Pope Francis makes moral case for acting to fight global warming

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The buildup to Pope Francis’ planned encyclical on global climate change has begun, with the moral case for acting to combat manmade global warming taking center stage in a way it never has before

The encyclical, which is a papal letter sent to all bishops around the world, will likely come out next month, but Francis is already having an influence on the global debate about climate change

The pope’s involvement comes at a critical time for climate action, as global leaders work toward creating an entirely new framework for a bottom-up climate agreement that will involve every nation in the world committing to do their part to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. These gases, such as carbon dioxide, are causing temperatures to increase, sea levels to rise and polar ice sheets to melt. Read more…

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Summer heat waves may have roots in rapid Arctic warming

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Before the summer of 2010, Moscow had never recorded a triple-digit temperature, with records going back to 1879. But during a weeks-long heat wave that June and July, the city’s temperatures soared well above normal, setting an all-time record high of 102°F on July 30. A new study suggests that Arctic warming could have helped trigger that epic heat wave.

As with other extreme weather events, particularly heat waves, the role that climate change may have played was a major topic of discussion that summer. The new study, detailed in the March 13 issue of the journal Science, suggests that the persistent patterns that drove this and other prolonged heat waves in recent years may have their roots in the the rapid warming of the Arctic. It has linked that warming to a decline in the intensity and duration of storms over North America, Europe and Asia, which allows for the intense build-up of heat. Read more…

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