Climate Change: Humanity at a Crossroads
Climate change—or perhaps more aptly, climate breakdown—is the greatest challenge facing humanity today. Fossil fuel is entangled in every aspect of modern life, but burning it releases carbon dioxide, an invisible gas that warms the Earth via infrared absorption and remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years. By 2018, warming of about 1.2°C beyond the preindustrial baseline has already caused unacceptable impacts, but these impacts will worsen precipitously as warming proceeds. The previous decade saw progress in climate science, but it also saw a procession of devastating climate-change-related natural disasters affecting both humans and nonhumans. While humanity’s sense of urgency is growing, it remains far below the level required to avoid catastrophic warming that would threaten civilization as we know it.