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New climate change report shows impacts of a warmer planet

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Mar 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 20:38:21-05

PHOENIX — A major climate change report spells out the dire impacts a warmer planet will have on people and ecosystems.

Every five to eight years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- or IPCC --reviews thousands of scientific papers and releases an updated summary of the current understanding of climate change.

Carolyn Enquist was a leading author for one of the chapters in the report that looks at the negative impacts on people, plants, and animals. She's the deputy director of the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center at the Univesity of Arizona.

"Imagine hotter and drier and what that does--the pressure that puts on our ecosystems and water resources," she said about the future of the southwest region.

She said in Arizona, we're already seeing transformative changes. For example, we've had bigger and more severe wildfires that not only can destroy land and property but ultimately hurt the water supply.

"There's this cascading effect and synergistic effects of all these things together that make it really worrisome and why people in Arizona and the entire southwest need to be concerned," said Enquist.

Enquist said the good news is that many cities are finding solutions and ways to mitigate climate change...

This week in Tempe, city council voted up to adopt the 2022 Tempe Climate Action Plan, which is an updated version of its 2019 plan.

Braden Kay is the city's sustainability and resiliency director.

"We created four agendas," he said.

They're working with neighborhoods, businesses, young people, and nonprofits.

"There are two issues with climate change. There's the change that's happening and for us in our region is the heat. And then there's the lowering the contribution to climate change by lowering carbon emissions," said Kay.

The new plan includes things like catching rainwater to cool the city, improving transportation, and growing food access.

"If we're going to combat extreme heat and the overuse of fossil fuels it's up to business, it's up to industry, it's up to residents, we're all in this together," said Kay.

The city will need to approve funding for the programs.

Learn more about Tempe's Climate Action Plan.