RSS   Newsletter   Contact   Advertise with us

UN: global warming could spiral out of control

Staff writer ▼ | March 31, 2014
The effects of global warming could spiral "out of control" if the world does not cut pollution of heat-trapping gases, a United Nations scientific panel has warned in a new report.
Global warming
Global warmingThe effects of global warming could spiral "out of control" if the world does not cut pollution of heat-trapping gases, a United Nations scientific panel has warned in a new report.


The dangers of twenty-first century disasters such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in the United States, droughts in Australia and deadly flooding in Mozambique, Thailand and Pakistan are going to increase, according to the report, from a Nobel Prize-winning group of scientists.

A summary of the report, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday, was unanimously approved by more than 100 governments.

"We're now in an era where climate change isn't some kind of future hypothetical. We live in an era where impacts from climate change are already widespread and consequential," said the overall lead author of the report, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in California.

In recent decades, changes in climate have already caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans, the report says. But if society does not change, the future looks even worse.

One of the study's authors, Maarten van Aalst, a top official at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said, "If we don't reduce greenhouse gases soon, risks will get out of hand. And the risks have already risen."

"Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts," the report says.

The risks are both big and small, and now and in the future, according to the report. They hit farmers and big cities. Some places will have too much water, some not enough, including drinking water. Other risks mentioned involve the price and availability of food, and to a lesser extent some diseases, financial costs and even world peace.

The problems have worsened to an extent that the panel had to add a new and dangerous level of risks. In 2007, the biggest risk level in one key summary graphic was "high" and coloured blazing red. The latest report adds a new level, "very high," and colours it deep purple.


 

MORE INSIDE POST