The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is not scheduled to release their next report on the status of Earth's climate until February of next year, but the French press has reviewed a draft of the report and if warns of terrifying consequences if we you don't act as soon as possible.
The report begins by acknowledging that we're already close to breaching the warming threshold agreed to under the Paris climate agreement, but the reports also details wider consequences that could happen sooner rather than later.
While earlier reports expected the Earth's climate could dramatically change by the year 2100, the new report brings that date forward to 2050 in some cases.
Recent research has shown that warming of two degrees Celsius could push the melting of ice sheets atop Greenland and the West Antarctic -- with enough frozen water to lift oceans 13 meters (43 feet) -- past a point of no return.
Other tipping points could see the Amazon basin morph from tropical forest to savannah, and billions of tons of carbon leech from Siberia's permafrost, fueling further warming.
In the more immediate future, some regions -- eastern Brazil, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, central China -- and coastlines almost everywhere could be battered by multiple climate calamities at once: drought, heatwaves, cyclones, wildfires, flooding. [...]
There is very little good news in the report, but the IPCC stresses that much can be done to avoid worst-case scenarios and prepare for impacts that can no longer be averted, the final takeaway.
Personally, I have more faith that the rest of the world will do what's necessary to prevent the worst from happening than I have in the United States. And it's not for a lack of means or willpower; it's Republican politics.
Americans are only ever four years away from electing another conservative nincompoop and Congress is periodically paralyzed by more immediate concerns about the next election cycle rather than what kind of world we're leaving behind for children and grandchildren. My young nieces will most likely live long enough to see some of the calamities outlined in the new IPCC report and I think about them every time we cross another threshold while Republicans obstruct every attempt to make progress.