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Buildings are seen near the ocean as reports indicate that Miami-Dade County in the future could be one of the most susceptible places when it comes to rising water levels due to global warming on March 14, 2012 in North Miami, Florida. Some cities in the South Florida area are starting to plan for what may be a catastrophic event for the people living within the flooding area.
More than 190 countries are represented in Warsaw today, as the debate over how to deal with climate change beyond 2020 continues. The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is set to run through November 22.
Major breakthroughs aren’t expected, however it’s hoped that some progress will be made towards a global agreement in time for the 2015 talks in Paris. Meanwhile, the second of three climate change reports from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was recently leaked to a blog that’s critical of its assessment.
The warnings in the report are dire: by 2100, climate change will lead to a planet in peril, hundreds of millions of people in coastal areas will be flooded or displaced by rising sea levels, food and water supplies are at risk adding to violent conflict, and extreme heat waves will hit hard, especially in urban areas.
The panel’s report also says climate change will increase the risk of violence and civil war. Hundreds of scientists from across the globe contribute to the IPCC’s reports, collecting and summarizing thousands of peer-reviewed studies.
Will this latest report inspire world leaders to take more aggressive steps towards reigning in greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet? Will the Warsaw climate talks point way to a new deal? What will the human and national security struggles be as resources become more and more scarce?
John Abraham, Professor of Thermal Sciences at the University of St Thomas, St Paul Minnesota
Dr. Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of Pacific Institute, a non-profit research center focusing on the environment, sustainable development, and international security.