UN Panel: Climate Change Is Real, Getting Worse

Image: UN Panel: Climate Change Is Real, Getting Worse Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Rajendra K. Pachauri, center, speaks during a news conference in Yokohama, Japan, on March 31.

Monday, 31 Mar 2014 07:42 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Global warming is affecting the oceans and every continent, including North America, a U.N. climate panel said in a report issued Monday, The New York Times reported.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urged governments and the private sector to prepare for the near-term effects of climate change, while working to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, The Washington Post reported.

Looking at the risks, authorities expressed "very high confidence" that rising sea levels would endanger the U.S. East Coast, and noted that much of the mountain snowpack in the American West is waning. With snow melting earlier in the year, less water is on hand during the arid summers. In Alaska, sea ice collapse is permitting enormous waves to chip away at the coast, the Times reported.

Worldwide, scientists pointed to melting ice caps, intensifying weather conditions, coastal waters that are becoming more acidic, and sea life migration as some of the effects of present climate change.

"We live in an era of man-made climate change," Vicente Barros, co-chairman of the panel, said in a statement.

The report, a 48-page executive summary, is the second part of a four-part appraisal. It was the product of input from hundreds of scientists, as well as considerable political wrangling. The version approved left out mention of the billions of dollars less-developed countries wanted wealthier nations to spend in offsetting the impact of global warming, the Times reported.

The report said scientists had "very high confidence" that heat waves would become more intense as a result of global warming leading to a steady rise in sea levels, the Post reported.

The panel said that the worst is yet to come with food supplies coming under increased strain, according to the Times.

The panel is an outgrowth of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program and operates out of Geneva with a dozen full-time staffers. Scientific contributors volunteer their expertise, the BBC reported.

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