Hope Amid the Heavy

Quick Takeaway from the IPCC report

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Smoke and haze over a Yolo County neighborhood
A smoke-filled sky lingers above a Yolo County neighborhood. (Kat Kerlin, UC Davis)

It’s been a heavy month. Depending on where you live, you may have faced flood, fire or smoke in the past few days and weeks. You may have looked out your own back door at a world you only vaguely recognize. You may have sent your kids back to school with two masks—one for a pandemic and the other for wildfire smoke. It’s been rough.

Amid all this, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put out their major Sixth Assessment Report. I dreaded reading it. It told us that climate change is here to stay. Some of what we’ve set in motion will not stop in our lifetimes or ever.

Many people homed in on that message and felt their insides shrivel like a California aquifer. For me, that part wasn’t too surprising, as climate scientists have said as much for years, and a couple decades of covering climate has taught me to manage my expectations.

What I didn’t expect to see in that report, not really, was hope. It said that strong, sustained reductions in emissions can still limit climate change. We’d see benefits to air quality quickly, and a more stable climate by 2050 if we act now.

Take heart. Then take action.

UC Davis webinar on IPCC Report

You can hear what some of UC Davis’ top climate scientists think about the report in a webinar on Aug. 30, 11a.m. - 12p.m. PT, called “IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: Major Takeaways and Implications for Climate Adaptation Action.” Learn more at https://climateadaptation.ucdavis.edu.  

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Kat Kerlin is an environmental science writer and media relations specialist at UC Davis. She’s the editor of the “What Can I Do About Climate Change?” blog. kekerlin@ucdavis.edu. @UCDavis_Kerlin

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