Aggressive emissions cutbacks would drop heat waves in half in 20 years

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2017-04-07

Enlarge (credit: Kevin Frayer)

One of the challenges of driving action on climate change is the gap between taking action and seeing any benefits. We'll have to act now to limit greenhouse gas emissions if we want to limit total global warming to less than 2°C and minimize negative effects. Yet most indications are that the benefits of these efforts may not be noticeable for decades, and they will only increase gradually with time.

For some, this notion may reduce the sense of urgency for developing effective, comprehensive climate-mitigation plans. This complacency is present in parts of the world where climate change is already wreaking havoc through alterations in extreme weather events.

Given the rising number of extreme weather events, a team of scientists recently explored the time frame required to see a positive influence of cutting down our carbon emissions. In an investigation recently published in Nature Climate Change, scientists looked into how quickly benefits of climate mitigation strategies—meaning dropping CO2 emissions—reduce the risk of heat waves.

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