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UN climate change report warns of dire future for Med

Floods, droughts, erosion, water shortages, unless govts act now

31 March, 20:40
UN climate change report warns of dire future for Med (ANSA) - Rome, March 31 - Climate change is already threatening humankind, and the Mediterranean is Europe's most vulnerable area, a UN report said Monday in what is its most explicit warning to date on the dangers of global warming.

The latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report shows temperatures rising in Europe, with extreme weather patterns such as torrential rains, heat waves, droughts, and rising sea levels threatening the coasts. The Mediterranean will suffer from both rising sea levels and shrinking water supplies for agriculture, industrial and domestic use.

This will lead to loss of human life, erosion, damage to infrastructure, landscapes being wiped out, loss of archeological and historic assets, large-scale loss of grain and grape harvests, forest fires, the breakdown of the tourism industry, and the extinction of animal and plant species on land and at sea.

The risk is already a reality at current world climate levels, with the Earth's temperature warmer now than during over pre-industrial period, according to the report compiled by more than 300 authors from 70 different countries with contributions from thousands of global experts.

It is the first of its kind to examine rising temperatures as a series of global risks caused by increasingly dangerous levels of carbon dioxide emitted by traffic, power stations and other fossil-fuel burners as well as methane from deforestation and farming.

Unless governments take prompt action, the planet will grow 2-4 degrees C warmer, the IPCC said.

In Europe, expensive large-scale changes to buildings and flood defense systems will have to be undertaken no matter what, the panel said. "I'd like to emphasize that in view of these impacts and those projected in the future, nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change", IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri warned.