YOKOHAMA, Japan - International scientists on Tuesday kicked off a week-long meeting in Japan that is set to deliver dark predictions on the impact of climate change, warning of severe floods and droughts that could spark conflict and wreck economies.
Their report, set to be released on March 31, is part of a massive overview by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that is likely to shape policies and climate talks for years to come.
Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, to hammer out a 29-page summary that will be released at the end of the conference along with the full report.
A leaked draft of the report seen by AFP warns that rising greenhouse gas emissions will "significantly" boost the risk of floods -- with Europe and Asia particularly exposed -- while droughts will suck away renewable water supplies.
"Hundreds of millions" of coastal dwellers around the world will be displaced by the year 2100, the draft warns, while the competition for dwindling resources could even spark violent conflicts.
"I think everybody who works on the climate issue understands that climate change is truly one of the defining challenges of the 21st century," Chris Field, of the United States' Carnegie Institution for Science, told the event's opening ceremony.