Ominous UN Climate Report
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Humans are their own worst enemy. One day they become the only species in history to destroy itself, and all other life forms with it — by nuclear war or ecocide.
The latter possibility is highlighted in a new UN report. A 900-page draft was obtained by AFP news, the report to be released on September 25 by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It's the fourth UN report on potentially devastating effects of manmade climate change. The latest world body report focuses on the world's oceans and cryosphere, areas where water is frozen.
Risks to life on earth are too great to ignore, including mass extinction of animal and plant species, loss of fish stocks, enormous damage caused by superstorms, and rising waters flooding coastal areas, displacing hundreds of millions of people.
Destructive human activity is turning oceans "from friend to foe," said AFP, highlighting warnings in the UN report.
The message is clear. Humanity must change its ways or risk irreversible consequences. If the current trend continues, melting glaciers will be followed by droughts, loss of freshwater affecting billions of people.
Without significant cuts in manmade emissions, 30% or more of the northern hemisphere's surface permafrost could melt by end of this century, accelerating global warming, according to the report.
Oceans serving humanity may unleash misery worldwide if the current destructive trend continues unchecked.
All four UN reports stress that human activity must change to avoid harmful climate change and possible ecocide.
World governments will meet next month in Monaco to discuss the latest UN report before a final version is released.
IPCC Working Group II co-chair Debra Roberts said the following about the report:
It takes the ocean and cryosphere in a changing climate "story one step further by evaluating how human and natural communities with be affected by the impacts of climate change on two earth systems that touch all of our lives directly or indirectly, the ocean and the frozen areas of the world," adding:
"It also assesses how we can set the course for a more sustainable and equitable future by reducing or better managing this impact."
It says that even under the most optimistic emission-reduction scenarios, by mid-century, many low-lying areas worldwide and small island nations will experience annual "extreme sea-level events."
By 2100, "annual flood damages are expected to increase by two to three orders of magnitude," — 100-to 1,000-fold conditions today.
Even if global warming is capped at 2 degrees Celsius (2C), earlier thought to be a safe amount of warming, flooded coastlines worldwide will displace hundreds of millions of people.
The four leading CO2 emitting nations — the US, China, Russia, and India — account for 60% of global fossil fuel-based emissions.
They "all face devastating ocean-and ice-related impacts, but none seem prepared (to) announce more ambitious goals for purging carbon from their economies," said AFP, citing from the draft report.
At the August 24 - 26 G7 summit, Trump no-showed climate discussions, China an offender, according to Greenpeace analyst Li Shuo, saying:
"The eyes of Beijing are gradually moving away from environmental issues, and climate change in particular."
China, the US, Russia, and India are highly vulnerable to rising sea levels if CO2 emissions aren't curbed.
According to Michael Mann, Earth System Science Center at Penn State University director:
"There is a pervasive thread in the US right now promoted by techno-optimists who think we can engineer our way out of this problem," adding:
"(T)he US is not ready for a meter of sea level rise by 2100. (L)ook at what happened in the wake of superstorm Sandy, Katrina, in Houston, or Puerto Rico."
On August 30, the US National Hurricane Center warned that Hurricane Dorian may reach devastating Category 4 strength (with potentially catastrophic 140 mph winds) before making landfall on Monday, likely hitting central Florida hard, though possibly coming ashore further south.
"Dorian is likely to remain an extremely dangerous hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula through the weekend," the center stressed, adding:
It could bring a "triple-threat of dangers" to the state, including "life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds and heavy rains…Prepare NOW."
Governor Ron DeSantis declared a statewide emergency, urging Trump to issue a pre-landfall disaster declaration.
Storms with far greater strength than Dorian may be what's coming in future years if world community nations don't address the pressing issue of climate change now.
According to Climate Central CEO/chief scientist Ben Strauss, instability caused by migrant levels today will pale in severity compared to mass displacement of hundreds of millions of people from coastal area flooding worldwide later on.
The earth's average surface temperature rose 1C since the late 19th century. At current rates of CO 2 emissions, it'll warm another two to three degrees by century's end.
By the next century, coastal sea levels "could exceed rates of several centimeters annually — a 100-fold more than today, according to the UN report.
Strauss believes that if planetary warming reaches 2C by 2100, "we will only be at the beginning of a runaway train ride of sea level rise" — the earth's temperature to be intolerably hot for humans and many other species.
Marine heatwaves today are happening at double the frequency of the 1980s.
Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets lost about 400 billion tons of mass each year in the 2005 - 2015 decade.
Failure to address this cutting-edge issue of our time is making things steadily worse.
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