Problems caused by climate change are likely already dangerous and global warming may be irreversible, according to a draft science report by a United Nations committee.
The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report, leaked earlier this week to a number of major media organizations, said continued greenhouse gas emissions caused primarily by burning oil, coal and natural gas will probably increase the likelihood of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”
The New York Times said Tuesday the IPCC report found that continued warming is likely to “slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing poverty traps and create new ones, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger.”
The NYT story said runaway growth in greenhouse gas emissions is already swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem.
“Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human-produced emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control.”
The Associated Press said the 127-page draft report, which used the word “risk” 351 times, paints a harsh warning of what’s causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment.
The report said that without changes in greenhouse gas emissions, “climate change risks are likely to be high or very high by the end of the 21st century,” the AP noted.