Another government report (the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) thinks there is a serious possibility that the climate could heat up more than 5 degrees Celsius (about 10 degrees Farhenheit) by the end of this century if our greenhouse emissions are not reduced.
The last time the world was that warm was between 35 and 55 million years ago, about ten million years after the dinosaurs became extinct. It was warm enough for alligators to live close to the North Pole.
What is worrisome is not that humans could not survive in a climate like this, but how many of us would not survive the transition from today’s climate. With only a 4 degree change, billions of people would be flooded out of the lands where we live now and where our food is grown. Deserts would expand and water shortages would multiply.
And so we would inevitably start fighting to the death not over oil but over things as basic as land to live on, water to drink, and food to eat.
Hard as it is, it looks like it would be a lot easier to cut down on our greenhouse emissions and at least slow down climate change, giving us time to adapt to having alligators prowling around northern Canada.