(c) Tom Jefferson / Greenpeace
Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its highly anticipated report, Climate Change 2014: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, the most comprehensive assessment of climate change to date.
The report takes a look at climate change impacts and future risks. It concludes that the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans, and that we, the world, are ill-prepared to deal with the climate related risks that we’re already facing and are set to face in the future.
But what does this actually mean?
In essence, IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri says “Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change” and as the graphic below indicates, those impacts will vary according to geographical location.
Luckily for us, the UN, Climasphere and others broke down the data and have turned it into comprehensible numbers. In a nutshell, here’s what the world can expect:
#ClimateImpacts HUNGER: Crops will diminish by 2% per decade – a global loss of 50 million tons in cereals alone. http://twitpic.com/dzjsz4
#ClimateImpacts EXTREME WEATHER: Precipitation in Mexico is projected to decline by up to 30% by 2040. http://twitpic.com/dzjt4d
#Climateimpacts the future of #species around the world. Let’s restore our world to a healthy balance. #IPCC http://twitpic.com/dzjsuo
#ClimateImpacts CHILDREN: By 2050, climate change could increase # of undernourished kids in Africa to 52 million. http://twitpic.com/dzjt6f
#Climateimpacts and spreads dengue fever, #malaria, & diarrheal diseases. Let’s change the climate for global health http://twitpic.com/dzjt0z
What does this mean for Australia?
Australia’s much prized national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef, is already suffering from the effects of climate change. The warming ocean is bleaching and killing coral life. Ocean acidification will have widespread and damaging effects on all marine life. (1)
Record breaking temperatures over the past two consecutive years have resulted in more intense and frequent bushfires. We can expect more severe weather events as the temperature rises beyond the trajectory two degree warming, to a potential four degrees. (2)
While the effects of climate change are downright scary and overwhelming, we still have time to make a difference. Climate change is not caused by just one country, but in Australia we’ve got a pretty bad record. Coal exports are our single biggest contribution to climate change.
And this will only get worse if the mega-mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin or NSW’s Maules Creek come online.
Nature and Australia’s environment aren’t having an easy time of late and environmentalists are really angry about it.
It’s a challenging time for the environmental movement in Australia but it’s never been so crucial to take a stand and to act.
What this report tells us crystal clear and it’s an place to start: no new coal mines in Australia.