Conclusions

Human activities already appear to be having an impact on climate. The latest evaluation for future global warming by 2100, relative to 1990, for a business-as-usual set of scenarios based on varying assumptions about population and economic growth, is by a factor of 1.3 to almost 5°C. Potential economic, social and environmental impacts on ecosystems, food production, water resources, and human health could be quite important, but require much more study. A certain degree of future climatic change is inevitable due to human activities no matter what policy actions are taken. Some adaptation to a changing climate will be necessary. However, the extent of impacts and the amount of adaptation will depend on our willingness to take appropriate policy actions. The consensus grows that we must follow a two-pronged strategy to conduct research to narrow down uncertainties in our knowledge, and, at the same time, take precautionary measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

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