News / Science & Technology

    UN Report: World Isn't Prepared for Impacts of Climate Change

    Report: World Ill-prepared for Climate Changei
    X
    March 31, 2014 10:28 PM
    Scientists and government representatives from more than 100 countries wrapped up a five-day meeting in the Japanese port town of Yokohama with the release of the second in a trio of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. As we hear from VOA’s Rosanne Skirble, the report finds the world is ill-prepared to face the risks of climate change.
    Rosanne Skirble
    Rising temperatures will bring more extreme weather, food and water shortages, and irreversible changes to ecosystems that result in coral death, forest loss and species extinction, according to a new UN report.

    The study, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Japan, also says the world is ill-prepared to face these risks.

    Risk widespread

    World Resources Institute climate analyst Kelly Levin says no region is left untouched.

    “The biggest take-home message is that climate change is widespread and consequential,” she said. “We see statements with regard to the impacts of coastal flooding associated with sea level rise, and - without adaptation - the idea that by the end of the century we could have hundreds of millions [of people] exposed and displaced because of coastal flooding.”

    Those floods will be more common in Africa and Australia. And, heat waves are expected in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The poorest who have the fewest resources to adapt to the new warmer world are the most vulnerable. Levin says food security and economic well-being are also at risk.

    “The report suggests that with 2.5 degrees Celsius warming we could see two percent of income affected," Levin said. "And, at three degrees Celsius or higher, we do not even know what losses could presumably be and that does not even include some of the losses that are much more difficult to quantify, like for loss of biodiversity, loss of ecosystem function.”

    Emissions curbs can help

    Despite these dire predictions, the report is not all gloom and doom.  

    “Although it focuses on a cold, analytical and sometimes depressing view of the challenges we face, it also maps the opportunities that are intrinsic in the solution space," said IPCC report co-chair Christopher Fields. "And it looks at ways we can combine adaptation, mitigation, transformation of a society in an effort that can help us build a world that’s not only better prepared to deal with climate change but is fundamentally a better world.”
    Outside the venue in Yokohama, Japan, activist Christian Teriete with the Global Call for Climate Action joined other activists to urge world leaders to curb climate changing emissions from power plants, cars and buildings.

    “They have ample opportunity this year and next year at important climate summits and that is when they need to put better policies on the table to save their people and the environment that we depend on from climate change,” Teriete said.

    The IPCC report can help put those ideas into perspective as negotiators work toward a new global climate treaty by 2015, replacing the Kyoto Protocol which expired in 2012.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Harry from: us
    March 31, 2014 2:56 PM
    Seems the UN is in a hurry for all that carbon tax money. The more they scream the more ridiculous and phony they appear. Climate change is weather and mother nature with no man made influence whatsoever.
    Little doubt this reality in comment will be published.

    by: Jon Redmond from: United Kingdom
    March 31, 2014 2:11 PM
    The United States...with 2% of the Worlds population...uses over 90% of the Worlds natural resources...here in Europe we are all making sacrifices for climate change...all you Americans do is whine - because you can't get a Prius in your favourite colour...you can't even get low energy night bulbs in the U.S....they've been common here for nearly twenty years.

    by: Sonia Tucker from: United States
    March 31, 2014 1:48 PM
    Make more electric cars in all sizes, make them compatible to the same electric we use at our homes. Of course with reasonable and affordable prices especially for working Americans. Just a thought to help with the air we breathe everyday. God, Bless America!

    by: Bruce from: Michigan
    March 31, 2014 1:38 PM
    This is based on models which have been shown to have virtually zero reliability in projecting temperature changes.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.