Monks look at solar panels in Ladakh, India in 2017. Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Our future on this planet is totally, irrevocably, screwed. That would seem to be the message from last week’s major UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report . Without societal changes unprecedented in human history and trillions of dollars of new spending, it argued, humankind is to set to blow past the climate target of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial temperatures scientists see as the threshold of total environmental chaos. “The report shows that we only have the slimmest of opportunities remaining to avoid unthinkable damage to the climate system that supports life as we know it,” explained Amjad Abdulla, an IPCC board member. With Donald Trump in the White House, and Congress controlled by Republicans who have spent years blocking action on climate change , our odds of ensuring planetary survival look even slimmer. Yet in early October I spent several days with an Australian scientist who argues we may be less screwed than many people think. “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a data-driven optimist,” said Martin Green from the University of New South Wales. Here’s what the data are telling […]

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