EGU21-12267, updated on 05 Jul 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The kids aren't alright

Wim Thiery1,2, Stefan Lange3, Joeri Rogelj4,5, Carl-Friedrich Schleussner6, Lukas Gudmundsson2, Sonia I. Seneviratne2, Katja Frieler3, Kerry Emanuel7, Tobias Geiger3,8, David N. Bresch9,10, Fang Zhao11,3, Sven N. Willner3, Matthias Büchner3, Jan Volkholz3, and the ISIMIP modelling team*
Wim Thiery et al.
  • 1Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering, Brussels, Belgium (
  • 2ETH Zurich, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Member of the Leibniz Association, Potsdam, Germany
  • 4Imperial College London, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment, London, UK
  • 5International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
  • 6Climate Analytics, Berlin, Germany
  • 7Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lorenz Center, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 8Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD), Climate and Environment Consultancy, Stahnsdorf, Germany
  • 9ETH Zurich, Institute for Environmental Decisions, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 10Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 11East China Normal University, School of Geographic Sciences, Shanghai, China
  • *A full list of authors appears at the end of the abstract

People are being affected by climate change around the globe today at around 1°C of warming above pre-industrial levels. Current policies towards climate mitigation would result in about twice as much warming over the next 80 years, roughly the lifetime of a today's newborn. Here we quantify the stronger climate change burden that will fall on younger generations by introducing a novel analysis framework that expresses impacts as a function of how they are experienced along the course of a person's life. Combining projections of population, temperature, and 15 impact models encompassing droughts, heatwaves, tropical cyclones, crop failure, floods, and wildfires, we show that, under current climate pledges, newborns in 2020 are projected to experience 2-13 times more extreme events during their life than a person born in 1960, with substantial variations across regions. Limiting warming to 1.5°C consistently reduces that burden, while still leaving younger generations with unavoidable impacts that are unmatched by the impacts experienced by older generations. Our results provide a quantified scientific basis to understand the position from which younger generations challenge the present shortfall of adequate climate action.

ISIMIP modelling team:

Nico Bauer, Jinfeng Chang, Philippe Ciais, Marie Dury, Louis François, Manolis Grillakis, Simon N. Gosling, Naota Hanasaki, Thomas Hickler, Veronika Huber, Akihiko Ito, Jonas Jägermeyr, Nikolay Khabarov, Aristeidis Koutroulis, Wenfeng Liu, Matthias Mengel, Christoph Müller, Sebastian Ostberg, Christopher P. O. Reyer, Tobias Stacke, Yoshihide Wada

How to cite: Thiery, W., Lange, S., Rogelj, J., Schleussner, C.-F., Gudmundsson, L., Seneviratne, S. I., Frieler, K., Emanuel, K., Geiger, T., Bresch, D. N., Zhao, F., Willner, S. N., Büchner, M., and Volkholz, J. and the ISIMIP modelling team: The kids aren't alright, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-12267,, 2021.

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