Headlines this week proclaimed the worst-case scenarios for climate change were "debunked" and "not credible". As you might expect, things aren't that simple. The stories were sparked by a study by Peter Cox at the University of Exeter, UK, and his colleagues, who attempted to work out how much warming will result from a given increase in carbon dioxide levels. Specifically, if we doubled CO2 levels in the atmosphere and waited for the temperature to stabilise, how much would the world warm? This is known as the equilibrium climate sensitivity, and climate scientists have been trying to work it out for decades.
Of course the heat is not a fluke. This has been coming for some time and it is time for all of us to get real about climate change. It is obvious that the positive steps that were made on a federal level are going to get tied up in ideological manipulation and childish bickering that hampers our progress.
Human-induced climate change has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes and has contributed to a widespread intensification of daily precipitation extremes (1, 2). But has it also made specific extreme weather and climate events--such as floods, droughts, and heat waves--more likely? Although it has been said that individual climate events cannot be attributed to anthropogenic climate change (3), a recent assessment by the National Academies of Science concludes that "this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement" (4). Robust event attribution can support decisions such as how to rebuild after a disaster and how to price insurance by quantifying the current risk of such events.
Students were planning a demonstration Friday outside Los Angeles' City Hall as part of a global day of action to demand that more be done to combat climate change. Friday's protest was part of an international youth movement calling for swift action to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects of human-caused climate change. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year saying that without dramatic steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air, global temperatures could reach a tipping point in only a dozen years. The report stated that, within a generation, the planet could see even more catastrophic wildfires, worsening food shortages and a mass die-off of coral reefs, among other effects. Students march along Market Street as part of a nationwide coordinated day of protest regarding what they perceive as a lack of action regarding #climatechange.