Not unexpectedly, the report is pretty bleak. The hundreds of scientists around the world consulted for this assessment were, in general, “highly confident” of the problems that were to come in the century ahead.
Here are several of the obstacles that experts believe are basically inevitable given our current path, as well as the “adaptations” they anticipate humans having to make in order to survive:
1. Temperature related health issues like heat stroke will skyrocket.
Reliance on air conditioning and community cooling centers will become pivotal to survive humid temperatures. Labor conducted outdoors will need to be restructured so that people are not out in the heat for prolonged periods of time.
2. Flooding will destroy existing communities, particularly in island and coastal locations, due to the rising sea level.
There will be a need to put preemptive warning systems in place to alert coastal populations and evacuate them early to prevent significant loss of life. Communities built in the future will need to be significantly away from coastlines and river basins to minimize exposure to flooding.
3. Climate drying will lead to an increase in wildfires, putting life and property at a greater risk.
Humans will need to construct buildings (and even plant certain vegetation) with extreme fire resistant measures in mind. Development must cease in high risk burn areas to lower the likelihood of catastrophe.
4. The changes in sea levels and temperatures rises will lead to fewer fish available for catching in shallower water.
The fishing industry will need to adopt new technologies and practices to capture fish in further and deeper waters. Some communities built around the fishing industry will need to generate a new livelihood.
5. The change in climate will likely yield a rise in human diseases spread via insect bites.
People will have to increase access to public health services so that affected people can be treated before diseases spread on too large of a scale to handle.
6. A shortage of water will leave people both dehydrated and malnourished.
Humans will have to learn how to ration water better, and use it more efficiently when it does get used. Reusing dirty (or gray) water for things other than drinking and bathing will become pivotal in order to supply water for all of the things humans have come to depend on it for.
7. The food supply will become insufficient to feed the world’s population, as fewer crops will be able to be produced with less water, higher temperatures, flooding and pests.
Governments will need to place an emphasis on agricultural concerns and develop thorough plans for both growing and feeding people despite the shortage. Learning which crops can be grown in adverse conditions or in particular environments to maximize production will take precedent over having diversity on dinner plates.
Although they’re frustrating, perhaps seeing these “adaptations” will be mildly comforting, as well; if experts cannot stop climate change, at least they are preparing ideas on how to deal with the problems down the road.
Corporations, world leaders and private citizens often disregard taking steps to address climate change because they don’t want to inconvenience their current way of life. This report, however, serves as a reminder that ignoring the inevitability now will just cause an even greater inconvenience for the future.