1) The prevailing view or consensus on climate change within the worldwide scientific community is that our climate is warming.
2) Humans are seen as the principle cause of climate warming, primarily through our use of fossil fuels and our production of greenhouse gas emissions.
3) We have known since 1859 that carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important greenhouse gas, trapping heat from the Sun.
4) When atmospheric levels of CO2 were about 2 parts per 10,000, much of the planet was covered with ice. When it rose to about 3 parts per 10,000, the world’s glaciers melted to their current level. Thanks to our greenhouse gas emissions, we have increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere to over 4 parts per 10,000 (over 400 parts per million), which is radically increasing the temperature of the planet and causing glacial ice to melt and raising seal levels.
5) Remaining on our current course means continued emissions and worsening effects on our climate.
6) Transitioning away from fossil fuels for our energy and transportation needs will reduce the severity of future warming.
7) Five surveys of the peer-reviewed scientific literature from 1991 to 2015 found a total of 54,195 articles with an average consensus of 99.94% that human beings were primarily responsible for global climate change.
8) No national or international scientific body rejects the findings of human-induced effects on climate change.
9) Scientific studies have concluded that atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide, are currently higher than they have been for the last 3 million years, when temperatures were 4°–5°F higher and sea level was 50–80 feet higher than today.
10) Our Earth is warmer right now than it has been for the last 125,000 years. According to NASA, 18 of the 19 hottest years have occurred since 2001.
11) The five hottest years ever recorded occurred in the last five years (2014-2018). The 20 hottest years on record all occurred over the last 22 years.
12) Since the Industrial Revolution began, human activity has added over a half a trillion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere.
13) Human activity adds another 40 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year.
14) The atmospheric concentration of the CO2 has risen by about 43 percent since the Industrial Revolution began.
15) Scientists tell us the Earth has warmed over 1 degree Celsius and over 2 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the 1881-1910 baseline as a result of our production of greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to warm as we remain reliant on fossil fuels. Most of this warming has happened in the last 35 years.
16) If we remain on our current course, our planet could warm by as much as 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
17) As our climate warms, we are seeing increased heat waves and droughts, increased glacial melting, sea level rise, ocean acidification, stronger and more intense hurricanes, increased extreme weather events, and increased, more severe and more costly wildfires. This is expected to worsen as we continue on our current course.
18) Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since 1880 as a result of warming oceans and melting glaciers. A rise of another 6 feet by 2100 is possible, depending on how quickly we transition away from fossil fuels. This would clearly be disastrous for coastal cities. Warming oceans and sea level rise are implicated in damaging storm surges, more severe hurricanes and devastating coastal flooding. Ocean waters will continue to warm and sea level will continue to rise for many centuries regardless of what we do now, although the quicker we act, the better for our children and future generations.
19) If we continue on our current course, Redding, California will see an average increase of summer temperature from 95.14°F to 104.97°F by 2100. Redding is on its way to becoming more like La Quinta, California, which lies 600 miles south in the desert region of Southern California in the Coachella Valley. La Quinta is expected to also warm by about 10°F by 2100 and will become like modern day Kuwait City which currently suffers with an average summer temperature of 114.08°F.
20) Thanks to human-caused climate change, large wildfires in the United States burn more than twice the area they did in 1970, and the average wildfire season is 78 days longer. For each degree (Celsius) of warming in the western United States, projections show the median burned area per year will increase by as much as 600 percent in some types of forests. Research shows that as we burn fossil fuels and increase the temperature of the planet, spring is arriving much sooner, melting the winter snow, leading to hot, dry conditions that boost an increase in fire activity in some areas.
21) Not counting the Camp Fire that recently destroyed Paradise, California and killed at least 81 people, 14 of the 20 largest wildfires on record have occurred over the past 15 years. At the same time, the western US has experienced some of its warmest temperatures on record, with 10 of the past 15 years among the 15 warmest years on record.
22) Six of California’s ten most destructive wildfires on record have now struck in just the past three years. As we heat up the planet, the jet stream is slowing, which in turn increases heat waves in California and high-pressure ridges in the Pacific. These ridges deflect much-needed storms and help maintain the hot, dry climate which makes our wildfires more severe. In addition, Northern California only received an inch of rain, about 20 percent of normal this season. One study found that California’s rainy season will largely confine itself to the three months between December and February. This means a wildfire season that starts much earlier and ends much later.
23) The Carr Fire that burned over 1,000 homes in Redding, occurred during the hottest July on record and on a day that exceeded 110°F. There is a link between high temperatures and increased wind, both of which increase the severity of wildfires.
24) One study found that extreme drought and flooding will increase by at least 50 percent in this century. The increased moisture will increase growth of vegetation while the drought will dry it out, creating a massive amount of fuel for more wildfires in the future. Also, “Studies show that removing trees, either for commercial logging or as a fire-prevention strategy, can actually make fires more intense, leading to further destruction for both humans and wildlife.”
25) In 2018, the world’s leading climate scientists released a report based on over 6,000 published scientific papers warning humanity that we only have 12 years left if we hope to prevent the most severe impacts of global climate change. Studies suggest that allowing the Earth to warm beyond 1.5°C (2.7°F) “will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.” The authors of the landmark report say “urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target,” which they say is “affordable and feasible.” If we hope to leave a livable planet to future generations, we would need to reduce our carbon pollution by 45% by 2030 (only 11 years from now) and go completely carbon-free by 2050. “This would require carbon prices that are three to four times higher than for a 2°C target. But the costs of doing nothing would be far higher.”