The UN’s latest climate change report reveals that environmental damage previously thought to be far away is actually just around the corner, writes Carolyn Kormann of The New Yorker. On our current path, human activity is set to increase the Earth’s temperature by 3-4 degrees Celsius. Even warming by just 1.5 degrees would cause immense and permanent damage to flora, fauna and human welfare. Global security and economies would be decimated by factors such as lower food production and more diseases, particularly in the southern hemisphere. Governments need to reel in climate change today or risk immense damage down the road.
The newly released UN climate report is worrying but can be met with some equanimity, given dramatic past predictions that never came true, believes Stephen Glover of the Daily Mail. In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund and UN Environment Program made forecasts about ice caps being gone within five years and 50 million climate refugees being created. Neither was accurate, like some other dire predictions made by big agencies about global warming. While man-made climate change is a serious issue, predictions that don't come true may increase skepticism of climate science in general. Overly negative prophecies used to spur action are counterproductive.