SOURCE: Mother Jones

DATE: August 8, 2019

SNIP: As the planet warms, parts of the world face new risks of food and water shortages, expanding deserts, and land degradation, warns a major new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those effects are already underway, and some of them could soon become irreversible.

The changing climate has already likely contributed to drier climates in South and East Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, reducing the food and water supply. In 2015, about 500 million people lived in dry areas that experienced desertification in recent decades as a result of human activities. Those problems are only going to get worse as climate change continues to take its toll.

“Global warming has led to shifts of climate zones in many world regions, including expansion of arid climate zones and contraction of polar climate zones,” the IPCC says in the report, released Thursday. With high confidence, it adds, “Climate change has already affected food security due to warming, changing precipitation patterns, and greater frequency of some extreme events.”

The new report focuses on land, which covers 30 percent of the Earth’s surface and is warming nearly twice as fast as the planet overall.