Britannica Year in Review?
Story of the Year

Global Warming

Of all the stories, global warming is probably the one that was revisited most this year—both by Britannica and around the world. Together, Britannica’s global warming and climate change articles were viewed more than one million times. Global warming is one of the biggest problems facing humanity today, and the climate phenomenon made headlines again and again as people continued to note strange weather patterns and as debates raged in political realms about if and how we should address the issue.

Visit Earth’s To-Do List, presented by Britannica: A look into the causes and effects of climate change and the solutions needed to curb its progression.

Is It Real?

If you’re still on the fence about global warming, we would like to make one thing clear: Global warming is real, and it is changing the climate. There is significant evidence that climates around the world are changing and that those changes are happening because of human activities. That’s one reason it’s so important to be informed about which human activities contribute to global warming—and which human activities can help prevent it from progressing.

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In November, U.S. Pres. Donald Trump formally notified the United Nations that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, an international treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the progression of global warming.

Throughout the year, record temperatures were reported, and scientists warned about melting glaciers and dangers to a variety of species of plants and animals.

In April Britannica launched Earth’s To-Do List, a destination for readers to learn more about the crises facing our planet and what we can do to help. If you want to pitch in and help save Earth (and all the beings who live on it, including us), check out our Take Action page to find steps you can take to combat global warming, pollution, biodiversity loss, and the global water crisis. From big personal decisions such as buying a fuel efficient or low-emission vehicle to small ones such as avoiding personal care products with plastic microbeads, there are so many ways that your choices affect the planet.

What can you do?

Encourage your office, school, or place of worship to adopt green practices.?

Eat less meat in your diet. Try picking one or two days a week to be meat-free.

Consider taking public transportation or a bike to work. If that isn’t an option, try carpooling.

Read all the ways you as an individual can take action.

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The Biggest Impact

However, arguably the most important thing you can do for the health of our planet has nothing to do with what you buy: if you are interested in making lasting changes for Earth, the best thing you can do is support science-backed legislation and politicians who will promote environmental action and lobby your government officials to get involved.

In September young people took to the streets to put this strategy to work. Students from around the world, following in the footsteps of Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, marched to express their anger and frustration with the state of the planet they are due to inherit.

It remains to be seen what developments will be made in slowing global warming in 2020 and what impact they might have on the planet. Only one thing is certain—it will remain a story to watch for years to come.

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