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Earth 2300

Kim Stanley Robinson’s fictional depiction of year-2140 New York City suffering from climate change is dramatic enough. Now comes Katarzyna Tokarska from the University of Victoria in Canada with a non-fictional glimpse of 2300 that is much scarier.

In a world 10 degrees Celsius hotter from burning all the fossil fuels we could extract from the ground, Tokarska’s research shows Arctic temperatures would surge by as much as 20 degrees. Rainfall would decrease by two-thirds the current levels in some parts of the world. Flooding and drought would lead to severe food security and health consequences and inhabitability of many parts of the world.

The “warning message” about the ultimate magnitude of climate change is meant to spur action to fulfill and go beyond the Paris climate agreement. “So far there hasn’t been any action,” Tokarska said in an interview. “I think it is really important to know what would happen if we don’t take any action to mitigate climate change.”

Projections 280 years in the future may as well be fiction in terms of spurring action, however. Present-day impacts of fossil fuel use are what is driving movement on the low-carbon transition.

Pollution in cities in India and China is driving demand for clean tech, particularly for transport (see above, and here.) To accelerate global money flows into cleaner, renewable options, insurers and investors recently called for an end to fossil-fuel subsidies by 2020.

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