A new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global temperature rises will likely be “severe, pervasive, and irreversible” in coming years. In other words, we’re all doomed.
The new report explains that global temperature rises are already making an impact on agriculture, human health, and water supplies across the world, and that such effects will become much more severe over time. In turn, its explains, that will put food supplies, infrastructure, and economies at serious risk.
The report focuses in particular on how changing precipitation patterns and melting ice are already shifting water systems: causing fish to change habitats, threatening coastal communities with rising sea levels, and causing permafrost in the Arctic to release more greenhouse gases.
While the report points out that poor countries will be especially hard hit, the message is clear: we’re all going to feel the effects. “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” explained IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri to the New York Times. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agrees the problem is serious:
“Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice.”
The report is based on over 1,200 peer-reviewed studies, and follows on from a similarly depressing report from last year which placed the blame for climate change squarely at the feet of humankind. The message across both reports is clear: we’re to blame, and if we don’t act quickly and concertedly, we’re all screwed. [IPCC and New York Times via Verge]
Image by davedehetre under Creative Commons licence