Thousands of climate scientists and government policy administrators from more than 120 countries worked on the report for six years. After a reported all night session on April 5, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its second major report on global warming. VOA's Paul Sisco has more.
The climate experts' report predicts rising temperatures will lead to more heat waves in the United States and elsewhere. It also envisions more hunger, particularly in the developing world; continued glacier melting; accelerated plant and animal extinctions; rising sea levels and associated environmental degradation.
"The Working Group Two Report deals with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability," explains Panel Chairman Rajendra Pachauri. "And this is what determines responses that human beings and societies will make to counter this problem, to be able to manage this problem."
Panel co-chairman Martin Perry adds, "What they've done now is finally establish at the global level there is an anthropogenic, a man made, climate signal coming through on plants, animals, water and ice."
The report's conclusions are largely based on data that scientists see now. They include changing bird migrations, earlier spring melts in temperate climate zones and rapidly declining tropical coral reefs in some warmer seas.
Life is sweet in the United States when you cast your fishing line in the Yellowstone River. But the United States is not exempt from the report's findings. This river, like most in western and southwestern United States, is severely stressed. The region is suffering from ten years of drought. Nevada's Lake Meade is 24 meters below normal levels. Docks hang from newly formed cliffs. And the once mighty Colorado River, from which seven U.S. states draw water, now trickles at the border between the United States and Mexico.
The report states clearly that poorer nations above and below the equator, are even worse off, with temperatures predicted to rise, and few resources to deal with resulting problems.
One observer commented, "It is getting worse every year."
Chairman Rajendra Pachauri says this is based on scientific evidence, "You don't need faith to believe what is being put forward, what you have is solid scientific evidence.
The report concludes that the situation is worse than previously thought. And it says that if temperatures continue to rise, one billion people could face dangerous flooding, three billion, water shortages and many species face mass extinction.