What are the scientists saying? #ActOnClimate

Here’s a look at the past year in climate from Quartz (Christine Russell). Click through and read the whole article, here’s an excerpt:

Well, what are the scientists saying?

The answer, of course, is that they have been warning about severe global impacts from climate change for more than three decades. But over the past 12 months those warnings have intensified. Reports detailing the massive environmental, economic, and human consequences of unfettered global warming have come at a fast and furious pace. And, collectively, they are far scarier than the sum of their parts…

The deluge began last October, with the release of a special report from the United Nations’ global climate science authority, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), on the potential impacts of a rise in global temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius or more…

In November, the United States’ Fourth National Climate Assessment, produced by government and outside experts, reinforced the gloom-and-doom message of the October IPCC report…

A December report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that emissions from fossil fuel-powered electricity, transportation, and other sources are “a major contributor to health-damaging air pollution, which every year kills over seven million people…

Just as the disastrous future impacts of climate change were coming into clearer focus, we also received sobering news about the present. Last December, the Global Carbon Project projected that carbon dioxide emissions worldwide reached an all-time high in 2018, up more than two percent after three years of almost no growth…

Alarm bells about climate change impacts in the Arctic sounded throughout the year. In April, a NASA-funded study of the Greenland ice sheet, published online on Earth Day, found the mass loss of ice discharged into the ocean from glaciers on the world’s largest island had increased six-fold since the 1980s…

A little-publicized Stanford University study, also released on Earth Day, found that global warming from fossil fuel use “very likely exacerbated global economic inequality” over the past 50 years…

In May, a landmark UN biodiversity report provided another stark statistic: One million animal and plant species on Earth are threatened with extinction, and rates of extinction are “accelerating.”

[…]

In August, on the heels of record-breaking global heat waves, from South Korea to northern Norway, another major IPCC special report called attention to land-related climate change threats. It found that “climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions” of the world…

The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference—the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP25) to the UN climate treaty—will once again put pressure on delegates from nearly 200 nations to deliver concrete action on promises made under the 2015 Paris Agreement. (COP25 was set to be held in Santiago in early December before the Chilean government abruptly pulled out of hosting the event.) The disappointing substantive and political outcomes of the September summit in New York, particularly the lack of stronger commitments from big carbon emitters like China, India, and the US, mean expectations are low. The leadership vacuum left by American President Trump, with his strident pro-fossil-fuel rhetoric and planned exit from the Paris Agreement, makes things worse.

But don’t underestimate the persistence of Greta Thunberg and the growing Fridays for Future youth movement she inspired. An estimated 7.6 million people protested worldwide during September’s UN Climate Week. Strike organizers are planning a major global protest on Black Friday directed at COP25 decision-makers.

In her emotional speech at the UN Climate Action Summit, Thunberg chastised world leaders for failing to act on climate change: “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.” Her angry phrase “How Dare You?” went viral on social media, and millions viewed the video of Thunberg’s speech on YouTube. This plucky young activist is likely to deliver a similarly strong message at COP25, pushing the scientific case for significant government action now to help protect her generation and others in the future.

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