Extrapolations is an upcoming American drama series created by Scott T Burns for Apple Tv and premieres this week on the 17th of March. This series depicts the effects of climate change on our planet in the future through various viewpoints and intertwined stories. Whilst the show is not yet out from the trailer and the released information it is possible to determine whether it is an accurate portrayal of what our future really looks like.
The trailer depicts a world riddled with irreversible climate catastrophes featuring headlines such as ‘millions of acres ablaze’ and shots of flooded cities, burning forests, completely melted ice caps and even people having to stop in the streets to receive oxygen from vendors as if it were street food. The message here is clear if, in our current reality, we do not drastically slow down climate change this predicted future will be our reality.
Whilst attempting to avoid inducing panic, ‘Extrapolations’ is not that far off the truth.
The air temperature on earth has been rising in small increments since the industrial revolution in the late 1700s/ early 1800s, it has been rising by 0.08 degrees celsius each decade. However, the rate of warming since 1980 has been more than twice as fast as the air warming by 0.18 degrees each decade as we developed more and more advanced technology.
The average global temperature has increased by 1.1 degrees celsius since 1880, which may seem a small number but just look at the effects it has had in the past year alone, increased floods, heatwaves, droughts and so much more. Over 2/3rds of this warming has taken place since 1975, whilst the earth would naturally warm very slightly on its own, the evidence shows that human activities, the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses, must hold the responsibility.
Scientists predict that if temperatures continue to rise there will be a decrease in sea ice, rising sea levels, increased heat waves (meaning more fires and drought), increased precipitation (meaning more floods) and a decrease in water resources in semi-arid regions.
These are the exact catastrophes presented in the ‘Extrapolations’ trailer making it a pretty accurate climate-conscious show.
However, the show does begin in 2037 less than 15 years from now and scientists do predict that if we continue at our current rate we would have until 2050 before the worst impacts hit. But this offers little solace, as it is still in most of our lifetimes and most definitely in our younger generations' lifetimes.
In the Paris Agreement of 2015 it was agreed that global temperature had to stay below 1.5 degrees pre-industrial revolution levels, which means we have to keep it from rising another 0.4 degrees or climate change will become irreversible. If no changes are made we are set to reach this 1.5-degree rise by 2030, whilst the show’s dramatic effects may be premature they are certainly not scientifically inaccurate.
However, we still have time, we have not yet reached the irreversible threshold. One of the key messages of ‘Extrapolations’ is that it is ‘up to us’, which is the truth. We cannot wait for those after us to fix it, we must fix climate change now.
Governments, businesses and individuals are gradually doing more and more to make a change but it is still not enough, we must continue making small changes to make a big difference.
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