In 27 years’ time, society as we know it will have collapsed. Food will be extremely limited. Lawlessness will have taken over the land. Gangs will roam the countryside scavenging for resources like food, water and fuel. This breakdown won’t be sudden. It will happen over a period of months. It might even have already begun.

This may sound like a cliché dystopian fantasy, but Bill McGuire, a professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London (UCL) and author of Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide, doesn’t think so. He is expecting, and preparing, for widespread riots by 2050. The riots will begin, he says, as they have throughout history, when we run out of food.

Corn from our planter (Image: T. Larkum)

Corn from our planter (Image: T. Larkum)

McGuire hasn’t always had such fatalistic thinking. As a professor he had remained hopeful throughout his career that politicians would be able to enact systemic solutions to the problem of global warming. But then came Glasgow COP26 in November 2021. For the entire conference, McGuire was enraged that policymakers appeared to be focusing their efforts on ways to keep global temperatures within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. “It was bloody obvious that wasn’t going to happen,” he says.

And he may be right. Researchers have since reported there is now a 66 per cent chance that Earth will surpass this warming threshold anytime between 2023 and 2027.

Read more: inews

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