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Imagining the Most Catastrophic Climate Future Ever

Using up all the planet’s fossil energy would cause a 160-plus-foot rise in sea levels, say scientists.
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Alex Tingle

In the future, Antarctica might be a pleasant-enough place to vacation. That’s if humanity burns through its fossil-fuel reserves, transforming the icy continent into a rocky slab jutting from the tepid ocean.

Of course, such a mass melting would also jack sea levels up so high they’d reach rooftop pools on apartment buildings. So say scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Stanford, and elsewhere, who’ve modeled a catastrophic scenario of dirty-energy dependence over the next 10,000 years.