Climate Change: It’s Even Worse Than We Thought

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Five years ago, the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a gloomy picture of our planet’s future. As climate scientists gather evidence for the next report, due in 2014, Michael Le Page gives seven reasons why things are looking even grimmer

ARCTIC WARMING

<i>(Image: Alban Kakulya/Panos Pictures)</i> The thick sea ice in the Arctic Ocean was not expected to melt until the end of the century. If current trends continue, summer ice could be gone in a decade or two
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EXTREME WEATHER

We knew global warming was going to make the weather more extreme. But it’s becoming even more extreme than anyone predicted
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FOOD PRODUCTION

In 202, droughts led to failed harvests in several regions including the US and Niger in Africa <i>(Image: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures)</i> Global warming was expected to boost food production. Instead, food prices are soaring as the effects of extreme weather kick in
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SEA LEVEL

<i>(Image: Andrew Testa/Panos Pictures)</i> Greenland’s rapid loss of ice mean we’re in for a rise of at least 1 metre by 2100, and possibly much more
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PLANETARY FEEDBACKS

<i>(Image: Ian Teh/Panos Pictures)</i> The planet currently absorbs half our CO2 emissions. All the signs are it won’t for much longer
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HUMAN EMISSIONS

Building more coal or gas-fired power stations puts us on the road to decades of continued emissions<i>(Image: C.Friedrichs/Flickr/Getty)</i> If we stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, we might be able to avoid climate disaster. In fact we are still increasing emissions
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HEAT STRESS

A heatwave in Europe in 2003 caused an enormous number of deaths<i>(Image: Sipa Press/Rex Features)</i> If the worst climate predictions are realised, vast swathes of the globe could become too hot for humans to survive
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One Response to Climate Change: It’s Even Worse Than We Thought

  1. David Sheehan says:

    For a year or two now, I have realised that the state of the environment on a global scale is getting worse. I knew it already at the time of the Club of Rome, as a student in the north of England. Since Al Gore’s much discussed film I have been worried. Since reading and hearing of such thinkers and writers as Jeremy Rifkin, Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Charles Eisenstein, Eduardo Galeano, and mnay more, my panic and depression has transcended into a desire only to live as well and as consciously as I can. My time on earth is limited, and my place in the life of the planet is so small that I regard this as the best choice. Do good, be all I can be with what time I have left. I would urge others to make a similar choice: be good, be nice to others. That has always been true and now more than ever.

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