The 10 Reasons We've Been Too Slow in Responding to Climate Change, as Told by Sloths

04/02/2014 03:30 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2014

Scientists have been raising the alarm about climate change for decades now, with society not doing much about it. We've been so slow to respond, our mascot should be the sloth. Here are the top ten reasons we should take action on climate change.

1. There is no escaping climate change -- it's everywhere! Climate change impacts have been found on every continent and in most oceans -- and they are getting worse. That's right, there's no escape:

2. Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of many types of extreme weather. In many areas, more frequent intense rainfall events will increase the frequency of flooding. Globally, more people will be exposed to floods and economic losses due to flooding. It's also likely that presently dry areas will become more severely drought-stricken in a warmer world. So it's time to get started, and quit just scratching our asses:

3. We are still totally vulnerable to extreme weather. The devastating impacts of recent extreme events and extreme weather disasters show that our level of adaptation remains low -- we are basically sitting ducks falling sloths.

4. Lots of cute animals have migrated to new locations and changed the timing of their seasonal routines. This will persist as warming continues, and many species will be unable to move fast enough to adapt. Which is bad news for slo(w)ths...

5. Global warming + global agriculture = bad news bears and it's only going to get worse. Recent rapid increases in food prices show that markets are sensitive to climate variability. Potential benefits to warming in some localized regions will not be sufficient to offset the negative impacts. Which is to say it'll be harder to put food on the plate...

6. It's not a good time to buy a beach house. The IPCC's latest report will cite recent research that concludes that the world is locked in to at least 4 feet of sea-level rise over the next two thousand years. So instead of a beach house, maybe you should aim to buy a boat.

7. Global warming is increasingly risky. Among others the report finds that climate change will potentially lead to increased conflicts arising from stuff like mass population migrations or water shortages. While sloths get along great, people aren't always quite so happy to share.

8. If we don't act ASAP, we're going to pass 1.5 degrees C warming -- really screwed. World leaders have agreed to make 2 degrees C the goal of international climate negotiations, as beyond this point climate change impacts will begin to be totally sucky. Which is to say we shouldn't just hang around and watch 2 degrees C go by:

9. Climate change is bad for your health. In addition to all the ways it will mess up the planet we live on -- the IPCC will tell us that climate change is going to continue making sick people sicker and could lead to increases in incidence of food- and water-borne infections (aka diarrhea) and vector-borne diseases like Malaria and Dengue. Sick sloths are kinda cute, people less so.

10. Reducing carbon pollution rapidly and immediately can cut the overall economic damage of climate change by half. This finding puts the costs of climate mitigation into valuable context. Although mitigation will be costly, action now will drastically cut overall costs. So it's time we take Princess Buttercup's advice, and...

We hope you found this informative, bye!