The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched its latest report earlier today in Yokohama, Japan, which deals with the risk to society due to climate change and how to manage this risk.
The main conclusion from the report is that climate change is already having sweeping effects on every continent and throughout the world’s oceans. Scientists warned that the problems will grow substantially worse unless greenhouse emissions are brought under control.
In the words of Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the intergovernmental panel:
“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change.”
With regards to adaptation, the report concludes that while some may be able to adapt to some of these changes, this can only happen within limits. According to the IPCC, the world can no longer choose to either pollute and adapt, or to mitigate without adapting. We are now required to both manage the impacts hitting us already while preventing the impacts of the future.
Below is a summary of the main findings around climate risk alongside links to a series of global stories written by 350.org highlighting the reality of climate change affecting the lives of communities worldwide adding to the need for immediate climate action.
SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS
Increased food insecurity due to more intense droughts, floods, and heat waves in a warmer world, especially for poorer countries.
Increased water insecurity, due for example to shrinking of glaciers that act as key water resources for various regions around the world, and through changing precipitation patterns.
Consequently, IPCC anticipates that violent conflicts like civil wars will become more common.
Number of people exposed to river floods is projected to increase.
Continued sea-level rise will also cause submergence, flooding, and erosion of coastal regions and low-lying areas.
Ocean acidification poses significant risk for marine ecosystems; coral reefs in particular.
The general risk of species extinctions rises as the planet warms.
The report also estimates that global surface warming of approximately 2°C above current temperatures may lead to global income losses of 0.2 to 2.0 percent.
Thus, failing to curb human-caused global warming poses major risks to the global economy.
The IPCC reports that many of these climate risks can be reduced by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and thus avoiding the worst climate change scenarios. The IPCC states that risks associated with reduced agricultural yields, water scarcity, inundation of coastal infrastructure from sea-level rise, and adverse impacts from heat waves, floods, and droughts can be reduced by cutting human greenhouse gas emissions.
In short ..
The only way to minimize these devastating impacts is to keep much of known coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground. We simply cannot allow the fossil fuel industry to continue their business as usual.
This latest report from the IPCC serves as an urgent warning that the world is running out of time to transition away from fossil fuels and towards a low-carbon future.
Read below 350.org’s climate impacts stories from around the world highlighting the reality of climate change:
AUSTRALIA: Climate Impacts: Australia’s ‘Angry Summer’
UNITED KINGDOM: UK: Climate Impacts Have Never Hit Closer to Home
AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan: Climate Impacts in Mountain Villages