After the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month, it’s easy to feel demoralized. With everything else in the news, it’s also easy to focus on threats that are arguably more imminent, like the delta coronavirus variant. But the threat from the climate crisis is increasingly part of our everyday lives—and it’s going to get worse.
As a result of insufficient action over the past several decades, the next 30 years will bring more extreme weather and a temperature rise of at least 1.5° C, no matter what we do. But—and there is a very important but—collective action now will decide whether the future is even worse than the IPCC’s already grim forecast.
“The question now isn’t whether we’re going to avoid this,” says Professor Michael E. Mann, a leading climatologist at Pennsylvania State University who has been a proponent of recognizing and combating climate change. “It’s how bad are we willing to let it get.”