UN Report Spotlights Global Warming

ENVIRONMENT

A draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was leaked this week. In it, the UN-affiliated group outlined the “near-certainty” that people are responsible for global warming, the current period of climate change. The report focused on the impacts of sea-level rise.

Many governments look to IPCC reports when charting policy relating to climate. This includes local measures, such as promoting green roofs; national laws, such as carbon taxes; and international agreements, such as the Kyoto Protocol, which limits carbon emissions. (National Geographic News)

Use our resources to better understand global warming, sea-level rise, and why these issues matter.

Sea-level rise is an impact of global warming. Rising temperatures cause ice to melt at the poles. As this polar ice melts, sea levels rise, causing floods in coastal areas. A storm surge on a Louisiana highway, above, shows the affects of sea level rise. Photograph courtesy NOAA

Sea-level rise is an impact of global warming. Rising temperatures cause ice to melt at the poles. As this polar ice melts, sea levels rise, causing floods in coastal areas. A storm surge on a Louisiana highway, above, shows the affects of sea level rise.
Photograph courtesy NOAA

Discussion Ideas

  • Read our encyclopedic entry on global warming. Can students identify some impacts of global warming? (The section “Effects of Global Warming” is on page two.)
    • rapid melting of glaciers and ice caps
    • sea-level rise (a key focus of the IPCC report)
    • oceans becoming less salty
    • increase in “climate refugees”
    • water shortages
    • changes in weather patterns
  • Can students explain how and why sea-level rise may impact coastal communities far from glaciers and ice caps? Watch our video “Why Melting Glaciers Matter to the Coast” for an easy primer.
  • Can students explain how and why melting glaciers and sea-level rise may impact inland communities? Review the sections on “Effects of Global Warming” and “Future Impacts” in our encyclopedic entry for some ideas.
    • Millions more people depend on glacial meltwater for drinking, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Rapid loss of these glaciers would devastate these communities.
    • Forced migration from flooded coastal regions would impact not only those areas, but the regions to which the “climate refugees” flee.
  • Read our encyclopedic entry on climate refugees, then look at our MapMaker Interactive. Can students identify some regions threatened by sea-level rise?
    • Should these regions create climate refugees, where do students think these climate refugees would go? Would they be internal migrants or be forced to migrate outside their home countries?
      • Most climate refugees would be internal migrants. Those fleeing their home country would most likely go to neighboring nations or those with welcoming immigration policies, such as the United States.
    • What conflicts do students predict between climate refugees and host communities? (The section “Refugee Status,” on page three, offers some ideas.)
      • As with any immigrant community, there will likely be conflicts over resources. Economic resources include jobs and access to health care. Educational resources include access to schools and materials (such as voting guides) in a refugee’s native language. Cultural resources include access to social, religious, or other customs unfamiliar to the native population.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s