Climate change could significantly transform up to 86 percent of the planet's land ecosystems under worst-case global warming scenarios, according to researchers at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. That estimate is based on a 4 to 5 degree C temperature increase by the year 2100 — a scenario that is plausible given many nations' reluctance to enact greenhouse gas emissions limits, the researchers say. Even if global temperatures are kept to 2 degrees C above preindustrial levels, 20 percent of natural land ecosystems are at risk of moderate or major changes, especially high-altitude and high-latitude regions. Such changes could include boreal forests being transformed into temperate savannas, trees growing in thawed Arctic tundra, or even a dieback of some of the world's tropical forests. "Essentially, we would be leaving the world as we know it," says Sebastian Ostberg, who led the research.
Solving many of the world’s biggest environmental challenges may have just gotten more difficult.
The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN recently released population data indicating the midline estimate - more than 10.8 billion by 2100 - is 800 million higher than the 2010 prediction.
Today’s rural-to-urban migration will continue in full force, with upwards of 84% of the planet living in cities at the close of the century (compared to 52 % today).
Of course population isn’t the only factor contributing to humans’ planetary impact. Consumption may be equally important when looking at the drivers of environmental change across the Earth. Nevertheless, population will continue to be a major consideration as we work to address issues ranging from energy and food security to water availability, species loss, pollution, urban planning and more in the decades ahead...
Un habitant des Kiribati, un archipel du Pacifique menacé par la montée des eaux, a demandé à la Nouvelle-Zélande le statut de réfugié pour cause de réchauffement climatique. Une première mondiale selon son avocat.
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