For the past 4 billion years the only thing that created the Earth's atmosphere was the many Volcanoes that spewed black smoke into the air containing many elements from the core of the earth, the biggest element contained is volcanic smoke is called Carbon. Carbon is very important to the planet earth's atmosphere, as it creates a barrier that keeps the heat from the sun in, their-by warming the Earth. Mars has no atmosphere, and their-for is uninhabitable to humans without 24/7 life support systems to keep humans warm. Venus, our other neighboring planet, has a thick atmosphere created by the many active volcanoes on the planet's surface. This causes Venus to have a thick atmosphere which holds in much of the suns heat.Venus has to much atmosphere, and their-for is uninhabitable to humans without 24/7 life support systems to keep humans from being baked alive. Humans can live on these planets, but only a very few at a time and with the assistance of the 6 billion humans on earth supporting them with many shuttles.
Plants, from small grass, to large trees, are the roots of all life on earth. All known food chains start at a plant, which consumes Carbon and releases Oxygen. All life on earth eats this carbon (FOOD) and all animals are made of carbon (CARBON-BASED-LIFEFORMS). Plants remove Carbon from the atmosphere and themselves become solid carbon. When a plant dies some of the Carbon is released into the atmosphere, but much of it is trapped in the plants body. As the number of plants is reduced, the amount of Carbon taken out of the atmosphere and placed back into the earth is reduced. This means that even without humans, if someone killed half of the plants on earth, then the earth would create more carbon then the plants can consume. With humans, and the carbon they do create every time they use fire to burn any carbon based matter, every time they burn carbon based fuels, burn wood, burn anything made of carbon, they increase the normal amount of carbon released by volcanoes and normal forest fires into the atmosphere. Combine that with a decreased amount of plants in the world and you have and increased amount of Carbon being created, and a decreased amount of Carbon being consumed by plants.
It is true that Scientists have found that the earth does attempt to correct itself anytime the temperature changes to much. These are called Ice Ages, and they are created when the energy stored at the north and south pole cools the planet down by releasing the billions of tons of 34 degree Fahrenheit fresh water into the oceans from the past million or more years it has been collected there. These periods in earth's history can be studied by taking samples from the south pole. The ice there is millions of years old and shows what the earth's weather was like when the ice was created. These periods usually involve great weather changes, and temperature changes. When the ice is released into the oceans, and all of the oceans cool, the air above them also cools and creates a global cooling effect.
During these periods of extremes is when animals go extinct. While humans are likely to adapt, the harsher the conditions the more cost the life support systems required. Those with little money, little power, or even little intelligence will not adapt to the new conditions and will go extinct. It could be so bad that no humans survive, but I doubt this as all it takes is 33 humans to reproduce to repopulate the earth. I am more concerned about other animals as 33 of each could be expensive to keep alive and besides scientists and the intelligent rich, as 99% or more of humans are likely to perish to the extremes.
What I know is that the earth, humans, animals that humans protect, and adaptable animals and insects will survive. Hopefully those with power will save at least 33 of every animal and 2 of every sub species of human (read: race) for their DNA (read: procreation) so that nothing of value is lost (read: Genetic Diversity took hundreds of millions or billions of years to create) and that humans may repopulate and decide what they want to do differently.
There is no reason to worry though, the process has only begun a couple hundred years ago. At worst you and me will only experience a mini-ice age. It's our ancestors who will have to deal with the bigger ice ages. I expect 99.9% of humans to die to the next major ice age however many years it takes. Eventually life will take back the asfalt filled land. As dirt is created from dead animals, plants and dung. It will cover all of the asfalt in a couple thousand years of life, less if surviving humans decide to cover it themselves.
The volcanic earth creates less carbon then the full earth covered with plants can consume. So eventually it reaches a point where there is not enough carbon and plants grow slower, while during periods of high carbon plants grow faster as the amount of food in the air increases. Humans are stopping this growth by controlling nature, but when humans die nature will reclaim the land.
TLDR: It won't happen in our lifetime. The earth will survive and nothing of value will be lost. Those with intelligence, power and money will protect that which is valuable. I expect genetic diversity of animals to be high on their list of things they want to protect. Hopefully sub species (read: races) of humans and animals as well as they did create thousands of generations of create.
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