In the lead-up to the world’s most important climate conference, COP26, this story set the table by answering a very simple question: What is at stake for humanity?
The story chronicles the various ways humanity can observe the warming climate: photos of extreme weather events already making regions unlivable; charts showing how close we are to catastrophic warming levels; and maps showing that virtually no community is safe from the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. Those visual indicators are punctuated with matter-of-fact prose that plainly explains the future we are hurtling toward. Voices of world leaders and top climate scientists are included, not only to talk about the data, but also to explain the existential ramifications of not taking action. “We are conducting an unprecedented experiment with our planet,” renowned climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said in the story. António Guterres, secretary general of the UN, said, “We are on a catastrophic path. We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future.”
Taken as a whole, the piece takes the most up-to-date information on climate warming, and finds that the “climate crisis” is no longer just a warning for the future told through numbers and projections, but rather an assessment of today.