PHOENIX — On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released the first part of its latest report which emphasizes the increasing confidence that human activities are increasing CO2 emissions and warming our planet.
“Eight years ago, we weren’t completely sure whether some of the extreme events we’re seeing were due to human-caused climate change. Now we’re pretty sure that that is the case,” says Jessica Tierney, an associate professor of Geoscience at the University of Arizona.
She's also one of the authors of the report, stating that extreme weather events happening in the West, including prolonged heat waves and droughts, will continue if carbon dioxide emissions aren't cut soon.
“In fact, if emissions continue, then there is a very good chance that we’re going to see a level of drought and aridity that we haven’t seen in at least a thousand years.”
Those changes are already impacting our state's water supply. The Bureau of Reclamation will declare water shortages along the Colorado River this weekend for the first time, impacting our state's farmers.
“We have increased confidence that we’re going to see less flow through our river systems in the Western U.S., which means that we’re going to be even more prone to drought,” Tierney says, meaning a continuing strain on our water supply, if we don't act soon.
“We need to think hard about issues like water conservation and water storage in order to sort of weather through these increasingly extreme events.”
To read the full report, click here.