8. Why has the public misunderstood the urgency of climate change?

There are many signs that the climate is already changing. Yet some think that climate change is only going to happen by the end of the century. Because of this common misunderstanding, the urgency of climate change has been misunderstood by most.


The end of the century is the timeframe often used by climate scientists to project changes in the average weather (temperature, precipitation and wind conditions) over a long period of time (usually, 30 years). Using climate models, scientists also analyze how the climate is projected to change decade by decade throughout this century.


Climate change is happening now, and much faster than anticipated. The evidence is what most have been experiencing as unusual weather events, such as changes in average rain patterns leading to floods or droughts, more intense storms, heat waves and wildfires, among others daily examples[1]. Some of these impacts of climate change already had devastating effects on livelihoods, infrastructure and lives.





[1] IPCC, AR5, WG II, Summary for Policymakers (2014)