In the past week, the world has experienced chaotic weather phenomena, from deathly Indian heatwaves to snow inundating parts of Queensland. Now, the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Change has issued a report predicting the end of human civilisation as we know it.
The report, terrifyingly entitled Existential climate-related security risk, glimpses 30 years into the future to the year 2050 — and the results are grim.
Authors David Spratt, a researcher into climate change, and Ian Dunlop, former chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chair of the Australian Greenhouse Office Experts Group on Emissions Trading, propose a scenario in which global emissions and climate threats are ignored, and the trajectory of environmental collapse goes unchecked.
Their conclusions spell out a dire warning.
Using climate data, Spratt and Dunlop claim the Earth can expect at least a 3C rise in temperatures, which would trigger global decay and destruction of crucial ecosystems, including the Arctic, Amazon rainforests and coral reefs.
"More than a billion people may need to be relocated, and in high-end scenarios, the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model, with a high likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end," Spratt and Dunlop warn.
By 2050, total ecological collapse would give way to massive social consequences ranging from "increased religious fervour to outright chaos".
The report suggests the catastrophic chain of environmental disasters will climax with widespread pandemics, forced migration from inhabitable locations and a likely nuclear war due to skirmishing for limited resources.
"Planetary and human systems (reach) a 'point of no return' by mid-century in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order," the report predicts.
Spratt and Dunlop sum up our disastrous fate with a harrowing thought: "Climate change now represents a near-to-mid-term existential threat to human civilisation."
The 2050 scenario analysis was heavily supported by former chief of the Australian Defence Force and Deputy Chief of the Australian Navy, Chris Barrie, who now works for the Climate Change Institute in Canberra. In the report's foreword, Mr Barrie praised the research for expounding the threats to humankind.
"David Spratt and Ian Dunlop have laid bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction in the most horrible way," Barrie writes.
The report goes on to analyse each decade, predicting humankind's downfall on the way to an apocalyptic future.
According to the report, by 2030, policymakers will have failed to act in time to prevent growing greenhouse gas emissions. The current Paris Agreement path indicates failure to build a zero-emission economy that begins accelerated global warming to unprecedented temperatures.
By 2050, sea levels will have risen by 0.5 metres, and 55 per cent of the global population will be subjected to lethal heat conditions for more than 20 days each year. Weather extremes will amplify, including increases in wildfires, heatwaves, drought and the aridification of "more than 30 per cent of the world's land surface".
The reality could, however, be catastrophically worse; Spratt and Dunlop suggest the 2050 scenario is "far from an extreme scenario".