UN Report Warns Of Severe, Irreversible Impact Of Global Warming

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A U.N. report on climate change has warned that global warming is increasing at an alarming pace, and its impacts may be more severe and possibly irreversible.

It is described as the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world, which include a higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), titled "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability," says the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans. The world, in many cases, is ill-prepared for risks from a changing climate. The report also concludes that there are opportunities to respond to such risks, though the risks will be difficult to manage with high levels of warming.

The summary for policymakers was released on Monday in the Japanese city of Yokohama, where scientists and officials agreed with the report after almost a week of intense discussions.

The report, prepared by an IPCC Working Group, details the impacts of climate change to date, the future risks from a changing climate, and the opportunities for effective action to reduce risks.

"We live in an era of man-made climate change," said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II. "In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future," he added.

Adaptation to reduce the risks from a changing climate is now starting to occur, but with a stronger focus on reacting to past events than on preparing for a changing future, according to Chris Field, Co-Chair of the Working Group.

He warned, "With high levels of warming that result from continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, risks will be challenging to manage, and even serious, sustained investments in adaptation will face limits."

Observed impacts of climate change have already affected agriculture, human health, ecosystems on land and in the oceans, water supplies, and some people's livelihoods. The striking feature is that "the impacts are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest."

This is the second in a series of IPCC Assessment Report cycle on Climate Change that outlines the causes, effects and solutions to global warming.

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