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  • 12.21.15

We’re Screwed, But At Least We Admit It Now: 2015 In Climate Change

The Paris climate deal and everything that came before.

When a farmer is growing kale in the melting Alaskan tundra, you know the world is in trouble.

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2015 was the hottest year since the fossil fuel era began (the second hottest was 2014), and more places around the world are seeing the effects of rising temperatures, from sea-level rise flooding small islands to violence and drought.

But more than ever, societies started to take the serious steps needed to find solutions and turn back rising emissions in 2015. Almost all of the world’s nations agreed to a binding climate treaty in Paris in December (even if it doesn’t go far enough), and the fossil fuel divestment movement grew stronger and stronger while the coal sector tanked. Pope Francis issued an encyclical that said tackling climate change is a moral imperative for 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.

Will 2015 be the year the world hit peak carbon? Will the growing renewable energy sector replace fossil fuels fast enough? These are questions we won’t have an answer to for a long time, and by the time we do, it may already be too late. At the least, governments should get prepared.

1: What—And Who—Are Actually Causing Climate Change? This Graphic Will Tell You

A handful of countries and one very big sector are at the root of nearly all our problems.

2: These States Are The Most (And Least) At Risk From Climate Change

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If there is one state that is especially screwed, it’s Florida.

3: Climate Change Is Making It Possible To Farm The Alaskan Tundra

For Alaskan farmers, there’s an upside to melting permafrost.

4: The Countries That Are Most (And Least) Prepared For Climate Change

Another reason to move to Norway.

5: Watch Out, Coal Companies: The Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Is Growing Incredibly Fast

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From a tiny start, a band of activists is getting more and more companies, schools, and funds to pull their money from carbon-creating energy stocks.

6: From Bar Fights To Wars, Climate Change Will Make Us More Violent

As the weather gets warmer and weirder, it’s going to be harder for everyone to just keep their cool.

7: 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change

If everyone got personal, practical, and political, then they just might have a big effect.

8: How Pope Francis Is Changing The Debate On Climate Change

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The world’s Catholics—and a lot of Catholic presidential candidates—have been put on notice that they need to stop damaging God’s creation.

9: Ikea Pledged $1 Billion To Fight Climate Change—And That’s Just A Small Part Of Its Green Agenda

From redesigning its products to giving developing nations aid, Ikea is a strong example of how big businesses can take climate change seriously. Also, vegan Swedish meatballs.

10: Climate Change Will Start Swallowing Small Islands Even Faster Than We Feared

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world live on tiny islands. Their homes are going to be gone in just a few decades.

11: No One Works When It’s Hot, So Climate Change Is Going To Ruin The Economy

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Even rich countries won’t escape the terrifying economic havoc wrought by the climate change they caused.

About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire.

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