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Climate Change To Get Worse In The Future: Study

The real change to mitigate climate change through gradual cutting of emissions will come from the public.

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Drought, Climate change, global warming
A farmer stands on cracked earth that three weeks earlier created the bottom of a reservoir on his farm, in Groot Marico, South Africa. VOA

A new report has taken the results of thousands of papers on the impacts of climate change and put them together into a giant assessment detailing the multiple ways that climate change will impact humanity in the coming century.

Lead researcher Camilo Mora says the report shows what he calls a “massive domino effect” of bad news as climate change intensifies in the coming century if the world doesn’t mitigate the amount of carbon we are pumping into the atmosphere.

In the report being published Monday in Nature Climate Change, Mora says there is literally no place on the planet that’s safe.

Putting all the data in one place

The study is unique in that it doesn’t produce any new information, but is basically a mother of all spreadsheets that takes all of the predicted effects of climate change and puts them into one place.

Hurricane, climate change
Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, VOA

Mora told VOA he and his team of dozens of researchers spent six months gathering and inputting data on climate change into their system and watching how all of these impacts would affect individual sites around the world.

What they came up with was exactly 467 ways that climate change is going to negatively impact the weather, from localized changes like more droughts, heatwaves, wildfires, and storms, to the global changes like sea level rise, and changes in ocean chemistry.

Mora also looked at how climate change is expected to impact everything from food supplies, to increased susceptibility to disease, as well as more difficult to gauge effects like climate insecurity’s impact on mental health.

What he found was surprising, “I couldn’t stop being mind blown every single day,” he told VOA, mainly by the fact that the dangerous and damaging effects of climate change are already impacting humans all over the globe. “We think this is going to happen later,” he says, “but we found that this is already happening.”

“Last year, for instance, Florida recorded extreme drought, record high temperatures, over 100 wildfires, and the strongest ever recorded hurricane in its Panhandle: the category 4 Hurricane Michael,” Mora says. “Likewise, California is currently experiencing ferocious wild fires and one of the longest droughts, plus extreme heatwaves this past summer.”

Australia, Meat free,Hurricane, climate change
Tire tracks left by a truck can be seen in a drought-stricken paddock on Kahmoo Station property, located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

And he says if carbon levels in the atmosphere continue to increase on pace there will no place on earth that isn’t affected.

Take New York, for instance. Mora lays out a future scenario in which in 2100 New York will be constantly dealing with the potentially devastating effects of four different climate hazards, including extreme weather and sea level rise.

All of these effects are measurable and in the future a city like Miami might be dealing with drought, extreme heat, sea level rise and more numerous and more powerful hurricanes. “Any coastal area in the tropics is going to be on fire” Mora says. Sydney, Los Angeles, Brazil and Mexico City are all at risk as the effects of climate change stack up.”

Mora’s study is impressive in its detail, noting, “Planes can’t fly during heat waves … wires short circuit during heat waves,” Mora says. And for people who work outdoors it can literally get too hot and “their livelihoods depend on their job ability to work out doors.”

All of these impacts add up and have a profound economic effect. Mora says they create stressed communities that have less economic ability to deal with change, plus higher financial costs thanks to the infrastructure damage and repair associated with predicted extreme weather events.

Australia, Meat free,Hurricane, climate change
A tree art installation made up of individual trees and Hydrangeas is seen in front of the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 22, 2018, to celebrate Earth Day and promote the planting of trees in an effort to combat climate change. VOA

Is it too late?

But despite all of the bad news in this assessment, Mora is bullish on our ability to head off the effects of climate change.

“This is not game over,” he says. “We are not too late to turn this around and we have pathways to reduce emissions what we need to do is implement them.”

Mora says the solution to the world’s carbon problem will not come from the world’s leaders, despite agreements like the Paris Accord for which hundreds of the world’s leaders came together to commit to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions.

Also Read: Australia’s PM Abandons Plan To Enshrine Carbon Emission Cuts

He says the real change to mitigate climate change through gradual cutting of emissions will come from the public, and he points to efforts like Hawaii’s decision to become a carbon neutral state by 2045 and to shift to 100 percent renewable energy.

Mora is also involved with tree planting efforts in Hawaii that he says if done worldwide could help the planet actually remove carbon from the atmosphere, not just stop putting it in. He calls it one of “many simple steps to clean our footprint all together.” (VOA)

Next Story

Denis Hayes- Earth Day Founder Predicts 2020 will be Turning Point in Global Climate Change Movement

"I'm confident that the end is in sight. When conditions are right, people are ready to demand change, and America can turn on a dime," Hayes told reporters

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earth day, climate change
FILE - A man walks past a mural the day before Earth Day, in Philadelphia, April 21, 2017. VOA

Denis Hayes, the man credited with founding Earth Day, predicted 2020 will be a turning point in the global climate change movement.

“I’m confident that the end is in sight. When conditions are right, people are ready to demand change, and America can turn on a dime,” Hayes told reporters Monday during a news conference on Earth Day, which he helped established in 1970.

Hayes said people around the world are demanding change, especially the young, and that makes him optimistic.

earth day, google doodle
FILE – An environmental militant shows an orange, painted as a globe, during an event to mark the Earth Overshoot Day on Aug. 1, 2018 in Berlin. It marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. VOA

“It recently happened in the United States on gay marriage. It more recently happened in New Zealand on gun control. It happened globally on the ozone hole,” Hayes said.

Tens of thousands of students around the world skipped school for one day last month to protest inaction on climate change. There were protests in South Africa, India, New Zealand and South Korea. In Europe, students packed streets in London, Lisbon, Vienna, Rome and Copenhagen, among other cities.

Mass climate change protests have been taking place in London for the past week. On Monday, police said they have arrested 1,065 people since Extinction Rebellion began, aimed at paralyzing parts of central London to emphasize the need for sharp reductions in carbon use.

earth day, climate change
FILE – Youths demonstrate with a banner reading “the greed for profit destroys our earth!” during the “Fridays For Future” movement on a global day of student protests aiming to spark world leaders into action on climate change, March 15, 2019 in Berlin. VOA

ALSO READ: Google Doodle Celebrates Earth Day with Series of Animations on Six Unique Inhabitants on Earth

“Most social movements are powered by youth,” he told reporters.

Hayes said even though U.S. President Donald Trump has “taken a wrecking ball to international climate treaties, appointed the two worst EPA administrators in history, and pledged to resuscitate the dead coal industry, I’m confident that the end is in sight.” (VOA)