The damage inflicted by climate change in the UK is likely to be irreversible and, globally, could lead to significant changes, struggles and even wars, a major UN report has found.
According to the Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability report, which runs to several hundred pages, the future security and livelihood of people in both rich and poor countries will be irreparably changed by global warming.
The report, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which covered 195 countries, claimed that the effects of climate change have been exacerbated by mankind’s actions, and will only get worse, with more floods, droughts, heat-waves and wildfires threatening human life.
The report said, ‘Human interference with the climate system is occurring’, and while it will affect wealthy countries, as usual it is the poorest who suffer the most, adding: ‘Violent conflict strongly influences vulnerability to climate change impacts for people living in affected places’.
It claimed that, in Europe, ‘climate change will increase the likelihood of systemic failures across European countries, caused by extreme climate events affecting multiple sectors’. It cited fisheries and woodland as environments under threat.
The report also warned of the effect on transportation, business, agriculture and exports, as sea levels rise. Inland flooding, such as we saw earlier this year in the UK, will become more common.
It added: ‘Increases in extreme rainfall are projected to further increase coastal and river flood risk in Europe and, without adaptive measures, will substantially increase flood damages’.
The document, which was presented after a five-day meeting in Yokohama, Japan, has already set the world’s leaders in motion to take adaptive measures. Speaking to CNN, John Kerry, US secretary of state, said, ‘Read this report and you cannot deny the reality that, unless we act quickly, our climate and our way of life are in jeopardy’.