New UN Climate Report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

IPCC vol 1Yesterday the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report that builds an ever more sobering case for drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions and ascertaining how to survive on a warming planet. This latest, authoritative report, with 243 primary authors from 70 countries, discusses (yet again) the dire outcomes we can likely expect over time if we fail to cap carbon pollution.

For anyone needing an additional wake-up call, read this report.

Like me, you may well ask yourself (yet again) – What will it take to slash our climate-warming emissions? How can we allow terrible, climate-induced tragedies to destroy whole communities? What right do we have to cause further species extinction? What kind of world are we bequeathing to our children?


“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said at a news conference.

Key themes in the report include the following excerpts from the Summary for Policymakers:

  •  Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts.
  • People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically, institutionally, or otherwise marginalized are especially vulnerable to climate change and also to some adaptation and mitigation responses.
  • 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.
  • Adaptation and mitigation choices in the near -term will affect the risks of climate change throughout the 21st century.
  • Increasing magnitudes of warming increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts.
  • A large fraction of both terrestrial and freshwater species faces 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, over -exploitation, pollution, and invasive species.
  •  All aspects of food security are potentially affected by climate change, including food access, utilization, and price stability.
  • Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence by amplifying well-documented drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economics.
  • Transformations in economic, social, technological, and political decisions and actions can enable climate-resilient pathways.

There are many actions we can take to pressure elected officials for policies that cut carbon pollution and that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Green America’s current action in support of regulating carbon pollution from new power plants is a start. If we take action today, and every day, there is hope.


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