The Coming Heat Age

In the last 100,000 years or so, our planet has endured an Ice Age and a few mini-ice ages. But now, with the earth on track to be four degrees Celsius warmer by 2100, a “Heat Age” is looming over us all.

BEIJING – In the last 100,000 years or so, our planet has endured an Ice Age and a few mini-ice ages. But now, with the earth on track to be four degrees Celsius warmer by 2100, a “Heat Age” is looming over us all.

This is not fear-mongering. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), by 2100 we can expect a mean increase in surface temperature of 3.7ºC, with a likely range of 2.6-4.8 degrees. A warmer world will lead to mass migration from stricken areas and exacerbate existing wealth gaps between countries. In the words of David Victor, of the University of California, San Diego, the coming Heat Age will be “nasty, brutish, and hot.”

Greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to reach a record high of 36 billion tons this year.That figure is expected to grow dramatically, as the great emerging-market boom of recent decades, which has lifted billions out of poverty and raised living standards around the world, puts increasing strain on the world’s environment and resources. Indeed, by 2030, three billion new middle-class consumers – most of them in Asia – will add to the ever-growing burden of emissions.

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