Global warming scenario provides grim look at future


MONTREAL — Flooded coastlines, freakish weather, loss of life, forced migrations, species extinction and more deadly diseases — these are all in store for the planet in the future, according to a grim 1,000-page risk-assessment on the impacts of climate change.

On Monday, the United Nations Panel on Climate Change released the second of its three massive studies in Geneva, Switzerland, before 160 delegates from 100 nations.

The new report says the Arctic is expected to remain relatively cold, despite rising global temperatures of up to 5.8 °C. But many questions still remain about exactly what impacts the Arctic will suffer.

Melting permafrost, less sea ice and changes in wildlife and vegetation are expected to occur. These may open up new opportunities for transportation, tourism and trade, but instability in other parts of the world could negate these benefits.

The report concludes climate change in the Arctic will be severe and may even lead to more calamitous changes in weather patterns.

“Climate change in polar regions is expected to be among the largest and more rapid of any region of Earth,” the report summary says. “Polar regions contain important drivers for change. Once triggered, they may continue for centuries, long after greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilized, and cause irreversible impacts on ice sheets, global ocean circulation and sea rise.”

“Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” follows the IPCC’s first report, which was released last month in Shanghai, China. This report looked at the physical phenomenon of climate change. The group’s next report on how to lessen the impact of climate change will be released next month in Ghana.

Meanwhile, another U.N.-commissioned report has also come up with a bad-news scenario. It says an increase in natural disasters due to global warming will cost $300 billion a year in losses by 2050.

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