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World needs to adapt to climate change - UN

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STORY: Climate change is upon us and humanity is far from ready, a report from the U.N. climate panel warned on Monday (February 28), whilst calling for drastic action on a huge scale.

The major report is the latest in a series by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) detailing the global consensus on climate science, and this one focuses on how nature and societies are being impacted and what they can do to adapt.

Hans-Otto Portner is the co-chair of the IPCC group behind it.

"There is a brief and rapidly closing window to secure a liveable future on the planet. We need to live up to this challenge. This is the decisive decade of climate action."

U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry lamented that too little has been done to adapt to climate change and said the report offered a "blueprint for action."

The IPCC said nearly half the world's population is already vulnerable to increasingly dangerous climate impacts, and a third to half of the planet needs to be protected to ensure future food and freshwater supplies, adding that coastal cities need plans to keep people safe from storms and rising seas.

But in some cases, the report acknowledges, the costs of adapting will be too high.

Governments drastically curbing emissions and adapting to a warmer world will take a lot of money, spent on financing new technologies and institutional support.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres says it is worth it.

"Investments in adaptation work. Adaptation saves lives. As climate impacts worsen, and they will, scaling up investment will be essential for survival. Adaptation and mitigation must be pursued with equal force and urgency." (0811 - 0.35)

The report's release comes three months after global leaders highlighted the urgency of efforts to contain global warming to within 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit of pre-industrial temperatures.

This latest warning says limiting global warming to close to 2.7 ℉ may not prevent losses to nature, societies or economies, but will substantially reduce them.