In the future, no one will be untouched by climate change, according to a new report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group, released on Monday in Japan. Compiled by more than 300 authors from 70 different countries and including contributions from thousands of global experts, the report, the second of three, paints a frightening account of our future,
The impacts of global warming will be “severe, pervasive and irreversible,” the report says. And whereas in the past the increasing levels of carbon dioxide emitted by transport, power stations, of methane from deforestation and farming, have largely impacted our natural systems, in the future the impact will be felt by humans.
Consequently, rather than considering climate change an environmental risk, the report discusses rising temperatures as a series of global and material risks in the form of storm surges, flooding, droughts and heat waves amid rising temperatures. The consequences and additional risks could be in the form of conflict over resources, food shortages, particularly in poorer countries, and infrastructure damage, among others.
The scientists also pointed to expected higher levels of marine and animal extinctions. In parts of the tropics and Antarctica, fish species are expected to fall of dramatically, with catches dropping by as much as 50 percent.
The report discusses adaptation and mitigation amid the inevitable changes that we face from a dramatically warmer planet and supports decision-making from global leaders that takes into account climate change and its risks.
Many of the most compelling risks associated with climate change are concentrated in urban areas, according to the report, and an emphasis on sustainable development and resilience in cities is critical to withstand change. Risks for those without critical infrastructure or adequate housing are, of course, amplified significantly.
Will our policy makers finally take note? Certainly, the message here is urgent and should leave no doubt regarding the need for swift, collective action to stem climate change.