General Article We can’t stop climate change, but we can (still) avoid the worst-case scenario

Topic Selected: Climate Change Book Volume: 426

By Christian Morris

Life on Earth is, in itself, a miracle. The conditions produced by the delicate balance of Earth’s planetary systems has allowed modern humans to flourish and thrive over thousands of years. But, while we relish in the gifts this planet has given us, the fragile systems that sustain us – and all other life on this planet – are in peril.

Right now, the Earth is the hottest it’s been in 12,000 years as a direct result of anthropogenic climate change. Humans have gravely altered our climate through the burning of fossil fuels and the degradation of ecosystems – such as rainforests, wetlands, and oceans – that have an innate ability to mitigate excess planet-warming gases.

While a shift in our climate is all but guaranteed due to our history of polluting the atmosphere, the latest research indicates that humans can still control just how bad the climate crisis gets. As of today, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere sits at 413 parts per million (ppm)...

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