One of the concerns that climatologists have about trends in warming is the worry that we are not doing enough now to minimize the warming we are likely to see in the future. For every degree that our temperature rises, impacts are likely to increase by a larger amount. That’s why it is important for all of us to work to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases now, because every tenth of a degree we can keep the temperature from rising is a reduction in future impacts on our children and our earth. The 5th National Climate Assessment (NCA5) addressed the differences in impacts between a temperature increase in 1.5 degrees C compared to 3.0 degrees C to show how much worse the impacts will be. It will be harder to adapt to these more extreme conditions than the warming that is already “baked into” the system by greenhouse gases that have already been emitted in the past.

Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, like switching to more efficient engines and more electric vehicles, improving carbon capture in the soil by growing cover crops (this also improves soil fertility, which cuts the need for fertilizer that also produces greenhouse gases), and using smart irrigation to reduce the need for irrigation and the pumping of water by diesel pumps. Many of these techniques have the added advantage of reducing costs to farmers, which improves their bottom line. You can read more about the findings in NCA5 in this article by National Public Radio.