Climate Impacts Poised to Decimate Human and Earth Systems, says Leaked IPCC Draft

From Common Dreams:

Leaked draft of UN panel’s global review of future impacts from global warming predicts system break-downs across the board

Jon Queally

A draft of a global scientific review on how human and natural systems are expected to respond to the growing threat of climate change has been leaked and its contents—though not wholly unexpected to those who have followed climate science news in recent years—are nonetheless both alarming and devastating.

Titled, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, the leaked document is the draft version of the second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest review of the global scientific consensus on the global warming and climate change.

The IPCC’s first installment, released in September, focused on assessing the global scientific community’s combined research on the causes, pace, and evidence of planetary climate change. As the title of the leaked draft suggests, the next installment takes a more focused looked at the way the projected climate impacts will play on a variety of the Earth’s systems both in the natural world, including the oceans and natural habitats, and those, like agricultural and economic systems, built by human society.

Focusing on what the draft report says about the future of world agriculture and food security, the New York Times reports:

On the food supply, the new report finds […] that over all, global warming could reduce agricultural production by as much as 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century.

During that period, demand is expected to rise as much as 14 percent each decade, the report found, as the world population is projected to grow to 9.6 billion in 2050, from 7.2 billion today, according to the United Nations, and as many of those people in developing countries acquire the money to eat richer diets.

Any shortfall would lead to rising food prices that would hit the world’s poor hardest, as has already occurred from price increases of recent years. Research has found that climate change, particularly severe heat waves, was a factor in those price spikes.

The agricultural risks “are greatest for tropical countries, given projected impacts that exceed adaptive capacity and higher poverty rates compared with temperate regions,” the draft report finds.

Asked by the New York Times, IPCC spokesperson Jonathan Lynn did not dispute the authenticity of the document, but emphasized that it was a “draft” still under review and said, “It’s likely to change.”

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