According to a new report by United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that was recently leaked, climate change will disrupt not only the natural world but also society, posing risks to the world’s economy and the food and water supply and contributing to violent conflict.
Per the LA Times: The report describes a planet in peril as a result of the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution, where glaciers are shrinking and plants and animals have shifted their ranges in response to rising temperatures. As global warming continues through the 21st century, many species will face greater risk of extinction, marine life will shift toward the poles and seawater will grow more acidic, the report says.
Other key points from the report include:
- Millions of people living in coastal areas will be flooded or displaced by the end of this century.
- The global food supply is expected to take a hit with a decrease of 2% each decade for the rest of the century, even as demand rises.
- Urban areas will continue to be struck with extreme heat waves. Urban areas will also face severe storms, flooding and drought.
- Rural areas will struggle with less drinking and irrigation water and less productive farming.
- Economic growth will slow along with the rise of poverty, hunger, disease and civil violence.
It’s well known that rising temperatures are causing ice caps to melt at an accelerated rate. But just how much warmer has the arctic region become?
According to the Huffington Post, new research shows that average summer temperatures in the Canadian Arctic over the last century are the highest in the last 44,000 years, and perhaps the highest in 120,000 years.
“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in a joint statement from the school and the publisher of the journal Geophysical Researcher Letters.
“This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
The Arctic has been heating up for about a century, but the most significant warming didn’t start until the 1970s, Miller said in the statement. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning,” he added. “All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.” Continue reading
The most exhaustive and authoritative climate study ever shows, with extreme certainty, that climate change is real, caused by human activity and requires urgent action. Global sea levels are rising, precipitation patterns are changing, sea ice is declining and oceans are acidifying – all with grave consequences for our communities, environments and economies.
The report predicts “with 95 per cent certainty” that people’s greenhouse gas emissions are heating the world.
These are the conclusions from the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who launched their landmark report on Friday, having had their major findings signed-off by governments from around the world.
This is the most comprehensive, authoritative and scrutinized report on climate change that has ever been written. Prepared by over 800 of the world’s leading experts from all corners of the globe it is the most encompassing assessment of scientific knowledge on climate change.
What does it all mean? Continue reading
Originally posted on the Wall Street Journal by EMA Board Member, Daryl Hannah
There’s a consensus among leading scientists that global warming is caused by human activity. What–if anything–should we do about it?
DARYL HANNAH: There’s also a consensus that we must act urgently, if we are to avoid a 4-degree Celsius raise and total systems collapse.
First we should safeguard, restore and wisely manage our life-support systems, including uncontaminated water bodies and sources, soil and seeds and practice conservation and efficiency.
Known climate-destructive practices must be phased out as soon as possible, including extreme forms of fossil-fuel extraction (e.g. fracking, SAG D, deep-water drilling surface mines, mountaintop removal and tar sands projects), ocean trawling, overfishing, crop burning and endangering nature’s protective resources like mangroves, coral reefs, forests and peat land. Continue reading
Those who are still not so sure about this whole climate change thing are going full steam ahead with a new push in the Murdoch tabloids this week to build up skeptical spin around climate stories ahead of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report.
The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Australian and the Wall Street Journal are all displaying the hallmarks of the five stages of global warming denial, as they take part in a misinformation blizzard. Per The Guardian, some of those posts include:
Early coverage of the report shows that scientists are now more certain than ever (95 percent certain) that human activities are driving climate change. This is a jump from 90 percent in the 2007 IPCC report, 66 percent in 2001, and just over 50 percent in 1995. Continue reading
A new study from researches at the University of Helsinki has found that dung beetles living in cow patties may reduce emissions of the key greenhouse gas emitted by cow manure – methane.
Cattle contribute to global warming by burping and farting large amounts of greenhouse gases. Scientists have attempted to reduce those emissions by adding garlic and oats to their diet. But the appropriately named dung beetle does it naturally.
Atte Penttilä, who was part of the study explains: “We believe that these beetles exert much of their impact by simply digging around in the dung. Methane is primarily born under anaerobic conditions, and the tunneling by beetles seems to aerate the pats. This will have a major impact on how carbon escapes from cow pats into the atmosphere.” Continue reading
Nobody likes the surprise of biting into a mushy apple. That surprise feeling may occur more frequently as a new study finds that climate change may be causing apples to lose their crisp texture and become mushier.
Japanese scientists made the discovery after looking at records of two types of apples in two orchards over 40 years. They found that both taste and texture in the apples had shifted and that “acid concentration, firmness, and watercore rating all decreased.”
At the same time, the annual mean air temperature in both orchards increased between half and two-thirds of a degree. The researchers noted that high temperatures during apples’ pre-harvest period have been proven to affect all of the taste and textural qualities which had shifted throughout the years.
“These results suggest that the taste and textural attributes of apples in the market are undergoing change from a long-term perspective, even though consumers might not perceive these subtle changes,” the researchers wrote. “If global warming continues to progress, the changes in the taste and textural attributes of apples could be more striking as blooming dates become even earlier and temperatures increase during the fruit maturation period.”
It turns out that apples aren’t the only fruit whose taste and texture have been changed by warming temperatures.
A new study in the journal, Climatic Change, found that climate change will likely push food prices up 20 to 40 percent, regardless of cuts to future carbon emissions.
The study predicts that rising greenhouse gas emissions will drive changes in rainfall patterns, river flows and temperatures, and as a result the availability of food may decline. According to Think Progress: Staple crops like rice, wheat, and grains — which make up the vast majority of global diets, especially for the poor — could see the biggest hits, with big costs for global economic welfare.
The study found that by mid-century, rice, wheat and grains are predicted to be roughly 40 per cent more expensive than they would be in a world without climate change. Fruit and vegetable prices are similarly effected, costing 30 per cent more in a climate changed world in 2050.
What exactly is it about climate change that will cause food prices to rise?