Sep 18, 2019

Greta Thunberg to Congress: "Listen to the scientists" on global warming

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who arrived in the U.S. last month after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a carbon neutral ship, offered a 2018 report on the implications of climate change in lieu of an opening statement in her testimony before 2 congressional committees on Wednesday.

"My name is Greta Thunberg. I have not come to offer any prepared remarks at this hearing. I'm instead attaching my testimony. It is the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degree celsius, the SR 1.5, which was released on October 8, 2018. I’m submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists, and I want you to unite behind the science, and then I want you to take real action."

The big picture: The 2018 report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that global warming can be held to 1.5°C relative to preindustrial levels if countries take "unprecedented" action to stem greenhouse gas emissions.

  • But the consequences will be far more severe if temperatures go past that level of 1.5°C, or 2.7°F, of warming.
  • The report noted that there are already deadly impacts from the 1°C, or 1.8°F, of warming so far — including more severe and longer lasting heat waves, more heavy precipitation events, and ocean warming that is killing many of the planet's coral reefs.

Go deeper: More details on the IPCC's 2018 climate assessment

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Key science report shows "unprecedented" changes to oceans and frozen regions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Global warming is greatly transforming the planet's oceans and frozen regions, and future emissions levels will dictate how much additional harm unfolds this century and beyond, a major United Nations-led scientific analysis shows.

Why it matters: "The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise, and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe," the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a statement alongside Wednesday's report.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Greta's climate moment

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios - Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issue.

Thanks to Greta Thunberg, climate change stories generated 18 million interactions on social media over the last two weeks, the most for the issue this year by far, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: Climate change has lagged in generating significant online interest, even as it's taken on a great urgency among Democrats and young voters. The latest findings suggest the messenger matters.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019

The new generational war

Greta Thunberg. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

A decade after millennials' hopes and dreams faded with the Great Recession, Generation Z is taking to the streets to proclaim climate change their era's defining issue.

Driving the news: In New York, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg confronted world leaders Monday: "I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to [us] for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019