Measures are being taken around the world to combat global warming. This is more than necessary if we are to keep our planet livable by 2050, according to the book “The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis.” The book paints a picture of what the future could look like if we did nothing against global warming.
The book, written by Christiana Figueres and Tom Revit-Carnac, among others, describes a bleak future in which we must constantly pay attention to what is happening outside. Indeed, according to the authors, in the most pessimistic situation it would be dangerous to open your window without checking the air quality outside. A mouth mask will also be a must when we leave our house. In the worst case, a high-tech mask will be required.
According to the book, temperatures in certain areas can reach 60 degrees for one month a year. Moreover, free water will not be intuitive anymore. The authors do not exclude that you will have to pay for water in public toilets in the future.
They also expect global warming to affect people’s mental health. “People feel the stress of living in a world in which they feel compelled to face one obstacle after another,” the authors say.
Fortunately, such a world can be avoided. The situation above is a representation of what the world would look like if we did nothing to combat global warming.
In an interview with CNBC Peter Smith, professor of soil and land-system change at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, acknowledges the need for action, but remains skeptical of the agony the book depicts.
“Air pollution and emissions that cause climate change go hand in hand, so taking less action against climate change will lead to poor air quality,” he explains. “It is doubtful whether people will have to wear masks by 2050.” Moreover, according to the professor, water can still be provided for free in 2050.
Measures against global warming
According to Michael E. Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania, a situation like the one described in the book is not impossible. “At least in the worst-case scenario where we as a civilization refuse to take meaningful action on climate change,” Mann said. “I think it’s unlikely because we are already working hard to tackle global warming, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.” For example, many international agreements have already been concluded, such as the Paris Agreement.
In order to avoid such a sinister situation, according to the book’s authors, we need to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half per decade. “If we can rapidly de-carbonize our economy (…) to nearly zero by mid-century, then we can maintain a livable planet and a vibrant economy,” said Mann. Figueres and Revit Carnac write that in the future, city streets will see more trees and fewer cars, and Americans will be able to travel on high-speed electric railroad tracks.
The authors even dare to state that in one of the positive scenarios, eating meat would be completely out of the question. The book says: “In such a future, children may be surprised that we have ever eaten meat.”