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Scripps Study: There’s A Chance Climate Change Can Wipe Out Humans By 2050

Credit: Pontifical Academy of Sciences

Above: "Ram" Ramanathan meets Pope Francis during a Vatican meeting on climate change, May 2014.

Scripps Study: There's A Chance Climate Change Can Wipe Out Humans By 2050

GUEST:

Veerabhadran "Ram" Ramanathan, professor of atmospheric and climate sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Transcript

Climate scientists have worked for years to calculate how a warmer atmosphere might impact human life on Earth.

Now scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have published new calculations that find a small potential for global warming of such significance, it could wipe out life on Earth.

The paper, published Thursday says, there is a one in 20 chance of catastrophic change by 2050, which would mean most people would have problems adapting to the change in climate. There is a smaller chance of an existential change, meaning it would wipe out humanity.

“When we say 5 percent-probability high-impact event, people may dismiss it as small but it is equivalent to a one-in-20 chance the plane you are about to board will crash,” Veerabhadran Ramanathan, lead study author and a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps said in a press release. “We would never get on that plane with a one-in-20 chance of it coming down but we are willing to send our children and grandchildren on that plane.”

RELATED: How A San Diego Scientist Helped Shape The Pope’s Climate Change Plans

The publication coincides with the start of Climate Week NYC which begins Monday in New York. Ramanathan and colleagues will outline the “three-lever” mitigation strategy of emissions control and carbon sequestration on Monday at the United Nations.

On Friday's Midday Edition Ramanathan will discuss his findings.

Editor's note: This story previously misidentified the study data indicating the likelihood that climate change would wipe out life on earth.

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