Climate change is accelerating, and it will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe, the nation’s top scientific research group said in a report issued Friday.
The group, the National Research Council, says in a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies that clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems. Hurricane Sandy provided a foretaste of what can be expected more often in the near future, the report’s lead author, John D. Steinbruner, said in an interview.
The Secretary-General, in his speech, acknowledged the difficulties in attributing any single storm to climate change, adding, “But we also know this: extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal.”
“This may be an uncomfortable truth, but it is one we ignore at our peril. The world’s best scientists have been sounding the alarm for many years,” he said. “Our own eyes can see what is happening. There can be no looking away, no persisting with business as usual, no hoping the threat will diminish or disappear.”
The UN chief said the challenge before the international community remains clear and urgent: a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening for adaptation to the even larger climate shocks expected in the future, and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015.
Coffee is under threat from climate change, according to a study which found that popular Arabica beans could face extinction within decades. Rising global temperatures and subtle changes in seasonal conditions could make 99.7 per cent of Arabica-growing areas unsuitable for the plant by 2080, according to a new study by researchers from Kew Gardens.
Justin Moat, one of the report’s authors, said: “The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could be extinct by 2080. This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species.” Arabica is one of only two species of bean used to make coffee and is by far the most popular, accounting for 70 per cent of the global market including almost all fresh coffee sold in high street chains and supermarkets in the US and most of Europe.