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Global warming to push billions outside climate range that has sustained society for 6,000 years, study finds

Global warming to push billions outside climate range that has sustained society for 6,000 years, study finds

Just like insects, birds and animals, humans have a particular climate niche, scientists have found, with 6,000 years of human history demonstrating how society thrives when we stay within it and the turbulence that ensues when it is pushed out of this zone.

In a stark new finding about the planet’s rapidly warming climate, a study finds that for every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) of global average warming, 1 billion people will have to adapt or migrate to stay within climate conditions that are best suited for crop production, livestock and a sustainable outdoor work environment.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, breaks new ground by quantifying the temperature range society is most adapted to and projecting how climate change will push people outside it.

“What we have looked for is humanity’s sensitivity to warming, and that is about 1 billion people in trouble per degree [Celsius] of warming,” said study co-author and Dutch research ecologist Marten Scheffer of the Santa Fe Institute and Wageningen University.

Scheffer and his colleagues examined the history of global temperature, human population and land-use estimates from the mid-Holocene period, starting about 6,000 years ago, to 2015.
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