Broad threat to humanity from cumulative climate hazards intensified by greenhouse gas emissions

Publication

Nature

Author(s)

Camilo Mora, Daniele Spirandelli, Erik C. Franklin, John Lynham, Michael B. Kantar, Wendy Miles, Charlotte Z. Smith, Kelle Free, Jade Moy, Leo V. Louis, Evan W. Barba, Keith Bettinger, Abby G. Frazier, John F. Colburn, Naota Hanasaki, Ed Hawkins, Yukiko Hirabayashi, Wolfgang Knorr, Christopher M. Little, Kerry Emanuel, Justin Sheffield, Jonathan A. Patz and Cynthia L. Hunter

Abstract

The ongoing emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is triggering changes in many climate hazards that can impact humanity. We found traceable evidence for 467 pathways by which human health, water, food, economy, infrastructure and security have been recently impacted by climate hazards such as warming, heatwaves, precipitation, drought, floods, fires, storms, sea-level rise and changes in natural land cover and ocean chemistry. By 2100, the world’s population will be exposed concurrently to the equivalent of the largest magnitude in one of these hazards if emmisions are aggressively reduced, or three if they are not, with some tropical coastal areas facing up to six simultaneous hazards. These findings highlight the fact that GHG emissions pose a broad threat to humanity by intensifying multiple hazards to which humanity is vulnerable.

Date

November 19, 2018

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