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The case for climate change realism

The case for climate change realism

It’s getting harder and harder to communicate the two essential realities of human-caused climate change: that our failure to slow and eventually stop it is contributing to devastating human suffering all over the world, and that it’s not too late to act.

The big picture: Experts have long told climate communicators —including scientists, journalists and politicians — that disaster porn immobilizes people, leaving them cowering in a corner. You've got to give them a sense of hope, the research shows.

Yes, but: Climate news right now continues to be a steady, terrible drumbeat of doom.

- During the past few months, we've seen an unprecedented, deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest that shocked veteran climate researchers, wildfires raging across the West well ahead of peak fire season, and cities and towns flooded in Europe, China and elsewhere.

- Each of these events has ties to climate change.
Why it matters: Climate change is not an existential cliff that we'll suddenly fall off of, with no turning back. It's more like a hill we're sliding down at ever-increasing speed.

- We can choose to alter course at any time by hitting the brakes and slashing emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, emanating from the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

- But the longer we wait, the faster we'll be traveling, and the more effort it will take to slow down and achieve the cuts that are needed. And we've already waited a long time to start pumping the brakes.

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