NEW YORK CITY — According to a report released on September 27 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), sea levels are rising, the ice caps are melting, oceans are becoming more acidic, and weather patterns are changing—all clear sings of climate change, all the result of human action.
Since the last report by the IPCC, released in 2007, the conclusions are the same. The 2007 report asserted that the majority of the global warming signs since 1950 had been mainly a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases. The difference between 2007 and this 2013 report just released is that in 2007 the experts were 90 to 100 percent certain that global warming was a result of human actions, as concluded in their report. However, now they are 95 to 100 percent certain.
The 2013 IPCC report predicted devastating consequences that poorer countries will suffer due to climate change. In fact, average land and ocean temperatures are estimated to rise throughout this century to levels high enough to ruin crops and stall the economic growth of developing countries, which already experience high temperatures, such as those in Africa, whose economic growth is predicted to halt up to 20 percent according to the report.
Additionally, the rise in sea levels and temperatures will affect developing countries as precipitation patterns will change and become irregular, further destabilizing agricultural production by making drought-prone countries drier and wet areas wetter. In fact, Oxfam also reported that world hunger levels would only get worse as climate change does. They reported that the number of people at risk of going hungry will increase by 10 to 20 percent by 2050, due to failing crop production and subsequent disrepute incomes.
Moreover a warmer world means a world more susceptible to natural disasters, thus making poorer countries even more susceptible to the effects of global warming.
A recent article by The Guardian shared experiences from farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, or in other words, those actually living the effects of climate change in the developing world. Their observations directly matched the conclusions of the IPCC report and the reality of the environmental crisis, showing that poor countries don’t need an official report to tell them global warming is real.
“We used to have very stable rainfall that was adequate and non-erosive. These days no one knows when to plant crops. When rains come, they are either too little for planting or too heavy, such that fields get waterlogged or eroded. A prolonged dry spell follows and scorches the germinated crops. The seed is lost,” said Malawian farmer Nkhuleme Ntambalika in the article.
Bolivian farmer Alivio Aruquipa was also quoted in the Guardian article explaining the water situation in La Paz, Bolivia.
“We are the ones who feel the impact of climate change. We have suffered a lot with the lack of water. People feel that they have to leave the country, or leave their homes to look for work and find a way of feeding their families. There are conflicts over water between the different communities because we all need water and there isn’t enough for everyone,” Aruquipa said.
The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has stated that he hopes to see the 2013 IPCC report be a motivating factor for a UN-sponsored climate change conference occurring by late 2015 resulting in a global climate agreement with it them being put into force by 2020.
The release of the 2013 report should not only alert global leaders, scientists, or experts, but all people from all over the world. If action is not taken, every one everywhere will be affected negatively in one way or another.
– Elisha-Kim Desmangles
Sources: Huffington Post, The Guardian: IPCC Climate Change World Farmers, The Guardian