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Straightforward answers to your questions about climate change.
Ask MIT Climate is here to answer your questions about how our planet is changing, how it will impact life on Earth and what we can do about it. Whether it's simple or sticky, about science or solutions, ask us! We work with MIT faculty and scientists to give you clear, no-nonsense answers grounded in the best scientific information. New answers posted every month.
Why do some people call climate change an "existential threat"?
The phrase can refer to a literal threat to humanity’s existence, but also to the danger that unchecked climate change can pose to our ways of life and place in the natural world.
Why do we compare methane to carbon dioxide over a 100-year timeframe? Are we underrating the importance of methane emissions?
This greenhouse gas is short-lived but has far greater heat-trapping potential than CO2. The more concerned we are about global warming over the next 10 or 20 years, the more emphasis we have to put on cutting methane emissions.
Why did the IPCC choose 2° C as the goal for limiting global warming?
Scientists and policymakers have long agreed that global warming beyond 2° C above the pre-industrial average would pose large and escalating risks to human life as we know it on Earth, and governments have used that number as an organizing principle.