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Climate change and human survival

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 26 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2351

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. David McCoy, senior clinical lecturer 1,
  2. Hugh Montgomery, director 2,
  3. Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, president3,
  4. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief4
  1. 1Queen Mary University, London, UK
  2. 2UCL Institute of Human Health and Performance, UCL, London, UK
  3. 3BMA, London, UK
  4. 4BMJ, London WC1H 9JR, UK
  1. fgodlee{at}

The IPCC report shows the need for “radical and transformative change”

Next week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will publish its report on the impacts of global warming. Building on its recent update of the physical science of global warming,1 the IPCC’s new report should leave the world in no doubt about the scale and immediacy of the threat to human survival, health, and wellbeing.

The IPCC has already concluded that it is “virtually certain that human influence has warmed the global climate system” and that it is “extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010” is anthropogenic.1 Its new report outlines the future threats of further global warming: increased scarcity of food and fresh water; extreme weather events; rise in sea level; loss of biodiversity; areas becoming uninhabitable; and mass human migration, conflict and violence. Leaked drafts talk of hundreds of millions displaced in a little over 80 years. This month, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) added its voice: “the well being of people of all nations [is] at risk.”2 Such comments reaffirm the conclusions of …

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