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When we talk about future climate change, our discussion often stalls at the uncertainties inherent in scientists’ statistical models and forecasts. These uncertainties are exploited by those—such as Myron Ebell, head of Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team—who reject the broad scientific consensus that humans are warming the Earth. Instead of developing plans to move to a greener, zero-emissions economy, we’re still arguing over the pace, causes, and consequences of climate change.

But we should stop treating the major impacts of climate change as if they are something that could happen in the future. As a recent paper in Sciencedescribes, climate change has already left a “broad footprint” on our planet.


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