During the past century global temperatures increased by approximately 0.7 degrees Celsius. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the pace of climate change is now such that even in a ‘best-case’ scenario, further increases of at least 1 degree are expected by 2050. According to the IPCC, current emissions are already nearing the limit required in 2015 to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius; the level UNDP defines as a “a reasonable and prudent long term objective for avoiding dangerous climate change”. In the absence of swift action to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increases of a minimum of 3 degrees by 2050 can be expected. i However, the effects of climate change can already be seen. They impact the lives of millions of people and will increasingly do so.
Climate change already is increasing the frequency and intensity of natural hazards – particularly floods, storms, and droughts – and changing the morbidity patterns of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, which increase the vulnerability of populations and are major killers in emergency settings. These trends are predicted to accelerate.
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