Major U.N. climate report warns of “extreme” and “unprecedented” impacts

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"It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land," the report states. Many of the changes inflicted on the planet — especially our oceans — will be "irreversible for centuries to millennia," and continued warming will lead to an acceleration of "extreme events unprecedented in the observational record," it warns.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the report a "code red for humanity." Guterres said, "the alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk," CBS News’ Pamela Falk reports.

But also conveyed in the report is the knowledge that there’s still time to take action on the climate crisis. The report makes clear that every increment of temperature rise matters, so less warming will help lessen disaster. That will require steps like rapidly reducing methane emissions in the short term and greenhouse gases overall. The science shows that if society is able to follow a low-carbon path into the future, it will "yield rapid and sustained effects to limit human-caused climate change," the report says.


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