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Friday, March 24, 2017

Climate change is happening now – here’s eight things we can do to adapt to it

Climate change is happening now – here’s eight things we can do to adapt to it

A little girl sits outside on her front stoop, watching the cars go by and the people trot to work in the early hours of the morning. She wears a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sneakers. Nothing is particularly shocking about this image, except the fact that it’s December in New York City (or Detroit, or London). In a “traditional” year, this girl would be wearing her winter coat, a hat that covers nearly her entire head, and potentially snow boots. But not in 2016. Or 2015. Or 2014. It’s simply too warm for all those clothes.

If, like many of us, you have the sense that seasons are changing, winters are milder, summers a bit warmer, springs coming earlier, and autumns not quite what they used to be, you’d be right. According to a report released today by the United Nations, 2016 was the warmest year on record, breaking the record previously held by 2015, and before that by 2014. Having three years of record-breaking temperatures is a clear trend that the climate is changing.

And the UN isn’t the only one to have noticed; Nasa, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the US, the UK’s Met Office, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Japan’s Meteorological Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and dozens of others have repeatedly stated that the global climate is changing and that society is now in “uncharted territory”.

Perhaps having slightly warmer temperatures sounds appealing. I must confess, I enjoyed walking around the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in February, basking in temperatures of 15C (60F). Yet it’s not quite that simple.

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