Hand holding Earth split into fertile and burning halves

Climate change is a serious topic that is quickly becoming more and more urgent: Already 16 out of 17 of the hottest years on record happened in this century. The last one was the hottest, according to a World Meteorological Organization report. Evidence of climate change is visible every day across the Earth. The Arctic is already hotter than ever, for example We can’t neglect this issues anymore; it’s time for everyone, not just scientists, to be informed on this issue. The scientist agreed that we are the causes of these changes. And maybe it’s time for us to see what the exact risks are of these changes we’re causing.

Melting Earth
Extreme weather and climate-related events have damaged farming and food security, affecting more than 60 million people, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

A group of scientists has just published their study on reasons for concern regarding climate change risks at Nature Climate Change. The team aggregated global risk into five categories as a function of global mean temperature change. They represented these changes on a graph, which is an updated version of the graph released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change back in 2001.

Climate change chart
Image Credit: Nature Climate Change

The graph compares the temperatures from 1985 to 2005 on the left side and from 2003 to 2015 on the right side. As we can see, in just two decades, we’re nearly a whole degree above pre-Industrial Revolution levels. his might not seem like a major shift, but the planet is already experiencing the devastating effects of this rise in temperature. The middle of the graph shows the major risks of temperature changes in five main categories. These categories are:

1) Risks to unique and threatened systems

This includes all systems that have restricted geographic ranges constrained by climate-related conditions and have high levels endemism (when species live in one location), such as tropical glacier systems, coral reefs, and so on. These systems are at risk of death, injury, disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and rising sea levels.

2) Risks associated with extreme weather events

This category means that extreme weather events are more likely due to climate change. Things at risk include human health, livelihood, assets, and ecosystems from extreme weather conditions and storms like heat waves, heavy rain, hurricanes and coastal flooding.

3) Risks associated with the distribution of impacts

This category reflects the fact that some groups will be hit harder than others, depending on where they live or their socioeconomic status, due to the uneven physical distribution of climate change.

4) Risks associated with global aggregate impacts

This category reflects impacts to socio-ecological systems that can be aggregated globally according to a single metric, like: species at risk for extinction, monetary damages, and the number of ecosystems lost on a global scale.

5) Risks associated with large-scale singular events

Large-scale singular events are relatively abrupt and irreversible changes in physical, ecological, or social systems in response to smooth variations in driving forces. For example, this would include the global impact of what happens if the North Pole melts or Antarctic ice sheet collapses.

The scientists presenting this study also outlined eight overarching global key risks (at the right bottom of the graph) that correspond to different reasons for concern, which are explained here:

Climate change chart
Image Credit: Nature Climate Change

Although the predictions are not promising, we still have time to do something, as we have yet to pass the point of no return. Our human populations are not yet confronted with global cataclysms, so it’s vital for us to be prepared and to know what to expect before this happens.