World’s deserts will become more desert-y, says U.N.

Happy World Environment Day — we got you some bad news! As climate change progresses, desert temperatures will rise up to 12.6 degrees F by the end of the century; rainfall in most deserts will decline by up to 20 percent; water will become scant, or too salty to drink or use for crops. So warns a chipper new United Nations report, anyway. These changes could endanger the globe’s 500 million desert-dwellers and a variety of rare animals, including our new favorite, the Asian houbara bustard. Desert regions account for nearly a quarter of the globe’s total land surface and house cities like Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Phoenix, Ariz. The U.N. warns of conflict over increasingly scarce resources in desert areas. One bright side (ha ha): deserts could boom in solar power. With today’s technology, a 250,000-square-mile area of the Sahara could generate enough solar energy to power the entire world.