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— World Economic Forum (@wef) August 11, 2017
Globally, the mean rate of sea level rise increased 50% in the last two decades. In 2017, temperatures have already reached their highest levels in history in some areas, from California to Vietnam. And the past three years were the hottest on record.
In a new open letter, six prominent scientists and diplomats, including former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and physicist Stefan Rahmstorf, wrote that the world has approximately three years before the worst effects of climate change take hold. Published June 28, the letter urges governments, businesses, scientists, and citizens to address the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions now.
If emissions can be permanently lowered by 2020, global temperatures will likely avoid reaching an irreversible threshold, they wrote. Impacts would include rapid deforestation, floods from rising sea levels, and unpredictable weather shifts that could ravage agriculture and affect life on the coasts, where the vast majority of people live.