The United Nations recently released a report on the impacts of global climate change, which describes the effects as “severe, pervasive and irreversible.”
Written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the report is the most comprehensive assessment to date on the effects of climate change. It shows that since the last report in 2007, the amount of scientific data on climate change has almost doubled, with the new facts highlighting that climate change over the past few decades has negatively affected natural and human systems across the globe.
The effects are noticeable in the oceans: as they become more acidic, sea levels rise from melting sea ice and waters slowly warm up. Coral reefs are suffering from coral bleaching because of ocean acidification and some commercially important fish stocks are already moving to cooler areas. But while the natural world is currently seeing the worst impacts from climate change, the growing threat to humanity is mounting.
According to the report, poorer countries will be hardest hit, with inadequate food and water supplies the main concern. But developed countries are not clear of the impacts; these countries will also see more incidents of poverty, as the report states that economic sectors will see shifts relative to the impact of climate change.
“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, to BBC News.
Human adaptability may be possible, but only to an extent, and we have reached the point where we cannot ignore climate change anymore.
“Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a reaction statement to the report. “Denial of the science is malpractice.”