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IPCC Releases a New Statement on Climate Change

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MISHAWAKA, IND.—The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported on October 8, 2018 that by 2030, the overall temperature of the earth is predicted to be raised 1.5 to 2.0 degrees Celsius. You might wonder why a measly degree matters so much, well the IPCC explains, 

These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions (high confidence), hot extremes in most inhabited regions (high confidence), heavy precipitation in several regions (medium confidence), and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions (medium confidence).” 

This means that all the carefully balanced ecosystems that are thriving right now, may not be able to survive the change. Sea level is projected to rise quickly, which is harmful, especially to small islands and low-lying coastal areas. According to the IPCC’s report, climate-related risks to health, food security, freshwater supply, security of livelihood, and economic growth are all slated to increase as the world warms.  What is the purpose of IPCC? Bethel’s own Dr. May, professor of environmental science, explains:   “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization to bring together thousands of experts from 195 countries to collectively assess global climate change.  Their report represents a global consensus on climate change using published and peer-reviewed scientific technical literature (the panel itself does not collect new data).”  To an average person, the IPCC’s report is a little bit confusing to read so Dr. May also explains their report:  “The purpose of their report is to inform governments and the public of the scientific basis for climate change, the potential risks of climate change, and potential options for mitigating climate change.  The report gives us information on what may happen in the future, but does not tell us what to do with the information as that is up to policy makers in each individual country (which is one reason why they provide the report in the first place, to create a report that is policy-relevant, but not policy-prescriptive).  I do not disagree with the findings in the report.”  So, the real question is what can we do? How can we slow down the world’s inevitable destruction? One of the reasons, as Dr. May stated, that the IPCC puts out this report is to share it with governments and businesses around the world.   If we are presented with something so blatant that it cannot be ignored (like expecting 70-90% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to die off in the next 10 or so years) then maybe it will inspire people to finally do something about it. NASA has a FAQ page all about global climate change and their suggestions for how to respond to climate change include:  “1) ‘mitigation’ – reducing the flow of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere; and 2) ‘adaptation’ – learning to live with, and adapt to, the climate change that has already been set in motion.”  We can’t stop the world from changing, but we can slow down the toxic effect we have on it. If you have any other questions or would like to learn more, here is the IPCC report: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/    There are a few other resources if you would like to learn more:  NASA’s FAQ page: https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/    CNN’s write up: https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/07/world/climate-change-new-ipcc-report-wxc/index.html?no-st=1539712160  
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