A report based on the work of more than 100 scientists warns damage to oceans and glaciers from climate change is outpacing the ability of governments to protect them.
The impact on B.C. is predicted to be massive, with coastal floods that used to occur once a century becoming annual events by 2060.
The international scientific panel presented the report on Wednesday at a conference in Monaco.
Finalized on Tuesday in a last 27-hour session of talks between authors and representatives of governments, the report is the culmination of two years of work by the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It also warns water availability across Western Canada will be disrupted and that plants that nurture sea life off both coasts will be at high risk
Canada’s Arctic communities will face problems with food security, water resources, water quality, health and well-being and transportation.
“We are in a race between two factors, one is the capacity of humans and ecosystems to adapt, the other is the speed of impact of climate change. This report … indicates we may be losing in this race. We need to take immediate and drastic action to cut emissions right now,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.
Compiled by more than 100 authors who crunched 7,000 academic papers, the study documents the implications of warming oceans, fast-melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, and shrinking glaciers for more than 1.3 billion people living in low-lying or high mountain regions.
The report projects sea levels could rise by one metre by 2100 — 10 times the rate in the 20th century — if emissions keep climbing. Looking further forward, the rise could exceed five metres by 2300.
With files from CBC and Canadian Press