The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change today released its latest report on the current state of global warming, the risks it poses and mitigation efforts. The prognosis is negative, as the following list of key risks laid out in the report describes.
“The key risks that follow, all of which are identified with high confidence, span sectors and regions. Each of these key risks contributes to one or more RFCs [reasons for concern].
- Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea-level rise. [RFC 1-5]
- Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions. [RFC 2 and 3]
- Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water supply, and health and emergency services. [RFC 2-4]
- Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors in urban or rural areas. [RFC 2 and 3]
- Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings. [RFC 2-4]
- Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions. [RFC 2 and 3]
- Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic. [RFC 1, 2, and 4]
- Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods. [RFC 1, 3, and 4]
Many key risks constitute particular challenges for the least developed countries and vulnerable communities, given their limited ability to cope.” – Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, Summary for Policymakers