If you are a climate scientist, you are likely to hear the same question, again and again, from inquiring minds at weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthday parties and cocktail hours — are we screwed?
It’s a fair query. Experts have put forward a litany of bleak scientific reports outlining what climate change means for the future of life on Earth — forests incinerated by wildfires, farms laid bare by drought, cities submerged under rising seas. Those who skim the news coverage of such reports are often left to wonder if this is what will happen, or if this is merely what could happen should we fail to act.
The answer is complicated. This comic strip explains why.
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- “Carbon Is Forever,” Nature Climate Change
- “If We Stopped Emitting Greenhouse Gases Right Now, Would We Stop Climate Change?” The Conversation
- “UNEP: 1.5C climate target ‘slipping out of reach’,” CarbonBrief
- “CO2 Emissions (kt) — Russian Federation,” World Bank
- “New Study Says Even 2 Degrees of Warming ‘Highly Dangerous’,” Inside Climate News
- “‘Bleak’ U.N. Climate Report: World on Track for Up to 3.9 Degrees Warming by 2100,” Intelligencer
- “A World at War,” The New Republic
Matteo Farinella is a neuroscientist-turned-cartoonist who uses comics to explain science. You can follow him @matteofarinella. Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a nonprofit climate change news service. You can follow him @deaton_jeremy.