A key United Nations report Wednesday warns that more than a billion people around the world could face severe water shortages and food insecurity by 2050 due to the effects of climate change.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the report, compiled by more than 100 top climate researchers, is a call for world leaders to be more aggressive in slowing greenhouse gas emissions to help keep the global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius.
The report, titled “The Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate,” said no part of Earth will be spared by global warming without a coordinated international effort.
“New governance challenges are emerging due to climate change, including disruptions to long-established cultures, livelihoods and even territorial sovereignty,” it states.
Scientists said the accessibility and availability of vital resources are under threat due to accelerated coastal erosion.
“Climate governance is a complex, contested and unfolding process, with governance actors and networks having to learn from experience, to innovate and develop context-relevant arrangements that can be adjusted in the face of ongoing change.
“Empirical evidence on which governance arrangements work well in which context is still limited, but ‘good governance’ norms indicate the importance of inclusivity, fairness, deliberation, reflexivity, responsiveness, social learning, the co-production of knowledge and respect for ethnic and cultural diversity.”
One of the report’s authors, Debra Roberts, said world leaders need to move quickly to address the challenges posed by climate change.
“The more decisively and the earlier we act, the more able we will be to address unavoidable changes, manage risks, improve our lives and achieve sustainability for ecosystems and people around the world — today and in the future,” she said.
Wednesday’s study followed another report this week from scientists that said the world must triple its commitment to fighting climate change to avert catastrophic warming by the turn of the next century. It also follows the Climate Change Action Summit at the U.N. General Assembly Monday, where 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg challenged world leaders to do better.
“You are failing us,” she said in a direct message to politicians and policy makers. “But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you.
“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”