Back to Articles | « Previous | Next »
Home » From floods and wildfires to inaction and urgency: These are the top climate and weather stories of 2021

From floods and wildfires to inaction and urgency: These are the top climate and weather stories of 2021

From floods and wildfires to inaction and urgency: These are the top climate and weather stories of 2021

(CNN)The climate crisis took a catastrophic toll across the globe in 2021. From the Arctic to Louisiana and to China's Henan province, signs that climate change is already altering our weather were everywhere.

In the United States, historic flooding trapped and killed residents in submerged basements. In Canada, an entire town was erased by a wildfire fueled by extreme heat. Rain fell at the summit of Greenland for the first time.

As climate disasters mounted, the world aligned around combating the crisis: Scientists published a landmark report that concluded humans are unequivocally to blame; US President Joe Biden reentered the Paris Agreement in the early days of his administration; world leaders met at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, to negotiate solutions.

But promises were not met with action in 2021, and humans are pumping more planet-warming emissions into the atmosphere than ever. Experts now warn that the Earth is currently on track for 2.4 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels -- far beyond the critical 1.5-degree threshold that scientists say we should stay under.

This year's disasters are proof the climate crisis is intensifying and that the window is rapidly closing to slash our reliance on fossil fuels and to prevent changes that would transform life as we know it.

"What we think of as climate change is now becoming very personal," Jennifer Marlon, a climate scientist at the Yale School of the Environment, previously told CNN. "It's not far away anymore. It's now in our front yard, it's in our backyards, it's in our basements, it's even in our lungs as (we are) breathing smoke from these wildfires."

In August, precipitation at the typically snowy summit of Greenland fell as rain for the first time.


Promises were not met with action in 2021, and humans are pumping more planet-warming emissions into the atmosphere than ever.
Sticker