Climate change is already having an impact and unless we do something to stop it the worst is yet to come, scientists have warned.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a United Nations body charged with reviewing research into climate change. It published its most definitive report so far into the impacts of climate change on Monday of this week.
It warned that the destruction of sea ice and coral reefs could soon be irreversible.
Wheat, maize and fish stocks are all expected to plummet. By the year 2100 heat and humidity could “compromise normal human activities, including growing food or working outdoors” in some areas for parts of the year.
Nobody on the planet is going to be untouched by climate change—but poorer people are most at risk. The report warned of millions being forced to flee their homes if climate change combines with inequality and economic crisis.
It will take dramatic cuts now to gas emissions such as carbon dioxide to slow down the rate of warming. The report also calls for building sea walls and other infrastructure to cope with the impact.
None of the report’s predictions are especially new. Many were predicted in the IPCC’s first report 25 years ago. It’s not too late to massively expand renewable energy and make our homes, cities and workplaces more sustainable.
But every wasted year has made the task harder.
Chris Field, one of the report's main authors, made a desperate call for positive thinking. He wants “an innovative, creative, entrepreneurial approach, building great businesses and communities.”
He’s right to stress that humanity has all the means to stop the impending catastrophe. But businesses seek to maximise their own short term gain at the expense of our collective long term survival—and stopping climate change means taking them on.