Speed Reads

Climate change

U.N.: Climate change poses 'severe, pervasive, and irreversible' dangers to Earth

The accelerating dangers of climate change are so profound that a failure to swiftly rein in greenhouse gas emissions will send the planet hurtling toward "severe, pervasive and irreversible" consequences, according to a new United Nations report.

Adopted Saturday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 175-page report is the fifth and final document to emerge from the group since 1990. And it warns in the starkest terms yet that humans are causing global warming and that the ramifications are no longer theoretical but are already being felt in the form of warming oceans, "unprecedented" levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and extreme weather patterns.

“Science has spoken," U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon said Sunday in announcing the report. "There is no ambiguity in their message."

"Time is not on our side," he added.