The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report to the United Nations last week confirming what we at the National Aquarium and so many others in our field already know: Our planet is changing in ways that will soon be irreversible and we must take significant, immediate steps to combat the harmful effects of climate change.
The findings in A Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate are not a worst-case-scenario warning of what might happen if we must someday contend with humankind’s untenable reliance on fossil fuels; they are a detailed compilation of the sweeping, intense effects climate change has had on our ocean planet. The IPCC’s report was compiled from 6,981 independent studies and verified by a consortium of 100 leading climate scientists from countries around the world, including our own. It cites perceptible sea level rise, flooding, dangerously erratic weather, habitat loss and species extinction as current effects of climate change sure to intensify without intervention. The science supporting the scope and severity of the problem is clear, and we have been handed a global consensus on how to best intervene on behalf of our own future.