It’s a scientific fact: Global warming has been taking place for many decades now. The strongest hypothesis explaining this climatic shift, supported by a mountain of independent studies using different techniques, is that industrial activities by human beings are to blame.
Every year, the negative consequences of climate change become more evident. This year, volatility in the weather, with extreme heat followed by a normal cold snap, has devastated fruit orchards in the northern United States. This month, I’ve walked through peach orchards without a single fruit growing on any branch. In my back yard, an apple tree is barren, and my currant bushes are almost completely devoid of the little growing berries I expect at this time of year.
The economic harm is direct: There is less healthy food for us to eat. Fruit prices this autumn are going to be much higher than normal. The agricultural benefits of global warming that corporate polluters predicted years ago are not materializing.
Yesterday, the world received more reason to worry. The International Energy Agency reported that carbon emissions from fossil fuels increased by a gigaton last year, a 3.2 percent increase that made last year’s carbon emissions from coal, oil, and natural gas the highest ever in human history.