Global Warming of Utmost Concern to
Impacts of Climate Change
Climate change has the potential to be the greatest environmental
threat facing the Earth, the largest driver of human poverty, and
the greatest new hazard to human health.
The good news is that we know how to win
the fight against global warming.
The mission is to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions by 30 gigatons by 2030.
The color is green and the path is
The planning needs binding political
Involvement should be at all levels and from all
The effort is ambitious but essential.
The solutions are within our reach and
Climate changes happen at all times.
Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of
climate (such as temperature, precipitation or wind) lasting for an
extended period (decades or longer).
changes are not unusual as they were of natural origin. But most
of the changes within the last 50 years were very unusual, as they
were caused by human activities which discharge carbon dioxide and
other greenhouse gases at an alarmingly faster rate.
rise is abnormal - it is the sum of both natural and man-made
One major finding of the
Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) cited very clear and
convincing evidences identifying human activity as the main
cause for global warming. Human influences are likely to have been
at least 5 times greater than the warming effects from the sun.
the paths of industrialization and modernization, energies are
consumed at a fast rate, releasing carbon dioxides and other
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases through their
blanketing effect, cause the Earth to warm at an alarmingly rate.
The average rise in global temperature
during the 20th century has been around
0.55oC - 0.74oC within the
recent 40 years.
Amongst the warmest years, 11 out of 12 occurred during the last 12
Scientists warned recently that climate change is happening more rapidly than
previously calculated and said the Earth could be in danger of major climatic
changes that would trigger widespread social disruption.
Under a business as usual scenario (BAU),
that is, if we do not take extra mitigating efforts, the greenhouse gas concentration could be trebled by end of the
century, causing a possible temperature rise of 5oC.
impacts then would possibly be beyond human control.
Scientific evidences are becoming more
Greenhouse Gas Emissions growth rates are at the upper
boundaries of the IPCC's worst case scenarios, Arctic sea ice
loss is faster than forecast, melting of the ice sheet in
Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating, sea level rise is at
the upper ends of IPCC's projections, and additional non-linear
risks have been revealed that could make certain climate changes
The risks from climate change are
large and growing. We need to
contain warming to below 2oC.
warming in excess of 2 degrees
Celsius on pre-industrial levels
would constitute dangerous climate change and is likely to have
disastrous impacts on ecological and human systems. Without
immediate action, mankind may loose the ability or methodology
to contain warming to below 2oC.
Even if warming is contained to
below 2oC, significant climate change is already
unavoidable. We are locked into at least 50 years of climate
change which we cannot now prevent because of historic
greenhouse gas emissions and the time these gases will
remain in the atmosphere.
is clear that to prevent the most serious and irreversible
effects of climate change, the world must come to a common
consensus and act swiftly to substantially cut emissions.
costs of strong and urgent action will be less than the costs of
impacts have been manifested in:
Rising sea level
Changing of precipitation pattern
- more frequent and more severe droughts
- more frequent and more severe floods
- increase in tropical storm and
hurricane intensity and duration.
|Ecosystem and biodiversity
Thermal structure and quality of water
|Crop and livestock
production will be increasingly challenged
Increased health risks
|Higher warming rate of the
|Higher cooling rate of the
Rising sea level:
Shanghai by night
- with an underlying fear:
The rising sea level may severely disrupt
low-lying mega deltas in Asia
Changing of precipitation pattern:
Global warming results in more
frequent and more
(Photo: Frequent forest fires
due to intense
Global warming also results in
more frequent and more severe floods.
A villager rows a boat past huts submerged in
floodwaters in the northern Indian state of Assam,
Increase in tropical storm and
hurricane intensity and duration.
Thus storms are projected to be more destructive. Specifically,
the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes have increased by 75%
by the year 2007.
Surface melt from the Greenland ice sheet
fresh water river can undermine the stability of the
Greenland ice sheet while it makes its way to the
sea. Global warming decrease
coverage in snow/ice causing stress on
Ecosystem and biodiversity
Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are among the most
||Global warming reduces biodiversity and the functioning of
most ecosystems. About 20 - 30% of the
plant and animal species under studies will face risks of extinction
with an increase in global temperatures of 1.5 - 2.5oC
(relative to 1990).
The corals and marine shell organisms are in particular, most
vulnerable. Coral bleaching was particularly pronounced
during 1997-98 strong
El Nino year superimposed
with a sea temperature rise that might
be linked to global warming.
References and related news:
Slowdown of Coral Growth Extremely
An Inconvenient Truth:
Many global warming impacts may be irreversible in next 1000
Food Security: Fao.org
Climate Change: Health and Environment Effects: EPA
Indicators of carbon dioxide 2008: Earth Policy Institute
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