United Nations Climate Panel Issues Grim Report

United Nations Climate Panel Issues Grim Report

September 26, 20192 min read

The United Nations Climate Panel released a grim report on September 25, with lead author and French climate scientist Valerie Masson-Delmotte warning, "Climate change is already irreversible. Due to the heat uptake in the ocean, we can't go back."

She shared (1) that seas are rising 2.5 times faster than the rate from 1900 to 1990, (2) that from 2006 to 2015, the ice melting from Greenland, Antarctica and the world's mountain glaciers has accelerated and they are now losing 720 billion tons of ice a year and (3) that marine animals are likely to decrease 15%, and catches by fisheries in general are expected to decline 21% to 24%, by the end of the century because of climate change.

Villanova's Stephen M. Strader, PhD, a hazards geographer and atmospheric scientist, says because the earth is warming faster than previously thought we have to act now to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. "Unfortunately, there is a momentum to the climate system. Even if we 100% curb global greenhouse gas emissions immediately, we have committed to substantial global warming."

Dr. Strader adds that an interesting note in the United Nations report is the indication that climate action is inseparable from sustainable development. The report mentions that an important aspect of climate change effects is their disproportionate impact on the poor and most vulnerable regions of the world. "Building more sustainable communities will not only reduce inequality and vulnerability," he says. "It will also help fight global climate change. They are hand in hand."

"Climate change is an existential crisis to human beings everywhere, regardless of where you live," says Dr. Strader. "It is affecting and will continue to have consequences related to shelter, food and waterthe basic necessities to sustain life. The lack of action by politicians, policy makers and the general public is alarming given the threat all of humanity is facing. The threat is not just 10 or 50 years from now, but today."

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  • Stephen M. Strader, PhD
    Stephen M. Strader, PhD Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Stephen Strader, PhD, is an expert on the interaction of climate change, natural hazards, and society.

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