Hundreds of millions of people could be displaced by rising sea levels, crop yields could drop by up to a fifth, and communities around the world could be devastated by floods, storms and heatwaves, the report says. Many species of wildlife could face extinction as global temperatures are driven upwards by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
The report, written by more than 70 experts from 30 countries, is due to be published tomorrow by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) following final negotiations at a meeting in Yokohama, Japan. Drawing on thousands of scientific studies, it is the most authoritative account to date of the manifold dangers of man-made climate change.
The Sunday Herald has seen a 40-page internal draft of the ‘Summary for Policymakers’, dated 25 March 2014. Though riddled with minor alterations and still under discussion, it gives a clear indication of what the IPCC is planning to say.
The report highlights eight major worldwide risks, including deaths, injuries, illnesses and disrupted livelihoods from floods, extreme weather events, food scarcity and water shortages. Livelihoods that depend on fishing and on endangered species could also suffer, it says (see table below).
“Throughout the 21st century, climate-change impacts will slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps,” the draft report says.