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UN Panel: Eight 'reasons for concern' about global warming

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Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Monday, March 31, 2014, 10:00 AM -

Despite what the weather is like right now, scientists say people need to start thinking about global warming in a dire way. 

A United Nations panel of scientists is joining the list craze with what they call eight "key risks'' that are part of broader "reasons for concern'' about climate change. 

It's part of a massive report on how global warming is affecting humans and the planet and how the future will be worse unless something is done about it. The report is being finalized at a meeting this weekend by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This report is part of the fifth major assessment of climate science from the IPCC, which is a scientific intergovernmental body set up at the request of member governments. Every several years the IPCC review the state of climate science and issue reports to help inform policymakers.

They assembled the list to "make it understandable and to illustrate the issues that have the greatest potential to cause real harm,'' the report's chief author, Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science in California, said in an interview with the Associated Press. 

But a draft of the list -- called by the acronym RFCs -- includes science-heavy language, caveats and uses lowercase Roman numerals, for example using iv instead of 4.


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A boiled-down version of what the scientists say the warmed-up future holds for Earth if climate change continues: 

1. Coastal flooding will kill people and cause destruction. 

2. Some people will go hungry because of warming, drought and severe downpours. 

3. Big cites will be damaged by inland flooding. 

4. Water shortages will make the poor even poorer in rural areas. 

5. Crazy weather, like storms, can make life miserable, damaging some of the things we take for granted, like electricity, running water and emergency services. 

6. Some fish and other marine animals could be in trouble, which will probably hurt fishing communities. 

7. Some land animals won't do much better and that's not good for people who depend on them. 

8. Heat waves, especially in cities, will kill the elderly and very young. 

So far, the scientists haven't come up with the next step. 

Files from The Associated Press

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