Among all the hot-button issues of modern-day American politics, climate change is perhaps the one whose effects are most masked by the limited bandwidth of human perception. Most of us have never been caught in a wildfire or hurricane, are not farmers with bottom lines at the mercy of shortened growing seasons, and do not regularly fraternize with polar bears. Therefore, we are left to pick out the marks of climate change from its degree-sized effects on mean temperatures and the annual variations in rainfall. All the while, the adverse effects of a changing climate compound, and get harder and harder to mitigate or undo.
It is imperative, then, if our goal is to protect civilization from climate change's attendant harms, that we cultivate a keener sense of the threat we are facing. One avenue that works for some involves a close study of the data. The abrupt rise of global temperatures coincident with the increased carbon emissions of the past few centuries is as compelling to this type of person as the projected outcomes are frightening: dozens of species going extinct by the day and a single degree's temperature increase comes with