A new study by a diverse group of researchers from twelve countries found that of the human impacts stemming from climate change, the threat it poses to global water supplies may be the most severe.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported in the journal Nature, the researchers found that if global temperatures rise by an average of 2°C, up to a fifth of the global population will suffer from severe water shortages. Recent research has shown that a minimum average temperature of rise of 2°C by 2100 is becoming an accepted likelihood, even though just a few years ago it had been the stated benchmark that scientists hoped to remain beneath. A new study published in the journal Nature shows that temperatures will rise by at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced.
Hans Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, explained why climate change’s impact on global water supplies is of particular concern: “Water and all that relies on it, from food to sanitation and public health, is an emblematic aspect of climate change whose urgency people tend to instantly understand.”
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