The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently warned the world that the effects of climate change won’t just affect ‘far-off’ species such as the polar bear. At a gathering of scientists in Japan, Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research summed up her peers’ concerns by saying: “The polar bear is us.”
Over 100 governments are attending this week’s meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, where recent reports and interviews indicate bleak news. In short, the risks and overall effects of global warming are far more immediate and local than scientists once thought. It is also not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants – but the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war.
While heat waves have swept the US, Africa and Asia, increased rainfall in Europe has been equally damaging, leading to devastated crops and floods.. Melting ice in the Arctic is not only affecting the polar bear, but it’s changing the culture and livelihoods of indigenous people in northern Canada. The report adds that the threat of climate change is “not far-off in the future and it’s not exotic creatures — it’s us and now.”
“Climate change really is a challenge in managing risks,” says the report‘s chief author, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science in California. “It’s very clear that we are not prepared for the kind of events we’re seeing.”
The American Association for the Advancement of Science agrees – it recently published a new fact sheet on global warming that says: “Climate change is already happening. More heat waves, greater sea level rise and other changes with consequences for human health, natural ecosystems and agriculture are already occurring in the United States and worldwide. These problems are very likely to become worse over the next 10 to 20 years and beyond.”
Via Huffington Post
Lead image via Martin Lopatka