A more scientific approach appears in the April edition of National Geographic, which lists the things everyone should know about climate change. Last year was the warmest on record, "1.69 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average," the magazine reports. Warming trends didn't come from one or two sources, but from thousands of weather stations, buoys, ships and satellites. "No natural cause explains the half-century warning trend. The sun's output cycles up and down every 11 years; volcanic eruptions sporadically cool the planet. Meanwhile, human-emitted greenhouse gases form a steadily thickening blanket that traps heat at the Earth's surface."
Nine of 10 scientists agree that climate change is occurring and they have the data to back it up, National Geographic reports. Ice is melting fast, sea levels are rising and the weather is getting more intense, led by an increase in heat waves, droughts and flooding.
Climate change has negatively affected wildlife, as rising temperatures depress some animal and plant populations, "driving species toward the poles, shifting migration and patterns," the magazine reports. That has led to extinction of some species, with regions being transformed, ice loss forcing some animals to land, alpine ecosystems being squeezed off mountaintops and warming ocean temperatures triggering coal bleaching and die-offs at reefs.
Overall, 47 percent of species surveyed in a 2016 study "had vanished from areas they'd previously occupied on the warm edge of their range." A 2015 study found that 16 percent of species risk global extinction if the climate warms by eight degrees, which could occur by 2100 if emissions are not cut.
The main thing to take away from climate change is that we can do something about it, National Geographic says. "The cost of solar energy is plummeting. Even without a carbon tax, renewables soon may be cheaper sources of electricity." A 2016 study found that every ton of CO2 we emit melts 32 square feet of Arctic ice, or 525 square feet annually. National Geographic notes, "Every energy-saving building, retired gas-guzzler and acre of preserved forest helps. But none of it will help much if the world doesn't switch to carbon-free energy support soon."
UPDATE, April 4: Some leading Democratic members of Congress urged teachers to throw the books away, Hanna Hess of Greenwire reports.