The world has squandered so much time mustering the action necessary to combat climate change that rapid, unprecedented cuts in greenhouse gas emissions offer the only hope of averting an ever-intensifying cascade of consequences, according to new findings from the United Nations.

Already, the past year has brought devastating hurricanes, relentless wildfires and crippling heat waves, prompting millions of protesters to take to the streets to demand more attention to a problem that seems increasingly urgent.



The Trump administration released on Nov. 23 a long-awaited report outlining that climate change impacts “are intensifying across the country.” (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)



A Washington Post analysis this year found that roughly 20 percent of the world has already warmed to troubling levels … The United States’ energy-related CO2 emissions rose 2.7 percent last year … as the Trump administration continued to roll back Obama-era climate regulations and made clear that the United States, once a leader in pushing for climate action, will withdraw from the Paris accord in 2020.

On Monday, the intergovernmental World Meteorological Organization reported that levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had hit a record high and that the trend “means that future generations will be confronted with increasingly severe impacts of climate change.”


The report also found that cutting greenhouse gas emissions could do more than just mitigate climate change. It also could reduce air pollution, improve public health and help conserve wildlife.