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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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Meteorologist vows to never fly again after climate change report

Would you think about reducing your carbon footprint after last Friday’s report on human impact on climate change?

This is a view Eric Holthaus says he will never see again...
This is a view Eric Holthaus says he will never see again...
Image: plane sunset via Shutterstock

A MAJOR PANEL of scientists concluded in a report published last Friday that humans have caused over half of the global warming in the last 60 years.

That conviction had moved from 90 per cent sure to 95 per cent sure in the past six years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has delivered four previous assessment reports in its 25-year history.

Each edition has pounded out an ever-louder drumbeat to warn that temperatures are rising and the risk to the climate system – in drought, floods, storms and rising seas – is accentuating.

The latest report has had a huge impact – and one reaction was particularly striking over the weekend. It came from Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist with the Wall Street Journal who came to prominence for his coverage of Hurricane Sandy in the USA. Holthaus now writes for Quartz and works on an app called Weathermob.

Following the report, Holthaus made a big decision, one that immediately prompted a huge amount of debate on Twitter. The decision reflected his deep knowledge of extreme weather patterns and how global warming is changing them, he explained.

Holthaus is giving up flying, forever.

To a lot of people, that sounds crazy. How can someone live the rest of their life without getting on a plane?

Holthaus explained his decision in a series of tweets yesterday. It’s hard not to find it compelling.

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“Without jumping up and down on the desks of their computer terminals, this forum of scientists has done about as much as they can do,” Holthaus wrote for Quartz. “With this report, they have proven humankind’s impact on the climate, and confidently projected dire consequences should world governments fail to act immediately.”

Finally, Holthaus also gave an interview to Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle about his decision, which you can read here. As Holthaus tells Berger, his experience as a meteorologist during events like Hurricane Sandy convinced him of the dangers of climate change.

“I’m considered an expert in my field,” he says. “I have to do something big, right now.”

- Adam Taylor

Did reading about the IPCC’s report on the human impact on climate change make you think about reducing your carbon footprint?


Poll Results:

No (881)
I didn't really know about it (678)
Yes (340)



‘Extremely likely’ humans caused over half of global warming in the last 60 years>
Prof John Sweeney: What does the climate change report mean for Ireland?>

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