UK & World News
Climate Change: Our Way Of Life 'In Jeopardy'
The impact of climate change is likely to be "irreversible" and could lead to wars as extreme weather and poverty cause social unrest, a major UN report has found.
The health, homes, food supply and safety of people in rich and poor countries alike will be affected by global warming, according to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The report said the impact was already being felt and would increase with every additional degree that temperatures rose.
The world is in "an era of man-made climate change" and has already seen impacts of global warming on every continent and across the oceans, the report said.
The report - commissioned by the governments of 195 countries - concludes that flooding, droughts, heatwaves and wildfires will pose a massive threat to humans as climate change worsens.
IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri said: "Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change."
Experts are warning that in many cases, people are ill-prepared to cope with the risks of a changing climate.
The document, unveiled in Yokohama in Japan after a five-day meeting, gives the starkest warning yet by the IPCC of extreme consequences from climate change, and delves into greater detail than ever before into the impact at regional level.
The White House said it is taking the report as a call for action.
Secretary of State John Kerry said: "Read this report and you can't deny the reality: Unless we act dramatically and quickly, science tells us our climate and our way of life are literally in jeopardy."
Food security will be hit by reduced yields in wheat, rice and maize crops, while climate change will also exacerbate existing health problems, and lead to more heatwave-related deaths, malnutrition and disease, the report said.
Increasing numbers of people are set to be displaced by extreme weather events, and the impacts of rising temperatures could contribute to a greater risk of violent conflicts by worsening problems such as poverty.
The report's publication has renewed calls from scientists and campaigners for action to cut greenhouse gases and to help vulnerable people adapt to "already-unavoidable impacts of climate change".
Vicente Barros, co-chair of the IPCC study, from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said: "We live in an era of man-made climate change.
"In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future."
Princeton University professor Michael Oppenheimer, one of the main authors of the 32-volume report, warned: "We're all sitting ducks."
Professor Sam Fankhauser, of the London School of Economics, who is a contributing author to the report, said: "In the UK and the rest of northern Europe, we will need to cope with increasing risks from coastal and inland flooding, heatwaves and droughts.
"The UK and all rich countries must also provide significant support to help poor countries, which are particularly vulnerable, to cope with the impacts of climate change."
The report is the second chapter of the fifth assessment by the IPCC, set up in 1988 to provide neutral, science-based guidance to governments.
The last overview, published in 2007, unleashed a wave of political action that strived but failed to forge a worldwide treaty on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009.
The latest report builds on previous IPCC forecasts that global temperatures will rise 0.3-4.8C (0.5-8.6F) this century, on top of roughly 0.7C since the Industrial Revolution.
Seas will rise by 26-82cm (10-32in) by 2100, it is predicted.