Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Earth's average global temperature will likely warm anywhere from 4.1°F to 8.1°F (or 2.3°C to 4.5°C) if deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels continue at the current rate, the Washington Post reports, citing a major new study.

Why it matters: The best-case scenario of this estimate exceeds the previous minimum range first established in a 1979 report, which expected the planet to warm between 2.7°F and 8.1°F (1.5°C to 4.5°C) if the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were to double. The world is on track to hit that milestone within roughly the next 50 years, according the Post.

The big picture: 25 researchers in a four-year study — published in the Reviews of Geophysics journal Wednesday — found a 95% chance that doubling the amount of atmospheric CO2 would have dangerous ramifications, including intolerable heat waves and "disruptive" sea-level rise, according to the Post.

Details: The researchers used data from instrument records, paleoclimate records from ice cores and coral reefs that helped gauge prehistoric temperatures, and satellite observations to reach their findings, the Post's Andrew Freedman and Chris Mooney report.

The bottom line: It now appears "extremely unlikely" that Earth's global climate sensitivity "could be low enough to avoid substantial climate change" if carbon emissions continue unabated, according to the researchers.

Go deeper: 10 ways coronavirus is changing energy and climate change

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Amy Harder, author of Generate
Oct 15, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Inside BP’s nascent lobbying efforts on state climate policies

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

BP is dipping into its deep pocketbooks to help state-level climate proposals around the country.

Why it matters: Oil companies — European ones especially — have said in recent years they support climate policy, but there hasn't been much action behind the rhetoric. The fact that real lobbying efforts are underway suggests change is really afoot.

Oct 15, 2020 - Science

How to build forests to combat climate change

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Trees can help to combat climate change, but determining what to plant and where is complex — and whether to plant them at all is a growing debate.

The big picture: Protecting, planting and restoring forests can help offset global warming, but experts stress that greenhouse gas emissions still have to be dramatically cut to reach climate goals for the planet.

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities.

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