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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

This week, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major new report on the feasibility of meeting a global warming target of 1.5°C, or 2.7°F, above preindustrial levels. It makes for sobering reading, and coverage of it was downright apocalyptic. (I'm as guilty as other reporters in focusing on the disturbing aspects.)

But, but but: There are other frameworks for climate change, including ones that focus on courage, resilience and opportunity. I asked three top climate scientists to comment on the new report in an email conversation. Here are some of their key points.

Reality check: Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech, said climate change is relevant to the here and now.

"What the 1.5°C report brings home is that the future is now. The choice is upon us," Hayhoe told me. "We don’t have all the Jetson-era technology we imagined we’d have when the chickens came home to roost. But the world is already changing."

"And yes, it is an opportunity — an opportunity to transform the very fabric of our society, from its current patterns of consumption that will soon exceed our planetary boundaries to one that is able to sustain our human civilization for millennia to come."
— Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University

The big question: Kate Marvel, a NASA climate scientist, discussed the need for facing climate change courageously, rather than getting depressed or scared.

"It makes no sense to give up now, even though the future seems very scary," Marvel said. She's unique in climate science for talking about how it feels to be studying this issue.

"It's OK to grieve over the things we've lost and will lose. But grief isn't the same as despair. We need to be brave enough to do the right thing."
— Kate Marvel, NASA

"Have you ever read a story where the hero decides not to go on the quest because it seems too hard?" she asked. "Of course not — we admire and respect those who have the courage to act, even without the guarantee of a happy ending."

Don't forget: Andrea Dutton, a scientist at the University of Florida, said it's important to remember that we all face a choice in determining our future.

"If we choose despair, then yes, that doom and gloom can be ours. But if instead, we find the courage to face our fears about the ways in which the future might be different, I am sure that we will be able to carve ourselves a new pathway to a better future."
— Andrea Dutton, University of Florida

Go deeper: Slaying the Climate Dragon, Kate Marvel's new climate fairytale, in Scientific American.

Go deeper

Virginia lawmakers vote to legalize marijuana in 2024

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Virginia on Saturday approved compromise legislation that would legalize marijuana in 2024, putting the state a step closer to becoming the first in the South to end prohibition on the drug, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Why it matters: The legislation will make Virginia the 16th state to legalize marijuana, per Politico. It would add to a slate of laws that have seen Virginia move in a more progressive direction during the tenure of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

14 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.