Fake News: Study Does NOT Warn Humans Will Go Extinct within 30 Years

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fake News: Study Does NOT Warn Humans Will Go Extinct within 30 Years

Did a scientific study warn that humans will go extinct within 30 years? No, that's not true: A "policy paper" written by an Austrailian think-tank sounds a dire warning about a global threat to human survival on earth if climate change is not countered by dramatic action "akin in scale to the World War II emergency mobilisation." It is not a "study" and it does not predict that humanity will be extinct by 2050, only that the "tipping-point" to reverse global warming could be reached in 30 years without that action.

The story originated from an article published by TheScienceandSpace.com on September 7, 2019 titled "Humans Will Go Extinct within 30 Years, Study Warns" (archived here) which opened:

A new report has warned there's an existential risk to humanity from the climate crisis within the coming decades, and a "high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end" over the next three decades unless urgent action is taken.

The report, published by Australian thinktank the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, outlines an apocalyptic scenario that could see conditions "beyond the threshold of human survivability" across much of our planet by 2050. Their analysis calculates the existential climate-related security risk to Earth through a scenario set 30 years into the future.

The report refuses to downplay its bleak assessment of what could happen, warning of "an existential risk to civilization [..] posing permanent large negative consequences to humanity that may never be undone, either annihilating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtailing its potential."

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Humans Will Go Extinct within 30 Years, Study Warns

A new report has warned there's an existential risk to humanity from the climate crisis within the coming decades, and a "high likelihoo...

The headline claims there is a study warning humans will be extinct by 2050 as if it were an inevitability no matter what is done to prevent it. The first paragraph does not support the headline, as it hedges by saying the "study" warns there is a "high likelihood" of human extinction in the next three decades. The paper that is cited does reference a "high likelihood" of extinction under "high-end scenarios," but it does not give humanity just three decades. The 2050 reference is the predicted "tipping-point" after which climate change may not be reversible and a human extinct could begin. The cited paper attributed this prediction to another paper by the Global Challenges Foundation titled "Global Catastrophic Risks 2018". The cited section said:

Global climate models indicate that even in a <2Β°C scenario, the most intense tropical cyclones become more frequent and more intense3. In midrange scenarios, entire ecosystems would collapse, much agricultural land would be lost, as would most reliable freshwater sources, leading to large-scale suffering and instability. Major coastal cities - New York, Shanghai, Mumbai - would find themselves largely under water, and the populations of low-lying coastal regions - currently more than a billion people - may need to be relocated. In high-end scenarios, the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model, with a high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end.

While this section sounds dire, it is not predicting human extinction by 2050 as inevitable.

Admiral Chris Barrie, who is retired from the Australian Navy, in the forward to the paper titled "Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach" wrote in the forward to the policy paper that there is still time to save civilization:

This policy paper looks at the existential climate-related security risk through a scenario set thirty years into the future. David Spratt and Ian Dunlop have laid bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way.

Read the full paper here:

Existential climate-related security risk: A scenario approach by Alan Duke on Scribd

We wrote about thescienceandspace.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion