New Climate Report Paints Most Dire Picture Yet of Speed, Scope, and Devastation of Climate Change



A new draft report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints the most dire picture to date of the enormous, worldwide devastation global warming will cause if the world continues on its current course.

Extreme heat would make life unlivable. It would lead to more frequent and extreme droughts, slashing food and water supplies and leading to widespread starvation. Melting ice sheets would raise sea levels, flooding cities and towns in coastal areas and entire island nations. Many species would be unable to survive in a radically different environment caused by global warming, and would go extinct. Oppressed countries, already affected in devastating ways, would be hit even harder. Humanity’s very existence would be threatened.

The draft IPCC report is due for official release in February 2022. The news organization AFP,1 which received a copy of the leaked document, reports there are four main takeaways:

First, earth-altering temperature rises are happening much more quickly than expected. Extremely serious and in some cases irreversible damage can be done even with a rise of global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius (compared with the average global temperature in the mid-1800s). Yet the world is heading to a temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit). The AFP article on the IPCC report notes, “Devastating climate impacts are accelerating and bound to become painfully obvious before a child born today turns 30.”

Second, current efforts by the world’s governments are completely inadequate to meet the multiplying threats stemming from the planet’s rapid heating.

Third, the report outlines a dozen “temperature trip wires.” These are developments brought about by climate change that could have cascading impacts on many levels. Some would be irreversible. For instance, the melting of the ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic or the transformation of the Amazon basin from a tropical forest to a wooded grassland could release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere and greatly accelerate global warming overall.

Fourth, the report calls for fundamental, radical change to meet this crisis: “We need transformational change operating on processes and behaviours at all levels: individual, communities, business, institutions and governments.... We must redefine our way of life and consumption.”

The cost of refusing or failing to do so? “Life on Earth can recover from a drastic climate shift by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems,” the IPCC report states. “Humans cannot.”

For much more on the climate crisis, go to the resource page: Capitalism-Imperialism Is Destroying the Planet... Only Revolution Gives Humanity a Real Chance to Save It


1. “‘The worst is yet to come’: Draft UN climate report warns of drastic changes over 30 years,” Agence France Press, June 23, 2021 [back]

Firefighter prepares to battle fire in Santa Clarita, California, April 2021, a year starting far drier than record-breaking fire year 2020. Photo: AP

The IPCC report paints a dire picture. Extreme heat will lead to more frequent and extreme droughts, slashing food and water supplies and leading to widespread starvation. As here, in Madagascar, November 2020, three years of drought has caused the water hole to dry up contributing to widespread famine. Photo: AP

Last year the Arctic Ocean sea ice reached its lowest extent (1.44 million square miles) since modern record keeping began, a result of the quickening pace of rising global temperatures. Photo: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio.



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