By Jan Wellmann
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the U.N. body in charge of assessing the science related to climate change. Their Fifth Assessment Report on global warming was released March 31, 2014, and warns world leaders that, while it’s too late to stop climate change, we only have a few years left to act to avoid unexpectedly catastrophic consequences. Some of their key observations include:
- Many terrestrial, freshwater, and marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances, and species interactions in response to ongoing climate change.
- Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability.
- Climate-related hazards exacerbate other stressors, often with negative outcomes for livelihoods, especially for people living in poverty.
- Uncertainties about future vulnerability, exposure, and responses of interlinked human and natural systems are large.
- A large number of both terrestrial and freshwater species face increased extinction risk under projected climate change during and beyond the 21st century, especially as climate change interacts with other stressors, such as habitat modification, overexploitation, pollution, and invasive species.
- Due to sea-level rise projected throughout the 21st century and beyond, coastal systems and low-lying areas will increasingly experience adverse impacts such as submergence, coastal flooding, and coastal erosion.
- Due to projected climate change by the mid-21st century and beyond, global marine-species redistribution and marine-biodiversity reduction in sensitive regions will challenge the sustained provision of fisheries’ productivity and other ecosystem services.
- All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and price stability.
- Major future rural impacts are expected in the near-term and beyond through impacts on water availability and supply, food security, and agricultural incomes, including shifts in production areas of food and non-food crops across the world.
- Throughout the 21st century, climate change is expected to lead to increases in ill-health in many regions and especially in developing countries with low income, as compared to a baseline without climate change.
- Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot-spots of hunger.
Download the FULL IPCC REPORT here.
While world leaders wonder what to actually do about the report, organizations like 350.org are building a global climate movement with smart campaigns like DC Invest, which encourages companies, individuals, and organizations to stop investing in fossil fuel stocks. The logic is simple and powerful: By selling the stock of coal, gas, and oil companies, conscientious investors can ensure companies in these industries, which are already suffering depreciating market values, will experience a further decrease in market values; consequently, other investors will shift their assets to higher-performing assets, such as alternative-energy stocks.
See the rationale explained in detail with 350.org infographic below. Share it with your friends who still own fossil-fuel stock, then ask them what they are still waiting for. It’s time to DUMP FOSSIL!
Jan Wellmann was born in Helsinki, Finland, in a very cold atmosphere. Later he rebelled, believing that he belonged to an extinct Gecko species that could only thrive in tropical climate, and escaped to California. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he projects multiple fractured images of himself, some of them reminiscent of human behavior.
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