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A terrifying map of what climate change will mean around the world this century

The panel of prominent scientists studying climate change for the United Nations just released a new report on what global warming will mean for the world this century. Part of the report discusses the the effects that global warming has had so far, as discussed earlier today on Know More. Another section discusses the likely consequences of climate change over the next few decades.

As the map above shows, those consequences will not be evenly distributed around the world. Island nations confront a high risk of “loss of livelihoods, settlements, infrastructure, ecosystem services, and economic stability,” in the disturbingly dry language of the report. Reduced agricultural production and shortages of food are likely in Asia and very likely in Africa and Latin America by the end of the century. Meanwhile, fish are likely to flee hot water and swim toward the poles, depleting fisheries in the lower latitudes and compounding the problem of hunger. In North America, floods and wildfires will become more common, as will deaths from heat exposure.

Other than reducing carbon dioxide pollution, there is little that can be done to prevent some consequences of global warming, such as the destruction of the coral reefs. Yet the report does bring good news. If we prepare ourselves now by, say, building seawalls and developing more resilient farming practices, we can lessen the danger overall. The gray bars in the map above show how much the failure to act will increase the risks of climate change.

Click below for the report.

Max Ehrenfreund | March 31, 2014 at 11:59 am
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