Theoretical physicists have calculated that there is a maximum 10% probability that human civilisation will not collapse in the next few decades. Concerning this estimation, Hungarian researchers were asked about the prospects of their home country. Let us see what climate changes can be expected in Hungary and around the world.
According to the experts, humans have primary responsibility for global warming that will presumably lead to climate crisis within a few decades.
As István Bart, Head of the Institute of Climate Strategy says, in the last 20 years, the worst-case scenarios outlined by researchers have been realised. While he previously believed that only his children would feel the catastrophic effects of climate change, since 2018 he thinks it will already happen in his life. The Hungarian expert also added that the 1.5-degree warming target set in the Paris Climate Agreement cannot be met with the current commitments.
According to András Lukács, Chairman of the Air Working Group,
“we are rushing into disaster…. It is not possible to predict exactly when the disaster will come; nature tolerates for a while, and then suddenly there is a transition to a new situation – which one will experience as a climate catastrophe.”
As the Hungarian news portal MagyarHang reports, it is important to mention that increasing global average temperatures do not mean the same thing on every part of the planet. Some areas of the Earth may be affected better, while others may be less warm so that the effects may be different.
Effects in the Carpathian Basin, including Hungary:
- The average temperature could rise by 1.5-2°C by 2050 and 3.5-4°C by 2100.
- Due to anticyclonic effects, the number of late-spring frosts may increase slightly.
- The region may become a water-poor country in the future, and groundwater levels are falling drastically.
- The annual number of frosty days has decreased by 16 days since the beginning of the last century, while the number of heat days has increased by 11. This trend is expected to continue in the future, with more heat days, hot days and heatwaves. This is a significant problem as the number of deaths due to heatwaves in Budapest has risen by 30% in recent years.
- These effects are not good for any of our main cereals. Wheat yields could fall by 8% by the middle of the century and 21% by the end of the century.
In the European temperate zone:
- The temperature is expected to rise in all seasons, so there will be less frost and snow in the winter.
- It will be more and more common for summer temperatures to reach 35-40°C, and there will be more and more summer heat alarms.
- Lightning floods can increase soil erosion, especially in mountains and hillsides.
- Cities with few green spaces and old canal systems are expected to experience more urban lightning floods.
- With a small decrease/increase in annual precipitation, in many places the temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall may shift to extremes, fundamentally endangering food security, but even our drinking water supplies in the long run.
- According to data from 2010-2016, economic losses due to weather and climate extremes in the European Union already amount to € 12.8 billion a year, and could reach € 190 billion by 2090; while weather-related disasters – instead of the current one in twenty Europeans – can affect up to two out of three by the end of the century.
- Entire regions could become depopulated, especially in the Middle East and South-West and Central Asia, leaving 250 million people, or even a billion, as ‘climate refugees’. This also means that large areas will have to be excluded from farming due to the placement of refugees. The process is already being experienced: according to UN data for 2018, 20 million people have had to flee their homes due to natural disasters caused by climate change.
- In the northern hemisphere, the belts of some plants may shift to the north, but because the green zones are not contiguous, this can mean virtually complete drying up of the various forests.
- Rising ocean levels could endanger islands and coastal cities; the 20-centimetre rise in water levels can reach one meter by the end of the century at an ever-accelerating rate.
According to experts, it is vital to manage our water resources and prepare agriculture for water-scarce and hot periods, while also being able to reduce our energy needs on an individual level and be more environmentally conscious.
Our civilisation must prepare for the changes that are expected or have already taken place. In order to provide livable and healthy living conditions for ourselves and future generations, it is inevitable that humanity will switch from fossil fuels to renewables and reduce its energy consumption as soon as possible.