Global heating could bring “untold suffering” for humans. It could also mean less fresh water and less rice, though tasting more of arsenic.
In an unprecedented step, more than 11,000 scientists from 153 nations have united to warn the world that, without deep and lasting change, the climate emergency promises humankind unavoidable “untold suffering”.
And as if to underline that message, a US research group has predicted that – on the basis of experiments so far – global heating could reduce rice yields by 40% by the end of the century, and at the same time intensify levels of arsenic in the cereal that provides the staple food for almost half the planet.
And in the same few days a second US group has forecast that changes to the world’s vegetation in an atmosphere increasingly rich in carbon dioxide could mean that – even though rainfall might increase – there could be less fresh water on tap for many of the peoples of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Warnings of climate hazard that could threaten political stability and precipitate mass starvation are not new: individuals, research groups, academies, and intergovernmental agencies have been making the same point, and with increasing urgency, for more than two decades.
The only argument has been about in what form, how badly, and just when the emergency will take its greatest toll.
But the 11,000 signatories to the statement in the journal BioScience report that their conclusions are based on the new analysis of 40 years of data covering energy use, surface temperature, population growth, land clearance, deforestation, polar ice melt, fertility rates, gross domestic product, and carbon emissions.
Read more at Untold Suffering Lies Ahead in Hotter World