That humanity can adapt isn't really a myth. People can adapt. But humanity's adaptability doesn't mean people can ignore the demands to reduce greenhouse gases.
People can adapt to the impacts of climate change at the lower end of impacts. In other words, scientists know that the climate is changing because of human activity. But humanity doesn't know where the new concentrations of greenhouse gases will level off. What will be the new normal?
If the world can reduce greenhouse gases quickly enough, humanity could hold that new normal to 400 to 425 ppm. Many scientists are arguing that we must keep carbon at no more than 350 ppm. But if people adopt the "Who, me? Worry?" philosophy, the new greenhouse gas concentrations could level off at 550 ppm, 650 ppm, 700 ppm, or higher.
By 450 ppm, most scientists anticipate levels of climate crisis so severe that humanity won't be able to adapt. These predictions paint a picture of a very grim future. Humanity would have to deal with natural disasters, rising sea levels, and social and political disruption; millions of environmental refugees; and food shortages and famines. No one can adapt to that.
So, humanity needs to reduce emissions, but people also must adapt.
Was this article helpful?