Climate change is the biggest threat to the planet, experts say in a sweeping catalog of global risks. The report detailed climate change, extreme weather and biodiversity loss as the greatest global risks faced by humanity.
Experts noted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s October analysis that said humanity has at most 12 years to make the changes necessary to prevent average global temperatures from increasing by 1.5 degrees Celsius. The IPCC pointed out that meeting these goals would be unlikely and that the world will likely surpass the 2 degree Celsius upper limit identified by the Paris Climate Agreement.
The experts also pointed out that the accelerating pace of biodiversity collapse was of particular concern, with species abundance down more than 60 percent since 1970. The risks from biodiversity collapse are not entirely known, but it is assumed that it will have a cascading impact to the life systems humanity counts on. The collapse of ecosystems puts increasing strain on the global food system through changes in temperature, precipitation and increasing extreme weather events.
Sea-level rise is another peril highlighted, with nearly a billion people in 600 coastal cities vulnerable to sea-level rise in the next 25 years. US cities like Miami, Baltimore and Charleston have already experienced flooding from rising sea levels.