Climate impacts - assessing the global outlook of climate change
2015 marks an important milestone in the effort to combat climate change. It may seem like we've heard that refrain before, but with each passing year the reality of a changing climate becomes more apparent and immediate in the lives and livelihoods of millions of people, many of them the most vulnerable to climate disruption and least responsible for human influence on climate.
Global warming is not some future possibility but happening here and now. Scientists say that evidence shows approximately 1.5° Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels is already baked into the climate system. From this now irreversible amount of global warming we can expect sea level rise of at least 30 centimeters (nearly one foot) by the end of the century (and very likely more), more extreme droughts and weather events and risking the extinction of nearly 90 percent of the world's coral reefs, among other undesirable impacts. If we continue on a business-as-usual approach we will surely go well beyond the 1.5° C warming already locked into the system.
The following infographic from the World Bank illustrates the worsening impacts from increased global warming - 2°, 3°, 4°...
Is this a risk we are willing to take for ourselves and future generations? Instead of burying our heads in the sand, denying the reality before us or giving up hope, now is a time for humanity to meet a great challenge. We've done it before, we must do it now.