If nothing happens at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change in December, here is where we’re headed.
10: Rising Sea Level — as the ice shelves on Greenland and Antartica melt, sea levels could be more than 20 feet (6 meters) higher in 2100 than they are today.
9: Shrinking Glaciers — In the span of a century, glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park have deteriorated from 150 to just 35.
8: Heat Waves — Extreme heat waves are happening two to four times more often now, steadily rising over the last 50 to 100 years, and are projected to be 100 times more likely over the next 40 years.
7: Storms and Floods — From 1905 to 1930, there were an average of 3.5 hurricanes per year; 5.1 between 1931 and 1994; and 8.4 between 1995 and 2005. In 2005, a record number of tropical storms developed, and in 2007, the worst flooding in 60 years hit Britain.
6: Drought — estimate drought conditions may increase by at least 66 percent. By 2020, 75 to 250 million Africans may experience water shortages, and the continent’s agricultural output will decrease by 50 percent.
5: Disease — more than 150,000 people die from climate change-related sickness each year, everything from heat-related heart and respiratory problems to malaria are on the rise.
4: Economic Consequences — inaction in the face of global warming crises could result in a $20 trillion price tag by 2100.
3: Conflicts and War — climate change and its consequences such as food and water instability pose threats for war and conflict, suggesting that violence and ecological crises are entangled. Countries suffering from water shortages and crop loss become vulnerable to security trouble, including regional instability, panic and aggression.
2: Loss of Biodiversity — As many as 30 percent of plant and animal species alive today risk extinction by 2050 if average temperatures rise more than 2 to 11.5 degrees F.
1: Destruction of Ecosystems — effects of climate change on physical and biological systems will mean no part of the world is spared from the impact of changes to land, water and life. Scientists are already observing the bleaching and death of coral reefs due to warming ocean waters, as well as the migration of vulnerable plants and animals to alternate geographic ranges due to rising air and water temperatures and melting ice sheets.
Forecasts of famine, war and death paint a dire picture of climate change on our planet.