According to new research at least 85% of the global population is already confronted with the effects of climate change. “Climate change is visible and noticeable almost everywhere in the world,” says lead author of the recent study, Max Callaghan.
In looking at over 100,000 climate impact studies, the research concludes that global warming has affected 80% of the planet’s land area. This means more than four fifths of the global population has already been subject to climate change related events, such as crop failures, floods, and heat waves.
The study shows that climate change is disrupting human life on a global scale. Increased emissions and rising temperatures are “affecting our societies and our ecosystems,” changing life as we know it. Just this summer hundreds of people in the Pacific Northwest died in an uncharacteristic heat wave. New Yorkers recently drowned in their own homes from deadly flooding. And more than one million people in Madagascar risk starvation as the country deals with a historic drought. This is just the beginning of the effects to come.
These climate related disasters are also more likely to affect people living in poorer areas. So those least responsible for and most vulnerable to climate change have been forced to suffer its effects the most. But in the near future, no matter where you live or how wealthy you are, you will be negatively affected by climate change.
So with the body of research on climate change growing, the question now is: how much worse do we want things to get before we take the climate crisis seriously? We’re running out of time. We can’t accept anything less than the end of fossil fuel extraction, a transition to fully renewable energy, and policies, not pledges, to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions. Our planet and our lives are at stake.