On Monday, Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its report on the current state of scientific knowledge about the changing climate. The report did not mince words: extreme weather events are already occurring and catalyzed by carbon emissions. The good news is that adaptation is possible, if communities and governments immediately and aggressively pursue adaptation and mitigation.

If the climate extremes continue unabated, systems that will be impacted are:

  • availability of water, and clean water.
  • There will be negative impacts on crop yields, especially in the lower latitudes. We have already seen the devastating effects of drought to agriculture, for example.
  • Migration of species. As species move away from areas that impact survival and reproduction, they face new challenges and difficulties in the new locations, specifically, difficulty living together with new species.
  • There will be greater instance of disease, morbidity and mortality; the urban poor are especially at risk.
  • Lowline coastal areas could be vulnerable to extreme weather events, and even catastrophic damage.
  • Conflict can be exacerbated, compromising territorial integrity, and leading to displacement.

The key to our survival will be the extent to which we are willing to mitigate, and adapt. The upcoming working group 3 will talk about emissions of greenhouse gases. We simply have no more excuses , according to this IPCC Review. Everyone has a reason to care about it.

The IPCC Report scientists expressed particular concern with the marine environments. The report is large, and it states in the beginning that everyone should have good reason to be concerned with the findings, and pay close attention to Working Group 3′s Report that will be issued later this year, addressing adaptation and mitigation. Reading between the lines, our governments are currently insufficiently prepared for the reality of a changing climate that is impacting our food, water, health and survival.

Related:

The world is not ready for the impacts of climate change, including more extreme weather and the likelihood that populated parts of the planet could be rendered uninhabitable, says the planet’s leading body of climate scientists in a major new UN report. (National Geographic)