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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.

More questions

 

If cities require buildings to use 100% electric heat, will that raise or lower their greenhouse gas emissions?

What is the ideal level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for human life?

With low-carbon technologies improving so fast, does it sometimes make sense to wait to invest in new infrastructure?

Is there a danger that pumping liquid carbon dioxide underground could have the same negative impacts as fracking?

Which is more likely: electric airplanes or hydrogen-powered airplanes?

What is "sustainability"? Is it the same thing as taking action on climate change?

Is there a place in the atmosphere where carbon dioxide is concentrated, and if so, can we remove it?

Why have I heard that eating meat is bad for the climate?

How are countries held accountable under the Paris Agreement?

Why aren't we looking at more hydropower?

How efficient is carbon capture and storage?

How do greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere?

I know that if we stop burning fossil fuels, it will reduce carbon emissions. But are there other benefits as well?

Could Snowpiercer actually happen?

Has there been climate change before?

What method of waste disposal is best for the climate?

Should we be worried about Earth getting warmer if we cut coal power?

How much is a ton of carbon dioxide?

How expensive is it to switch to low-carbon energy in my own home?

What does the COVID-19 pandemic mean for climate change?

How is climate change affecting the weather today?

Why don't we just plant a lot of trees?

Do we have the technology to go carbon neutral today?

Why is the ocean so important for climate change?