As communities across the United States continue to fall victim to drought, coastal flooding, and other impacts of extreme weather and climate change, leaders at the local and federal levels are beginning to take action. Local elected officials are signing pledges to create more climate-resilient communities and moving forward with adaptation initiatives, while President’s Climate Action Plan established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to support communities at the frontlines of climate impacts. Yet, there’s still an essential piece missing when it comes to comprehensively addressing climate change–Congressional action.
Three upcoming events, however, suggest that in at least one U.S. state, Congress may be starting to shift its attention to climate change impacts.
Years of Living Dangerously, a new Showtime series about climate change, turned its lens on how drought devastated the small town of Plainview, Texas in its first episode. In Plainview—and every other drought-stricken place across the United States—a precipitous drop in rainfall is only part of a much broader story. Underlying water stress is one important piece of that complicated puzzle. When drought strikes where baseline water stress is high, it exacerbates regions’ water woes.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) newest installment, Working Group III (WGIII): Mitigation and Climate Change, highlights an important message: It’s still possible to limit average global temperature rise to 2°C—but only if the world rapidly reduces emissions and changes its current energy mix.
We've outlined six things you need to know about the level of emissions reductions needed to rein in runaway warming.