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Heat waves, drought and floods: Dangers highlighted in the global climate change report

Here's what you need to know about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2022 report

ST. LOUIS — Thousands of scientists from around the world have released a report on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the 2022 assessment on the effects on ecosystems, biodiversity and humans.

"The report that came out today is 3,675 pages, it's exhausting," said Benjamin de Foy, Ph.D., a professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences at St. Louis University, "but it's also exciting."

All 3,675 pages are important, but the key points for St. Louisans are:

  • flooding
  • drought
  • heatwaves

Scientists with the IPCC are confident that more catastrophic weather events will happen if the earth continues to warm. 

"One of the things the report talks about is compounding effects," explains de Foy, "so it's not just one thing in isolation." 

Specifically, heatwaves and the urban heat island effect, something St. Louisans see every day and worsens in the summer. 

"These heat waves can be much more deadly," de Foy tells 5 On Your Side, "because we have large cities, very hot conditions in the summer, a lot of concrete and impervious surfaces that make those conditions harmful to people."

More people are going to die each year from heat waves, diseases, extreme weather, air pollution and starvation because of global warming, the report says.

Professor de Foy says it's important to start making changes now and that it's not all doom and gloom.

"I was walking along the Mississippi and saw a pair of nesting bald eagles just flying over the river. 60 years ago they were on the brink of extinction and it's scientists who sounded the alarm, scientists said ok we need to do something, politicians got on board, we had regulations and now these magnificent birds are making a comeback." 

He believes the earth too can make a comeback from climate change, through small changes we can make at home.

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