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If we go BAU... 3.5 billion people will live in the Sahara Desert in 50 years

If human beings continue to emit greenhouse gases in the current trend, the environment with an average annual temperature of 29 degrees or higher, such as the black areas near the equator, is expected to expand to the shaded areas around 50 years later. It is estimated that by the year 2070, about 3.5 billion people will live in the area. (PNAS)

Studies have shown that if humanity fails to respond to climate change, one third of the world's population will live in the same temperature as the Sahara in 50 years. It is a gloomy observation that the temperature of the residence will exceed the annual average of 29 degrees Celsius.

A team of scientists from the United States, Europe, and China published a paper in the United States National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on the 5th, urging the international community to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For thousands of years, humans have lived in very narrow climatic zones, mostly between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius per year. Although natural conditions have been overcome through science and technology, humans are no exception to preference for environmentally compatible conditions for all species.

As a result of the team's analysis of changes in global temperature caused by climate change, if greenhouse gases continue to be emitted in the current trend, the average annual temperature in the region where one third of the world's population dwells will exceed 29 degrees Celsius in 50 years. . This climatic environment is similar to that in the Sahara Desert. The current temperature range of 0.8% of the total land is spread to 19% by spreading to northern Africa, northern South America, most of India and northern Australia. When the researchers looked at population growth without considering large-scale migration, it was estimated that by 2070, the population that would be placed in this environment would be 30%, or 3.5 billion.

A satellite image of the Bodele sinkhole south of the Sahara Desert, 500km long, 150km wide, and 160m deep, which was a lake that dried up 6000 years ago. Sand storms occur for 100 days a year. (NASA)

If the climate change continues, the research team analyzed that, after 50 years, the global temperature will increase by 3 degrees compared to before industrialization, but the increase that humans will experience will rise to 7.5 degrees, 2.3 times higher. This is because it is expected that not only the land on which humans mainly live will heat faster than the ocean, but also that population growth will be centered around high temperature areas.

"The coronavirus has brought about unpredictable changes just a few months ago," said Prof. Marton Schaefer of the University of Baheningen, who organized the study. He said, "Climate change can have similar consequences. The vast regions of the Earth will heat up to an uninhabitable level and temperatures will not fall again. The only way to stop this catastrophe is to reduce carbon emissions quickly."

The coronavirus's global pandemic is believed to have a positive effect on global warming. The World Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that in the recently released '2020 World Energy Review' report, global energy consumption will be reduced by 6% this year, and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 8%. This reduction in emissions may be greater if the corona crisis is prolonged, but there is concern that the economy will eventually recover and soar.


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