IPCC Report Another Wake Up Call for Immediate Climate Action
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its latest assessment of what science is telling us about the state of our planet. Researchers are more certain than ever before that humans are causing climate change and that some of its most dangerous impacts are accelerating faster than expected.
Many Americans already know this to be true. We have seen our own communities pummeled by more intense and more frequent heat waves, droughts and storms. But even as we witness one record-breaking event after another, we count on scientists to interpret the larger trends. The IPCC is the most authoritative group in the business.
More than 600 researchers from 32 countries reviewed more than 9,000 peer-reviewed studies for this report. They produced 2,000 pages of scientific analysis and worked through 56,000 comments. The assessment they produced is sweeping, comprehensive and inescapable.
The science is clear: we are gambling with the well-being of our kids and future generations.
Pollution from human activities is changing the Earth’s climate. We see the damage that a disrupted climate can do: on our coasts, our farms, forests, mountains and cities. Those impacts will grow more severe unless we start reducing global warming pollution now.
The IPCC panel noted, for instance, that seas could rise by three feet by the end of this century if we don’t rein in dangerous carbon pollution. Imagine what this could mean. Children born today might witness Miami becoming part of the Everglades, New Orleans sinking underwater and parts of New York looking more like Venice.
Some naysayers have pounced on reports that the rise in surface temperature was slower in the past 15 years than over the past 50 years. They leap from this to an unscientific claim that global warming is no longer a threat. The world’s scientists know this is nonsense.
Researchers will continue to refine the details of the interplay between natural cooling cycles and human-caused warming. But here is what we already know: the planet has not cooled. It has continued to warm, and the last decade was the hottest on record since 1850—even with two cooling cycles of La Niña.
Treating a temporary slowdown as a miracle that will save us from climate disruption would be the height of folly. The science tells us that if we fail to reduce global warming pollution, global temperatures will rise to dangerous levels and unleash devastating extreme weather events and accelerate destructive sea level rise. A few years of steady temperatures at record high levels won’t prevent the collision that awaits us.
Regardless of whether our car is speeding at 90 miles an hour or 85 miles an hour, we are still in the danger zone. The time has come to put on the brakes.
The single most important thing we can do to protect our communities from climate change is to reduce dangerous carbon pollution. Here in the U.S., power plants account for the largest source of these emissions—40 percent—yet plants are free to pump as much carbon as they want into the atmosphere. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to end the era of unlimited carbon now.
The Obama administration has begun this process. Last week it proposed the first-ever carbon limits for new power plants. Now it is preparing similar limits for existing power plants. States and utilities will likely have a great deal of flexibility in how they meet the standards for existing plants, including investing in energy efficiency, renewable power and carbon capture technology. Natural Resources Defense Council’s analysis shows that this approach can cut fleet-wide carbon pollution 26 percent by 2020 and save people money on their monthly electricity bills. It could also create a net increase of 210,000 jobs in 2020. That’s a great investment for today and tomorrow.
As we chart our path forward, we must always use science as our guide. Right now the evidence is sending a clear and resounding signal: act now to reduce carbon pollution and ensure our children inherit a more stable climate.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
By Itai Vardi
A recent intensification in protests against Williams Partners' planned Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania prompted a state senator to propose legislation aimed at limiting demonstrations.
Last month, Pennsylvania Sen. Scott Martin (R-Norman) announced his intention to introduce legislation that would pass the costs of law enforcement responding to protests onto the demonstrators. Martin also helped introduce a different bill that would criminalize protests at natural gas facilities.
The so-called "first and last mile" problem is one of the biggest hurdles with public transportation. How do you encourage more people to take Earth-friendlier commutes when their homes are miles away from the train or bus station?
One solution, as this Estonian electric scooter company proposes, is to simply take your commute with you—literally. Tallinn-based Stigo has developed a compact e-scooter that folds to the size of a rolling suitcase in about two seconds.
[Editor's note: I'm still in shock after hearing the news that Lucia Grenna passed away in her sleep last week. When we first met in April of 2014 at a Copenhagen hotel, I was immediately taken by here powerful presence. We spent the next couple days participating in a Sustainia climate change event where Lucia presented her audacious plans to connect people to the climate issue. I had the chance to partner with Lucia on several other projects throughout the years and work with her incredible Connect4Climate team. I was always in awe of her ability to "make the impossible possible." Her spirit will live on forever. — Stefanie Spear]
It is with a heavy heart that Connect4Climate announces the passing of its founder and leading light, Lucia Grenna. Lucia passed peacefully in her sleep on June 15, well before her time. We remember her for her leadership and extraordinary ability to motivate people to take on some of the greatest challenges of our time, not least climate change.
By Stacy Malkan
Neil deGrasse Tyson has inspired millions of people to care about science and imagine themselves as participants in the scientific process. What a hopeful sign it is to see young girls wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words, "Forget princess, I want to be an astrophysicist."
As Trevor Noah noted during The Daily Show episode last night (starts at 2:25), the real reason Trump has these rallies is to "get back in front of his loyal crowds and feed of their energy." Noah believes that "Trump supporters are so on board with their dude he can say anything and they'll come along for the ride."
By Katie O'Reilly
Two years ago—long before coal became one of the most dominant and controversial symbols of the 2016 presidential election—Bloomberg Philanthropies approached production company RadicalMedia with the idea of creating a documentary exploring the U.S. coal mining industry. Last spring, they brought on Emmy-nominated director Michael Bonfiglio, tasked with forging a compelling story out of the multitudes of facts, statistics and narratives underlying the declining industry.