In March, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report that urged the world to come to a consensus on a new global climate agreement. The effects of climate change are worsening and will continue to endanger crop yields, the lives of poorer populations, low-lying lands, aggravate droughts and even provoke wars.
The US and the rest of the world must agree on a global climate agreement by the end of 2015, which would become enforced in 2020. For the agreement to have any impact, both the US and the world’s biggest polluters—such as India and China—must cooperate on the agreement’s terms.
The US, however, is still up in arms about its climate policy. To combat the climate skeptics, Obama has begun pushing his climate policy—like regulations on new power plants and limiting international coal use—through executive branch actions. Climate skeptics are fighting Obama’s executive orders in the House and the courts, justifying that the world isn’t actually warming and the US can’t enforce such harsh regulations when major polluters aren’t following suit.
The report details how the poor and other marginalized groups of people will bear the brunt of climate change impacts through employment, lowered crop yields and soaring food prices. There are also other risks, such as:
- Agriculture: Wheat and corn have weathered the worst effects of climate change. Food accessibility and food prices could also be affected.
- Global security: Low crop yields and high sea levels will lead to displacement, and will increase and cause new security worries.
- Human health: Human health will worsen due to extreme heat waves, wildfires, bad nutrition and diseases spread through water and food.
- Water: Water levels will plummet as greenhouse gases increase. Some areas will have lower sea levels and some, like low-lying areas and islands, will experience floodings.
A report on methods to counteract climate change will be published in April in Berlin. A final report with all the information will be released in Copenhagen in October.
Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan
April 2, 2014
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