Unless the global community strikes an effective deal to rein in its carbon emissions, unchecked climate change could usher in a hellish world of lethal heat, soaring food prices, and the failure of even wealthy states.
That's the grim conclusion of a new report commissioned by the British Foreign Office.
According to Sir David King, the UK's climate change envoy, the threat posed by cataclysmic global warming must be considered on par with that posed by nuclear war:
"In the future, climatic conditions could exceed potentially lethal limits of heat stress even in the shade. A plausible worst-case scenario could produce unprecedented food price spikes. The risks of state failure could affect many countries simultaneously, even threatening those that are currently considered stable. The expansion of ungoverned territories would increase the risks of terrorism."
That damning assessment comes less than five months before world leaders gather in Paris to strike a make or break deal to pull our planet back from the brink of catastrophic climate change.
According to the United Nations, owing to our unprecedented burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal since the dawn of the Industrial Age, our planet is currently on track to warm by up to four degrees celsius by the turn of this century.
Such a temperture rise will usher in changes not seen since the last Ice Age.
And, according to King, if we continue along our current emissions pathway, world temperatures could even rise up to seven degrees celsius.
Writer Mark Lynas likens a 6C world to Dante's sixth realm of hell, replete with fireballs shooting across the sky, setting the planet alight into one never ending burning inferno.
In order to temper such a destructive fate, governments have pledged to sign a deal to rein in their emissions by the time they gather in Paris this December.
Five years ago, world leaders vowed to limit the warming of our planet to two degrees celsius.
And, in order to meet that target, the UN says that three quarters of known fossil fuels will have to stay in the ground.
According to both the World Bank and the Bank of England, fossil fuel companies could lose trillions of dollars once new climate legislation comes into effect.
Echoing that warning, Fatih Birol, the incoming head of the International Energy Agency says:
"If energy companies think that their businesses are immune to the impacts of climate policy, they are making a strategic mistake. Any energy company in the world, whatever they do, climate policies will impact their business. They need to take climate policies and the impact for their businesses more seriously."
Indifferent to the sea change that surrounds them, oil giants like Exxon Mobil, BP, and Shell are still spending billions of dollars every year in search for new sources of oil.
According to US oil titan Exxon, governments won't have the guts to bring about stringent climate policy.
That's why, in spite of knowing about the perils of global warming as early as 1981, Exxon publically denied the science behind climate change until only recently. That's according to the Climate Deception Dossiers released last week by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
In fact, it has spent over $30 million over the last 27 years to propagate and disseminate climate denial in a bid to confuse the public.
Even though world leaders have commited to reining in their carbon emissions by 2020, the sum total of the Paris pledges tabled thus far are not enough to limit the warming of our planet to two degrees celsius.
In fact, according to scientists, it will only postpone dangerous climate change by a mere 2 years.
In order to stave off the worst effects of global warming, what we urgently need is a green energy revolution which will make the use of oil, gas and coal completely redundant.
Although the cost of solar power has plummeted some 70% over the past 15 years, and it is now cost competitive with fossil fuels in many nations, far more money needs to be injected into the sector.
Last month, Bill Gates announced that he will invest $2 billion into more innovative forms of renewable energy.
The founder of Microsoft says that there is an ugent need to invest in more breakthrough technologies, as only a "miracle" on par with the invention of the car will be able to rein in the worst effects of climate change.
According to the IEA, in order to keep world temperatures below the 2C mark, we need to invest about $500 billion a year by 2020, and then $1 trillion per annum by 2030.
And, whilst this may seem like a large sum of money, it's still a fraction of the near $2 trillion spent every year propping up the global fossil fuel industry.
According to the head of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim, if those subsides were slashed and plowed into the green power sector instead, we will have funded the start of our next energy revolution.
But, as was the case with the US civil rights movement, the end of apartheid, and the abolition of slavery, in order to bring about this transition, we need to inspire a huge social uprising where the masses rise up to demand top down change.
After all, as professor Ken Caldeira from the Carnegie Institution for Science points out: "Politicians do not lead, they follow."
According to professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, an advisor to both Angela Merkel and the Pope:
"In order to stay below 2C, or even 3C, we need to have something really disruptive, which I would call an induced implosion of the carbon economy over the next 20-30 years. Otherwise we have no chance of avoiding dangerous, perhaps disastrous, climate change."
In the words of Pope Francis, "if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us."
"The climate is a common good, belonging to all, and meant for all. To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years. Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start."
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place