A Sign of the Apocalypse? 2022 sees floods, heat waves, danger of nuclear war

A Sign of the Apocalypse?  2022 sees floods, heat waves, danger of nuclear war

Climate change could have spillover effects on food, causing hunger and political instability.


For thousands of years, doomsday predictions have come and gone. But with the increased dangers from nuclear war and climate change, does the planet need to at least begin to anticipate the worst?
When the world rings in 2022, few expect that year will have the US president talking about the danger of apocalypse, after Russia threatened to use nuclear weapons in its invasion of Ukraine.

“We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis” in 1962, Joe Biden said in October.

And in the year that humanity welcomed its eight billionth member, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the planet was on a “highway to climate hell”.

In the extremes attributed to climate change, floods have engulfed a third of Pakistan, China sweats under an unprecedented 70-day heatwave and crops fail in the Horn of Africa. — all while the world fell behind the UN-blessed goal of control. warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The greatest danger of nuclear war?

The Global Challenge, a Swedish group that assesses catastrophic risks, has warned in an annual report that the threat to use nuclear weapons is the greatest since 1945 when the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the only atomic attacks in history.

The report warned that a full-blown nuclear arms exchange, besides causing enormous loss of life, would create dust clouds that obscure the sun, reduce crop capacity and open up “a time of turmoil and violence, during which most of the world’s population that survives will die of hunger.”

Kennette Benedict, a lecturer at the University of Chicago who led the nuclear section of the report, said the risks were even greater in the Cuban Missile Crisis as Russian President Vladimir Putin showed less restraint than before. advisors.

While any Russian nuclear attack is likely to involve small “tactical” weapons, experts fear a rapid escalation if the United States responds.

“We’re in a completely different ball game then,” said Benedict, a senior adviser at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, who will publish his latest review of the “clock in January.” doomsday” is set from 2021 at 100 seconds to midnight.

Amid the focus on Ukraine, U.S. intelligence believing North Korea is ready for a seventh nuclear test, Biden effectively declared dead an agreement on North Korea’s controversial nuclear work. Iran and tensions between India and Pakistan remain low.

Benedict is also guilty of reviewing the Biden administration’s nuclear posture, which grants the United States the right to use nuclear weapons in “extreme cases.”

“I think there has been a gradual erosion of the ability to manage nuclear weapons,” she said.

Graphing worst-case climate risks

UN experts estimated ahead of the November talks in Egypt that the world was on track to warm between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius — but some outside analysts put it figures are much higher, with greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 once again hitting record levels despite the push to use renewable energy.

Luke Kemp, an expert on existential risks at the University of Cambridge, said the possibility of more global warming was not attracting enough attention, which he attributed to the Council’s consensus culture. United Nations climate change government and scientists’ fear of being seen as an alarmist.

“There was a strong incentive to err on the least dramatic side,” he said.

“What we really need are more sophisticated assessments of how much of a risk is going to be around the world.”

Climate change could have spillover effects on food, with many wheat granaries failing, causing famine and ultimately political instability and conflict.

Kemp cautions against extrapolating from a year or an event. But a research paper he co-authored noted that even a two-degree increase in temperature would send Earth into uncharted territory since the Ice Age.

Using a medium-high scenario for emissions and population growth, it found that two billion people by 2070 could live in areas with an average temperature of 29 C (84.2 F), depleting water — including between India and Pakistan.

Optimistic cases

However, that year was not all grim. While China ended the year with an increased number of Covid-19 deaths, vaccination has helped much of the world turn the page on the virus, which the World Health Organization estimated in May contributed to 14.9 million deaths in 2020 and 2021.

To the surprise of perplexed observers, a December conference in Montreal on biodiversity delivered a major deal to protect 30% of the world’s land and seas, with China leading the way.

The world has seen warnings of worst-case scenarios before, from Thomas Malthus’ prediction in the 18th century that food production would not keep up with population growth to the best-selling book. of the United States in 1968 “population bomb”.

One of the most prominent critics of pessimism today is Harvard University professor Steven Pinker, who has argued that violence has decreased dramatically in the modern era.

Speaking after the invasion of Ukraine, Pinker admitted Putin had started wars between nations. But he says a failed invasion can also reinforce positive trends.

Biden, in his Christmas speech to Americans, acknowledged difficult times but pointed to the decline of Covid and good employment rates.

“We’re definitely making progress. Things are getting better,” Biden said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

Featured video of the day

Anti RSS, Pro Atal Bihari Vajpayee: What is Rahul Gandhi’s political message?


Goz News: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably.

Related Articles

Back to top button