A Transformed Climate Demands Transformative Solutions
The impacts of climate change are growing more severe, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With the analysis of a substantially larger base of scientific, technical, and socioeconomic literature since the 2007 report, IPCC’s Working Group II findings are now both more dire and more confident. Climate impacts such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires—already serious—will grow more severe in the coming decades. The increasing frequency and intensity of climate extremes, coupled with the direct effects of temperature increases, will exacerbate food and water insecurity, threaten biodiversity, disrupt urban and rural livelihoods, and increase displacement and ill-health. The report underscores that impacts will be borne disproportionately by the poor, and that, to be effective, planning for adaptation must incorporate the inputs from, and address the needs of, low-income populations. The report focuses heavily on adaptation strategies, while making clear that, if climate change mitigation remains weak, the prospects for climate resilience and sustainable development will diminish correspondingly. The report states that a transformation in economic, social, technological, and political decision-making is necessary to forge a climate-resilient pathway. Are we up to the challenge?