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Material climate change already here

Material climate change already here

The impact of climate change is already material, said Woodwell Climate Research Center’s Philip Duffy who warns that thawing permafrost could mean the loss of control of ever being able to manage climate change. Elsewhere, he urged investors to use their voice to bring about change.

The impact of climate change is already material said Dr Philip Duffy, president and executive director of Woodwell Climate Research Center.

Speaking at ‘Sustainability Digital: A Planet in Trouble,” he said that increasing wildfires, hurricanes and rising sea levels are all signs of change with profound economic and social consequences.

Last year’s extreme hot and dry weather in California is a continuation of a trend feeding into wildfires, while storms in the north Atlantic and rising tides and flooding are also part of a long-term trend. In Australia, trends in wildfires will evolve, threatening the east of the country, the most populated area with the highest vegetation. In the Mediterranean additional months of drought every year will lead to water scarcity, fire risk and have an impact on human migration. Duffy also warned of the impact of rising temperatures on crop failures.

Unstoppable momentum

Melting permafrost will also have a “major impact on life on earth,” said Duffy, who works with governments – as well as some institutional investors including CalPERS and OTPP – to help inform policy decisions. Permafrost is thawing as the Arctic warms, emitting carbon dioxide and methane in a vicious circle whereby the more the frost thaws, so it speeds up the thaw.

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