Top scientists say global warming is triggering ecosystem changes around the globe

The natural world is already getting knocked around by climate change, the world’s top climate experts said today. In the second of four reports being released this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the group looked at the impacts of global warming, both present and projected, and said we can expect more big floods, droughts, wildfires, species extinctions, and mass migrations. Most vulnerable are the Arctic, sub-Saharan Africa, small islands, and Asian river deltas, but the report also predicts flash floods for Europe and heat waves for North America. “It’s the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people even in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hit,” said IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri. The report was written by hundreds of scientists and reviewed by government officials; negotiations over the final wording got heated during an all-nighter last night (though you’d think they could’ve just scrawled “apocalypse” on some scratch paper and been done with it). Several scientists accused government negotiators of watering down the report, making it, in the words of one, “much less quantified and much vaguer and much less striking than it could have been.” We’re plenty struck, thanks.