Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change

There was a pair of shoes from Pope Francis and sneakers from the United Nations secretary general, Ban-Ki Moon. Most were from ordinary citizens, like Gloria Montenegro, a 65-year-old Parisian, who left two pairs.

All together, 11,000 pairs of shoes were on display in the Place de la République in Paris on Sunday morning in a silent demonstration – in place of cancelled marches and other events – of support for action against climate change. The installation represented “a collection of millions of steps marching toward the same direction,” Ms. Montenegro said.

The installation was one of several demonstrations organized worldwide after the French minister of foreign affairs announced following the atrocious Paris terrorist attacks that the planned Climate March would be cancelled.

The issue can be overwhelming. The science is complicated. Predictions about the fate of the planet carry endless caveats and asterisks.

Beginning today, the countries of Earth will join together in Paris, France in an effort to tackle perhaps the most serious threat to human existence of the modern age. World leaders will meet for 12 days to try to agree on plans to slow global warming and the other effects of climate change.

And so, as the Paris climate talks get underway, the NY Times has provided quick answers to often-asked questions about climate change. If you’ve been paying attention for decades, this is a refresher. If you’ve been wondering the true significance of global warming, here are some answers. Even if you don’t believe the science, it is still your responsibility to understand the questions.


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