No one knows how much warming is "safe". What we do know is that climate change is already harming people and ecosystems. Its reality can be seen in melting glaciers, disintegrating polar ice, thawing permafrost, changing monsoon patterns, rising sea levels, changing ecosystems and fatal heat waves.

Scientists are not the only ones talking about these changes. From the apple growers in Himachal to the farmers in Vidharbha and those living in disappearing islands in the Sunderbans are already struggling with the impacts of climate change.

But this is just the beginning. We need to act to avoid catastrophic climate change. While not all regional effects are known yet, here are some likely future effects if we allow current trends to continue.

Relatively likely and early effects of small to moderate warming:

  • Rise in sea level due to melting glaciers and the thermal expansion of the oceans as global temperature increases.

  • Massive release of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost and dying forests.

  • A high risk of more extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts and floods. The global incidence of drought has already doubled over the past 30 years.

  • Severe regional impacts. Example: In Europe river flooding will increase and in coastal areas the risk of flooding, erosion and wetland loss will increase substantially.

  • Natural systems, including glaciers, coral reefs, mangroves, Arctic ecosystems, alpine ecosystems, Boreal forests, tropical forests, prairie wetlands and native grasslands, will be severely threatened.

  •  The existing risks of species extinction and biodiversity loss will increase.

  • The greatest impacts will be on the poorer countries least able to protect themselves from rising sea levels. There will be spread of disease and declines in agricultural production in the developing countries of Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

  •  At all scales of climate change, developing countries will suffer the most.

Longer term catastrophic effects if warming continues:

  • Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting. Unless checked, warming from emissions may trigger the irreversible meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet in the coming decades, which would add up to a seven meters rise in sea-level over some centuries. New evidence showing the rate of ice discharge from parts of the Antarctic means that it is also facing a risk of meltdown.

  • The slowing, shifting or shutting down of the Atlantic Gulf stream current is having dramatic effects in Europe, disrupting the global ocean circulation system.

  • Catastrophic releases of methane from the oceans are leading to rapid increases in methane in the atmosphere and the consequent warming.

Never before has humanity been forced to grapple with such an immense environmental crisis. If we do not take urgent and immediate action to stop global warming, the damage could become irreversible.

The latest updates

 

The Peoples Climate March is happening on the 20th of September and here are 10...

Blog entry by Rohini Manohar | September 19, 2014

1) You're tired of paying high electricity bills and STILL don't get electricity 24x7 (common killing mosquitoes is really not as fun as you think it to be). 2) You hate having to ride around with a dupatta on your face looking like...

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Blog entry by Pari Trivedi | April 9, 2014

The Bhartiya Janata Party released its much awaited and much delayed manifesto today, promising to boost India's economy and reiterating its obligation to the cause of Hindutva. The issue of environment has always taken a backseat in...

Deforestation: A vicious cocktail for the climate

Blog entry by Dr. Janet Cotter and Sebastian Bock | March 28, 2014

Every few years, thousands of the world's most renowned climate scientists work together as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to present us with the latest scientific assessment of how we are doing in terms...

Support the Arctic 30

Blog entry by Muskan Gaba & Tarushi Anand | December 4, 2013

By Muskan Gaba, 6th Grade, Vivekanand School On 16th November, 2013 at Jantar Mantar, I attended the campaign on #Freethearctic30. I was very curious to know about it as there was a fake jail and there were some people enacting as...

30 cities for Arctic 30

Feature story | December 4, 2013 at 12:26

The Arctic 30 have been released on bail. But it's not over - the piracy charges which were posed on them still remain.

Indian Members of Parliament stand in solidarity with the Arctic 30 but political...

Blog entry by Neha Saigal | November 16, 2013

We might be geographically far away from the Arctic but the cruel reality of steadily melting ice and rising temperatures is affecting and is going to shape the future of not only the four million people who live in the region but...

Don’t believe the hype – hooliganism is hardly better than piracy

Blog entry by Jess Wilson | October 24, 2013

Earlier this evening Russian authorities offered the Arctic 30 — currently being held in a freezing jail in Murmansk — what looked like a legal olive branch by dropping piracy charges and replacing them with ones of "hooliganism."...

Cyclone Phailin; a disaster uncalled for

Blog entry by Abhishek Pratap | October 17, 2013

In an earlier protest Greenpeace activists project a message to stop climate change on a cooling tower of the National Thermal Coal Plant. The morning after Cyclone Phailin struck the east coast with all its fury, the newspapers had...

Cyclone Phailin: The strongest in more than a decade

Blog entry by Samit Aich | October 12, 2013

As I write, I am fearfully watching the news from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. Cyclone Phailin, the strongest in more than a decade, looks set to reach landfall in the next hour. Already early strong winds have been lashing the...

An assault on the very principle of peaceful protest

Blog entry by Jess Wilson | October 4, 2013

It is bitterly ironic that as the world celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday as International Non-Violence Day, 30 non-violent, peaceful protestors sat locked up in jail cells in Russia. Yesterday, 13 activists and one freelance...

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