Climate change negatively impacts around 85 percent of the world’s population spread over around 80 percent of all land, according to a study conducted in Germany. A team of researchers took advantage of machine learning (ML) technology to sift through some 100,000 climate change-related research papers published between 1951 and 2018 to come to this conclusion. The team was led by Max Callaghan of the Mercator Research Institute in Berlin.
According to the study, countries are experiencing the impact of climate change in different ways, such as heat waves, floods, forest fires and record temperatures, among others. The study also highlights significant changes in temperature and precipitation due to global warming.
“We have overwhelming evidence that climate change affects all continents, all systems,” Callaghan told AFP.
The researchers pointed out that the impact of climate change may well be much more serious because the research papers analyzed did not cover low-income countries and geographic areas. “The lack of evidence in individual studies is due to some places being studied less intensively, rather than a lack of impacts in areas,” the study said.
The study precedes COP25, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is due to start in Glasgow on October 31.
Regarding the limitations of the study, the researchers said the change in Earth’s systems could not be conclusively attributed to global warming. Additionally, ML technology can generate “false positives and other uncertainties” when processing information on such a large scale.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) called on governments to step up action on climate change, saying: “Burning fossil fuels is killing us. Climate change is the greatest health threat facing humanity. “
Despite this risk to humanity, countries distributed $ 5.9 trillion in subsidies for the production of coal, oil and gas in 2020, according to a study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The WHO added that environmental risks such as air pollution and exposure to chemicals kill 13.7 million people worldwide each year.