The United Nation's panel on climate science has warned that the threats posed by climate change will only get worse if industrialized countries do not take the necessary steps to reduce the emission of heat trapping greenhouse gases that are widely attributed to global warming.
In its "synthesis report" released on Saturday, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that humans have something to do with the warming of the climate and action is needed to prevent the damaging and irreversible effects of a warming world.
"Without additional mitigation efforts beyond those in place today, and even with adaptation, warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally," the report reads [pdf].
The Synthesis Report is the last installment of the panel's fifth assessment of climate change and sums up the findings of studies conducted by three working groups that looked at the cause, impact and potential solutions to climate change.
The IPCC said that greenhouse gas emission particularly from the burning of fossil fuels may have to be eliminated by the end of the century to improve the odds of keeping the temperature from rising to dangerous levels. The report said that failure to cut emissions could have devastating and irreversible effects on people and the environment.
Among the impact of climate change that have already been observed are the melting of the glaciers and sea ice, rising sea levels, the ocean becoming warmer and more acidic, and the increasing occurrence of intense heat waves.
In 2009, nations from all over the world set a goal to keep the temperature from increasing over 2 degrees C from that of the period prior to the industrial revolution. To achieve this, the IPCC said that emissions of greenhouse gas will need to drop by as much as 70 percent globally by 2050 and zero come 2100.
"This report makes it clear that if you are serious about the 2-degree goal ... there is nowhere to hide," said Alden Meyer, from the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists. "You can't wait several decades to address this issue."
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that the notion that fixing the warming climate will cost heavily is a myth and said that inaction could actually prove to have larger financial and societal costs. He said that renewable energy and improved efficiency are two ways of addressing the issue.