The review comes to three critical conclusions:
* Taken collectively, the studies suggest that the world may well have moved past a key physical tipping point.
* The science tells us the effects of climate change are at a scale that adds enormous urgency not only to the efforts to prevent additional change, but equally important, to efforts to adapt to the impacts already occurring.
* The science makes it clear that additional climate impacts will result even if emissions of greenhouse gases are halted immediately.
The issue brief reviews the implications of research on the Earth’s physical climate, its hydrological cycle, its ecosystems, and some developing technologies for climate change mitigation. More than 40 peer-reviewed studies from a wide body of scientific and technical literature – including key general-science journals, several technical journals, important Web sites, and data from international organizations – were reviewed in the preparation of this paper.
The brief is available for download from WRI at: