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We can adapt to climate change. Civilization has survived droughts and temperature shifts before.

Fact

Although humans as a whole have survived the vagaries of drought, stretches of warmth and cold and more, entire societies have collapsed from dramatic climatic shifts.The current warming of our climate will bring major hardships and economic dislocations - untold human suffering, especially for our children and grandchildren. We are already seeing significant costs from today's global warming which is caused by greenhouse gas pollution. Climate has changed in the past and human societies have survived, but today six billion people depend on interconnected ecosystems and complex technological infrastructure.What's more, unless we limit the amount of heat-trapping gases we are putting into the atmosphere, we will face a warming trend unseen since human civilization began 10,000 years ago. (IPCC 2001)The consequences of continued warming at current rates are likely to be dire. Many densely populated areas, such as low-lying coastal regions, are highly vulnerable to climate shifts. A middle-of-the-range projection is that the homes of 13 to 88 million people around the world would be flooded by the sea each year in the 2080s. Poorer countries and small island nations will have the hardest time adapting. In what appears to be the first forced move resulting from climate change, 100 residents of Tegua island in the Pacific Ocean were evacuated by the government because rising sea levels were flooding their island. Some 2,000 other islanders plan a similar move to escape rising waters. In the United States, the village of Shishmaref in Alaska, which has been inhabited for 400 years, is collapsing from melting permafrost. Relocation plans are in the works. Scarcity of water and food could lead to major conflicts with broad ripple effects throughout the globe. Even if people find a way to adapt, the wildlife and plants on which we depend may be unable to adapt to rapid climate change. While the world itself will not end, the world as we know it may disappear.

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