As the world heats up, we’re seeing the effects in the oceans, which have absorbed about 90 percent
As the world heats up, we’re seeing the effects in the oceans, which have absorbed about 90 percent of the heat trapped by excess greenhouse gases since midcentury. Our colleague Kendra Pierre-Louis has written two warm-ocean articles since our last newsletter.One, with Nadja Popovich, looks at the increasing number of ocean heat waves and the damage they are doing to marine life. The other covers a study that says fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a major source of the world’s nutrition at risk.That’s more evidence that climate change is on the march. But in Washington, President Trump is increasingly isolated in his denial of climate science, even among some senior Republicans. He is still getting his way on environmental issues in Congress, however, most recently with the confirmation of Andrew R. Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.But activists are pushing the Democratic leadership to take on warming as a major issue. That hasn’t worked in the past, said David Axelrod, who was chief strategist to President Barack Obama. “Climate change, to our frustration, was never an issue that rung a bell with voters, particularly in the throes of coming out of an economic crisis,” he said. “But now we’re a decade down the road, and the road is surrounded by floods and fires in a way that is becoming more and more visible.”More visible, yes — but still open to a degree of rhetorical twisting. Brad Plumer explored the “weather wars,” in which scientists are increasingly comfortable explaining the links between extreme weather events and climate change, but every cold snap gets trumpeted by those who deny the scientific evidence for global warming.Another recent study suggested that people may become inured to weather extremes over time. The researchers looked at billions of messages on social media and found that when weather extremes occurred repeatedly, people were less likely to comment about them online. Researchers suggested that this phenomenon might limit the public’s willingness to support action on global warming.Well, you might ask, which is it? Will climate change shift the goal posts of normality, or will there be louder calls for action? The 2020 presidential race might help sort that out.
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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Senator Cory Booker. Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman, via Associated Press; Karen Ducey, via Getty Images; Ethan Miller, via Getty Images
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