Top scientists reveal big climate report: Polar bear is us
WASHINGTON - The Associated Press
Activists wearing polar bear costumes stage a demonstration in Indonesia. AP photoTop climate scientists are gathering in Japan this week to finish up a report on the impact of global warming. And they say if you think climate change is only faced by some far-off polar bear decades from now, well, you’re mistaken. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human.
“The polar bear is us,” says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice. She will be among the more than 60 scientists in Japan to finish writing a massive and authoritative report on the impacts of global warming. With representatives from about 100 governments at this week’s meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they’ll wrap up a summary that tells world leaders how bad the problem is.
The big risks and overall effects of global warming are far more immediate and local than scientists once thought. It’s not just about melting ice, threatened animals and plants. It’s about the human problems of hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, becoming worse. The report says scientists have already observed many changes from warming, such as an increase in heat waves in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
Severe floods are now more common in Africa and Australia. Europe and North America are getting more intense downpours that can be damaging. Melting ice in the Arctic is not only affecting the polar bear, but already changing the culture and livelihoods of indigenous people in northern Canada.