Human activities have transformed the planet at a pace and scale unmatched in recorded history, causing irreversible damage to communities and ecosystems, according to one of the most definitive reports ever published about climate change. Leading scientists warned that the world's plans to combat these changes are inadequate and that more aggressive actions must be taken to avert catastrophic warming.
The report released Monday from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the world is likely to miss its most ambitious climate target - limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures - within a decade. Beyond that threshold, scientists have found, climate disasters will become so extreme that people will not be able to adapt. Basic components of the Earth system will be fundamentally, irrevocably altered. Heat waves, famines and infectious diseases could claim millions of additional lives by century's end.