Environment

This is our last chance to stop climate change

'Any further delay ... will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity'
March 7, 2022 at 2:23 p.m.

By JULIA LERNER
Staff Reporter

Countries around the world are not doing enough to combat climate change, according to a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

The report, the sixth from the group, is almost 4,000 pages in length, covering the impacts of the global climate crisis on our homes and infrastructure, our health and our lives in excruciating detail. 

“The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal,” the report says. “Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”

Scientists from around the world concluded the effects of climate change have gotten significantly worse in the last decade: warmer temperatures, loss of sea ice and rising sea levels make already extreme storms stronger, contributing to increased inequality, migration and death among humans. 

Even if temperatures begin to fall, scientists worry about “pervasive and irreversible impacts,” as a result of ongoing international inaction. 

Across North America, climate change has contributed to shifts in fish and bird populations as they seek more inhabitable climates or die. Farmers, too, may soon see the impacts of the climate crisis. 

“Climate change will continue to shift North American agricultural and fishery suitability ranges and intensify production losses of key crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture products,” according to a report fact sheet on North America. “Climate-induced redistribution and declines in North American food production are a risk to food and nutritional security.”

The report details how extreme climate events, like heat waves, droughts and floods will only get worse, particularly in poor and rural communities. 

Current practices are “increasingly insufficient” in combatting and adapting to climate change, the report says, though there is still a small window of opportunity to make significant changes in approaches to climate policy. 

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