It looks far more wretched than before. For years now, environmental scientists have raised awareness about the grave nature of climate change and its awful consequences for life on earth. The problem is expected to grow substantially worse unless, as rightly proposed, greenhouse emissions are brought under swift control. The report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate change, is anything but reassuring. Ice caps are melting, water supplies are quickly drying out, heat waves are growing severe, coral reefs are vanishing and mass migration of creatures is taking place at an alarming rate.

The report opens on a sombre note: “Human interference with the climate system is occurring.” And it’s true. Carbon dioxide ejected from our cars and power plants add to the acid level of oceans which subsequently affects those living in coastal communities. Man-generated pollution has long crossed tolerable levels and is now endangering lives, of both humans and animals. The most threatening result of climate change, scientists fear, will directly hit the economically vulnerable. In simple words, tectonic changes to the Earth come at a heavy price: Food security becomes scarce, poverty reduction will be increasingly difficult to attain, hotspots of hunger will sprout in impoverished countries at even more cancerous rates. Survival becomes a bloodied affair.

But that’s just not it. Scientists are urging sociologists and political scientists to view climate change as more than just an environmental issue. The report by the IPCC cites a highly potent possibility of armed conflict particularly in the global south, indirectly bestowed by climate change, over land and other resources. In our neighborhood alone, the glaciers will continue to shrink in the Himalayas which will impact the availability of water for agrarian purposes in the majority of South Asia and China. However, for many others, the suffocating repercussion of the future is already spreading its deadly roots in daily lives. In Tanzania, East Africa sporadic rainfall means prolonged dry spells that kill maize crops, wells and streams. Nicaragua, Vietnam, central Philippines, Alaska and even New York can feel the onset of an apocalypse.

Unless the global community incorporates climate-change adaptation at a governmental level, things won’t get better. The naive will argue that the IPCC report is merely sensationalist but for those living in the cross-hairs of an enraged Mother Earth, the harrowing future is already here.