas emissions do not increase. Sourced from Holland, Bitz, and Tremblay – 'Future Abrupt Reductions in the Summer Arctic Sea Ice' – Pages 1 to 5. Last time the North Pole was ice-free based on four potential timeframes and 125,000 years ago being the most likely of these timeframes. Sourced from interview quotes by Leonid Polyak from the Byrd Polar Research Center. Documented in Romm, Joseph – 'Major Analysis Finds 'Less Ice Covers the Arctic Today Than at Any Time in Recent Geologic History'' – thinkprogress.org.
  25. Based on average arctic sea ice levels in September between 1981 to 2010. Sourced from National Snow and Ice Data Center – 'Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis' – nsidc.org.
  26. Based on existing ice analysis and sourced from Holland, Bitz, and Tremblay – 'Future Abrupt Reductions in the Summer Arctic Sea Ice' – Pages 1 to 5.
  27. National Snow and Ice Data Center – 'Thermodynamics: Albedo' – nsidc.org.
  28. Based on average arctic temperatures rising at almost twice the global average rate between 1906 and 2005. Sourced from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – 'Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report' – Page 30.
  29. Based on ice coverage likely reducing from approximately six million square kilometres to two million square kilometres over a ten-year period even if human-made greenhouse gas emissions do not increase. Sourced from Holland, Bitz, and Tremblay – 'Future Abrupt Reductions in the Summer Arctic Sea Ice' – Pages 2.
  30. Based on it being unlikely that polar bears will survive as a species if the sea ice disappears completely. Sourced from Derocher, Lunn, and Stirling – 'Polar Bears in a Warming Climate' – Pages 163 to 176.
  31. Access to more fossil fuels based on 30% of the world's undiscovered gas and 13% of the world's undiscovered oil likely being north of the Arctic Circle. Sourced from Gautier et al. – 'Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas in the Arctic' – Pages 1,175 to 1,179. Increase in the rate at which the planet warms based on more sunlight being absorbed by the earth's surface due to reduced ice coverage. Sourced from Francis, Jennifer – 'Linking Weird Weather to Rapid Warming of the Arctic' – e360.yale.edu.
  32. Based on the extent of land covered by deserts likely increasing from around 28 million square kilometres in 2000 to around 35 million square kilometres if atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent exceed 850 ppm and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent likely exceeding 1,000 ppm by the end of the century if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Desert expansion sourced from Zeng, Ning and Yoon, Jinho – 'Expansion of the World's Deserts Due to Vegetation-Albedo Feedback Under Global Warming' – Pages 1 to 5. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – 'Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model' – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – 'Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback' – Pages 719 to 721.
  33. Desert expansion based on projected increases in the extent of desert land between 2000 and 2050 if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase by 80% between 2000 and 2050 and human-made greenhouse gas emissions likely increasing by 67% between 2000 and 2050 if they continue to increase at the current rate. Projected desert expansion sourced from Zeng, Ning and Yoon, Jinho – 'Expansion of the World's Deserts Due to Vegetation-Albedo Feedback Under Global Warming' – Figure 1. Greenhouse gas emission increase based on human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2000, human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 47.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2012 and human-made greenhouse gas emissions being some 49.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015. Emissions sourced from Crippa et al. – 'Fossil CO2 and GHG Emissions of All World Countries - 2019 Report' – Database.
  34. Based on India having a total land area of 2,973,190 square kilometres. Sourced from The World Bank – 'Land Area (SQ. KM)' – data.worldbank.org.
  35. Based on projected increases in the extent of desert land between 2000 and 2100 if atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent exceed 850 ppm and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent likely exceeding 1,000 ppm by the end of the century if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Desert expansion sourced from Zeng, Ning and Yoon, Jinho – 'Expansion of the World's Deserts Due to Vegetation-Albedo Feedback Under Global Warming' – Pages 1 to 5. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – 'Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model' – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – 'Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback' – Pages 719 to 721.
  36. Based on projected increases in the extent of desert land between 2000 and 2100 if atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent exceed 850 ppm and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent likely exceeding 1,000 ppm by the end of the century if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Desert expansion sourced from Zeng, Ning and Yoon, Jinho – 'Expansion of the World's Deserts Due to Vegetation-Albedo Feedback Under Global Warming' – Pages 1 to 5. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – 'Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model' – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – 'Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback' – Pages 719 to 721.
  37. Africa being worst hit based on the majority of land projected to change from non-desert to desert being located in Africa. Sourced from Zeng, Ning and Yoon, Jinho – 'Expansion of the World's Deserts Due to Vegetation-Albedo Feedback Under Global Warming' – Figure 2. Number of Africans suffering from chronic malnutrition loosely based on 232 million Africans currently suffering from chronic malnutrition and Africa's population expanding from 1.19 billion people in 2010 to 1.68 billion in 2030. Number of Africans currently suffering from chronic malnutrition based on 2014 data and sourced from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – 'State of Food Insecurity in the World in Brief' – Page 8. Population increase sourced from United Nations – 'World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables' – Page 1.
  38. Based on map data showing areas of land projected to change from non-desert to desert by 2070 to 2099 even if atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent exceed 850 ppm and atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide equivalent likely exceeding 1,000 ppm by the end of the century if human-made greenhouse gas emissions increase at the current rate until 2060 and stop by 2070. Projection assumes human-made emissions result in the terrestrial biosphere and thawing permafrost soil releasing a further 351 ppm of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere by 2100. Desert expansion sourced from Zeng, Ning and Yoon, Jinho – ‘Expansion of the World’s Deserts Due to Vegetation-Albedo Feedback Under Global Warming’ – Pages 1 to 5. Terrestrial biosphere emissions sourced from Cox et al. – ‘Acceleration of Global Warming Due to Carbon-Cycle Feedbacks in a Coupled Climate Model’ – Pages 184 to 187. Thawing permafrost emissions based on Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and sourced from MacDougall et al. – ‘Significant Contribution to Climate Warming from the Permafrost Carbon Feedback’ – Pages 719 to 721.

The damage caused by climate change does not stop here. Find out what disasters our greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause in the next decade by clicking the link below. Alternatively, find out how we can stop climate change by returning to the main menu.

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