Climate change could have wiped out alien civilizations and may be on the way to wipe out mankind, too, a new study has suggested. Using simulations based on information about the fate of now extinct civilizations such as that of the Easter Island, the team, led by astrophysics professor Adam Frank, found that it may well be the case that climate change compromises the sustainability of any civilization.
The authors developed four scenarios based on mathematical models, all but one suggesting climate change wipes out civilizations unless it is reined in.
Under the first scenario, tellingly named “Die-Off”, the rise in global temperatures is mirrored by a decline in global population. Under the “Collapse without resource change” scenario, a sharp increase in temperature followed by a plateau would lead to an equally sharp drop in the global population, ending with extinction as the temperature plateaus at much higher levels.
The third scenario factors in a change in resources, which would make for a slightly more gradual demise of the population and considerably higher temperatures before the demise happens. Change in resources here refers to what mankind is doing right now: switching from what the authors of the study call high-impact resources to low-impact resources. Related: Iran: Oil Prices Could Jump To $140 On U.S. Sanctions
The only scenario that provides some hope for the Earth is sustainability: both population and global temperatures rise to a certain point and then plateau. This could happen if the population wakes up to the fact that it is damaging its chances of longer-term survival and switches from high-impact to low-impact resources early enough.
Unfortunately, according to the study, it remains unclear whether the earth is still in the early stages of change, or whether we have already gone too far to fix things. As Frank put it, “If you change the earth’s climate enough, you might not be able to change it back. Even if you backed off and started to use solar or other less impactful resources, it could be too late, because the planet has already been changing. These models show we can’t just think about a population evolving on its own. We have to think about our planets and civilizations co-evolving.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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