This is bad.An increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other emissions have driven average temperatures up by about 0.6 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit) since 1950, the IPCC says. The first part of its report, released in September, concluded that even a best-case scenario would result in an increase in global average temperatures of 1.6 C; the worst-case scenario estimates a rise of 3.7 degrees Celsius (6.6 Fahrenheit).
The idea that carbon emissions are changing the Earth's climate is politically controversial, but generally accepted as fact by the overwhelming majority of scientists. And as emissions continue to rise, driving up CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, the impacts will be more severe, more likely and possibly irreversible, Monday's report states.
The summary of the full document -- which is more than 1,000 pages -- will be the premiere guide for lawmakers. It breaks down the expected impacts by continent and by categories such as marine life, agriculture and flood risks. And by diving into the specifics of the report, policymakers will be able to see what risks their specific locations face, as well as what adaptation and mitigation techniques could prove fruitful.
"The real highlight is how many impacts there are, how widespread they are and how pervasive they are around the world," said Heather McGray, who studies adaptation at WRI.
deGrasse Tyson on climate change deniers Expert: Sea levels make flooding worse
In most cases, climate change will exacerbate existing problems, such as the availability of fresh water in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors conclude that glaciers will continue to shrink "almost worldwide," affecting water supplies downstream.
Animals have begun shifting their habitats in response to a warming world, and key crops have been affected already, they wrote. Colder climates may see increases in crop yields from longer growing seasons and milder temperatures, but the negative effects are expected to outweigh the positive, the report states
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