The Guardian view on accelerating global heating: follow the science | Editorial

A new database of extreme weather studies makes clear how far policymaking is lagging behind the reality of climate chaos

The scientists behind a new database of more than 400 extreme weather attribution studies have performed an essential service. This piece of work, drawing together every study of this type, ought to galvanise a greater sense of urgency around policymaking and campaigning. It shows that intense heatwaves, hurricanes, droughts and floods have all been made far more likely by greenhouse gas emissions, which trap the sun’s heat and put more energy into weather systems. And it spells out the alarming unpredictability as well as the extent of global heating’s consequences.

Until the early 2000s, when the first attribution studies were published, it was harder to link CO2 in the atmosphere with global heating’s tangible effects. Thanks to a growing body of research, now we know. The record-breaking “heat dome” over north-western Canada and the US last summer would have been almost impossible without human-caused climate change. The same is true of heatwaves across the northern hemisphere in 2018, and in Asia in 2016.

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Source : The Guardian view on accelerating global heating: follow the science | Editorial