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Home » What 2050 could look like if we don’t do anything about climate change: Hot, a constant cough, regular mask-wearing

What 2050 could look like if we don’t do anything about climate change: Hot, a constant cough, regular mask-wearing

What 2050 could look like if we don’t do anything about climate change: Hot, a constant cough, regular mask-wearing

It’s 2050.

A climate change worst case scenario has come to pass.

The air is polluted, making you cough. You have to check the air quality before even opening a window. When you do go outside, your eyes water and you have to wear a mask — on bad days, a high tech mask, that is if you can afford it.

Depending where you live, the temperature can be as hot as 140 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a month each year. In public restrooms, you have to pay to use water.

And there’s a mental toll to living in a world that feels like a dangerous obstacle course. People feel bottomless despair and resent previous generations for their lack of action.

This worst case scenario is what life could look like if no progress is made in slowing greenhouse gasses to mitigate climate change, according to Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac in their 2020 book, “The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis.”

Staring down two futures

Figueres and Rivett-Carnac, two key architects of the Paris climate agreement, describe a particularly extreme future.

And there is debate among experts as to whether it would be that dire.

For instance, some elements could be more likely than others, says Peter Smith, professor of soils and global change at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

“Air pollution and emissions that cause climate change go hand in hand, so less action on climate change will mean poorer air quality,” says Smith. “Whether it gets as bad as people having to wear masks by 2050 is debatable, [and] it should be possible to provide clean water without climate action.”

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