Our Climate Survival Odds

The Climate Crisis: Surviving the Odds

The ongoing issue of climate change undoubtedly poses a grave menace to humanity's continued existence. Yet, starkly and dishearteningly, our chances of surviving it may be worse than one in one million. Scientific modeling can accurately measure the odds of certain outcomes, but in the case of something as complex and unpredictable as climate change, there may be hidden compounding factors that make our odds even worse.

Several reasons make our odds concerning. For one, national and international actions have been insufficient in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, a significant factor contributing to climate change. Humanity has continually failed to make unanimous decisions to reduce carbon emissions despite numerous international conventions including the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol, amongst others.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates suggest an alarming rise in global temperature by 1.5 degrees, above pre-industrial levels, is likely within the next 20 years (IPCC, 2021). According to Paul Ehrlich, a biologist at Stanford University, “avoiding a true sixth mass extinction will require rapid, greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species and to alleviate pressures on their populations” (Ceballos, Ehrlich, & Dirzo, 2017). Essentially, unless substantial improvements happen soon, the results could be fatal to us.

Moreover, the Climate Change Performance Index indicates that no country depicted significant actions to prevent climate change (Burck, Marten, & Bals, 2020). These ineffective worldwide efforts suggest the odds of climate catastrophe are greater than many of us dare to imagine.

A dreaded consequence of climate change is the displacement of populations due to rising sea levels. Projections of rise in sea levels by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Climate Central indicate more people at risk by 2100 than earlier anticipated (Kulp & Strauss, 2019). Such displacements could lead to conflicts and unrest, further escalating our dire circumstances.

How can we significantly lower these terrifying odds? Awareness and education are key measures in battling the climate crisis. People must understand the severity of the problem and its consequences to galvanize action. Teaching climate change in schools and community centers, spreading awareness through media, and providing evidence-based data elucidating the situation could be pivotal.

Moreover, political willpower plays a fundamental role in resolving this crisis. Governments need to enact laws that restrict the emission of greenhouse gases, promote renewable resources, and encourage sustainable practices. Consumer choices, too, massively contribute to dealing with climate change. Adopting eco-friendly lifestyles, reducing waste, reusing, and recycling, and opting for greener alternatives are some steps an individual can take.

In the arena of technology, innovation could be our savior. Cultivating technologies that absorb more greenhouse gases than they emit and investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are potential game-changers.

Changing dietary habits is another approach. If global diets shifted towards low-meat and dairy consumption, it would play a significant part in decreasing agricultural greenhouse emissions (Springmann et al., 2016).

Additionally, protecting and restoring our forests, crucial carbon sinks, would not only stall the rate of climate change but provide habitats for diverse species. A global restoration effort could recover over 2 billion hectares of deforested and degraded land (Laestadius et al., 2011).

The odds we face in the climate crisis are daunting, but they are not meaningless. Indeed, they can be a wake-up call, a call to action. It will require concerted effort, from individuals, communities, businesses, and governments, not to mention the willpower and resolve to face these odds head-on. The predictions, shocking as they are, do not have to spell the end. Instead, they can mark the beginning of an era where we prioritize the planet's health above all else.



Burck, J., Marten, F., & Bals, C. (2020). Climate Change Performance Index. Germanwatch.

Ceballos, G., Ehrlich, P., and Dirzo, R. (2017). Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction asserted by vertebrate zoology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(30), E6089-E6096.

IPCC (2021). Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Cambridge University Press.

Kulp, S. A. & Strauss, B. H. (2019). New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Nature Communications, 10, 4844.

Laestadius, L. et al., (2011). Mapping opportunities for forest landscape restoration. Unasylva.

Springmann, M. et al., (2016). Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change. PNAS, 113(15), 4146-4151.

Climate bad odds. It has been calculated that our odds of surviving the climate crisis are 1 million to 1.

One Earth One Chance

Please Share this website with everyone you know.
Thank You!