Climate change is on course to transform life on Earth as we know it, and unless global warming is dramatically slowed, billions of people and other species will reach points where they can no longer adapt to the new normal, according to a major report published Monday.
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What does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?
Scientists meeting in Colombia issued four regional reports Friday on how well animal and plants are doing in the Americas; Europe and Central Asia; Africa; and the Asia-Pacific area. Their conclusion after three years of study : Nowhere is doing well.
The pace at which species disappear is picking up as temperatures rise, and things are looking especially troubling in the tropics.
Climate scientists and meteorologists disagree on warming; coral reefs are dying around the world; and rising sea levels have claimed a small island in the Bay of Bengal.
Despite a well-funded public relations offensive by polluting industries, by 2001 scientific consensus was solid: Rising global temperatures are primarily caused by burning fossil fuels. Since then, evidence is mounting that 1) global warming is advancing rapidly; 2) rising temperatures are driving extreme weather; 3) the rate of warming is accelerating at a disturbing pace; and 4) we are rapidly approaching a point of no return.