UN Panel Warns Climate Change May Destabilize Human Society
Mar 31, 2014 11:18 AM EDT
The United Nations issued a new report on Sunday, indicating that "climate change is affecting all parts of the globe, and the gap between the latest science on climactic change and government action to cut greenhouse emission remains large," USA Today reported.
"In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts... on all continents and across the oceans," the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded.
"We live in an era of man-made climate change. In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face," said Vicente Barros, the co-chair of the group that prepared the report.
The report said that climate change "has already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems, water supplies and some people's livelihoods. The striking feature of the effects, said the report, is that they are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest," USA Today also reported.
"The science is clear and the debate is over. Climate change is happening and humans are the major cause of emissions, driven mainly by our dependence on fossil fuels. This is driving global warming. This report sets out the impacts we already see, the risks we face in the future and the opportunities to act," said Sandeep Chamling Rai, head of the World Wildlife Fund's delegation to the meeting.
Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability is the second in a series of four reports prepared by many top climate scientists throughout the world.
The announcement of the U.N. report prompted a response by the U.S. Department of State, which underscored that environmental issues must be of top concern for humanity:
"Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy. Denial of the science is malpractice. "There are those who say we can't afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic," the State Department responded.
"We can already see the damage it's causing to our ecosystems, wildlife, glaciers, and countless other natural habitats. We can feel the impact of rising temperatures and sea level rise on vulnerable coastal areas. We know the security risks of water scarcity and flooding; widespread land and marine species extinction; and devastated crop yields in some of the poorest nations on earth. No single country causes climate change, and no one country can stop it. But we need to match the urgency of our response with the scale of the science," the State Department added.