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The impacts of climate change are here with soaring temperatures, stronger hurricanes, intensified floods and a longer and more severe wildfire season. Scientists warn that ignoring climate change will yield “untold suffering” for humanity. But if things are going to get that much worse, could climate change make humans go extinct?
Scientists predict a range of devastating scenarios if climate change is not kept under control, but if we just consider the direct impacts, then there’s some good news; it’s unlikely to cause our extinction.
“There is no evidence of climate change scenarios that would render human beings extinct,” Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State and author of “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet” (PublicAffairs, 2021), told Live Science in an email.
However, it’s possible that climate change will still threaten the lives of hundreds of millions of people, such as by leading to food and water scarcity, which has the potential to trigger a societal collapse and set the stage for global conflict, research finds.