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Don't think [insert extreme weather phenomenon] happens in Texas? It does now

270 authors from 67 countries took part in the most recent report from the United Nations group.
Credit: Texas A&M Forest Service
In 2021, many Texas trees like this one were hit hard during the February freeze. (Courtesy: Texas A&M Forest Service)

DALLAS — The report is startling. But the scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who wrote it say that wasn’t their goal. They say it’s simply the world’s reality in 2022.

“We weren't trying to be doom and gloom. We weren't trying to exaggerate. It was very factual. These are the numbers. This is what we're seeing. This is what we're predicting we will see over the next 100 years. And the trouble is the numbers are now so scary, that that ended up sounding as though we were being alarmist,” Professor Camille Parmesan said on Y’all-itics.

270 authors from 67 countries took part in the most recent report from the United Nations group.

One of them is from the University of Texas. And Camille Parmesan says as a scientist, even she was alarmed at the kind of numbers they were finding.

“What is happening is happening faster. We’re getting more impacts at an earlier stage than we in the field expected even five years ago. So yes, it's alarming. But that's what's happening,” she told the Jasons.

Listen to the full Y'all-itics podcast here:

The authors say unless we can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, they have “high confidence” that here in North America, key risks will begin intensifying rapidly by the middle of this century, including threats to our food supply, with losses of key crops, livestock and fisheries. The scientists say mortality and morbidity will also rise along with the temperature. Even economic activity has already been adversely affected with major shocks to supply chains.

And that’s just the beginning. The full report contains 18 chapters and nearly 3,700 pages.

The numbers were so alarming, Parmesan says the group did receive pushback from some governments. She didn’t name names, though, as the report’s approval session is behind closed doors.

“I'll say this much that there are governments that wanted the numbers out,” said Parmesan. “And we clicked pretty quickly, so they were fine with the text. But they wanted, like, all the numbers taken out. It's like no, that's our strength.”

Since Parmesan is from the University of Texas, she knows the weather here in the Lone Star state.

And she says if you survived the big freeze of 2022 that crippled the power grid and left hundreds dead, then you’ve experienced the impact of climate change first-hand. It was such a dramatic event, she doubts anyone will forget it anytime soon.

“It was very hard to see a signal in Texas because it’s going like this all the time, the temperature, precip, floods, droughts. It's normal in Texas,” she said as her hand made a series of wavelengths, fingers moving back and forth from trough to peak. “But now it's finally getting to the point where even in a place that's typically very variable, because that variability is suddenly swinging to these record highs, record droughts, record floods, people are starting to notice it.”

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