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British Academy President Lord Stern responds to publication of UN climate change report

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British Academy President Lord Stern has today responded to the publication of the UN climate change report.

In his role as Chair of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE, Lord Stern said: "This comprehensive report lays out very clearly the evidence that climate change is already having many impacts across the world, including effects on human deaths from extremely hot or cold weather, crop yields, the availability of water from shrinking glaciers, and the distribution of plant and animal species.

"These are all happening after less than 1 centigrade degree of global warming. While people in all countries will need to make themselves more resilient to those impacts that cannot now be avoided over the next few decades, the potential risks from unmitigated climate change towards the end of this century and into the next will be very severe, particularly if global warming exceeds 2 centigrade degrees.

"The report warns that, during this century, climate change will increase the risk of human populations being displaced to escape shifts in extreme weather, such as floods and droughts, as well as relatively slow-onset impacts, such as desertification and sea level rise. This report presents a stark case for sharply reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to avoid potentially catastrophic impacts, such as the irreversible melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the resultant rise in sea level, to which we will not be able to make ourselves fully resilient and which lie outside the evolutionary experience of modern Homo sapiens."

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