President Obama joined leaders and diplomats from more than 190 countries who convened in Paris today to kick off a two week effort towards negotiating an international climate change agreement. The United Nations' sponsored event, the largest gathering of world leaders in history, is an urgent, sweeping attempt to reduce global carbon emissions and stave off the worst consequences of climate change.
2015 is on track to be the warmest year on record. In fact, nearly all of the warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. During that time, the frequency of extreme weather events -- from droughts and floods, to hurricanes and freezes -- have also risen significantly. The vast majority of scientists agree that these changes largely stem from a rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.
Perhaps the greatest inequity of the crisis is that those least responsible for contributing to climate change -- people of the world's poorest nations -- will likely continue to be the most adversely impacted by its consequences.
Explore the issue in greater depth with these excellent interactive resources from around the web. Additionally, click here to download a series of KQED Science Education e-Books on the science of climate change.
A good short explainer on the basic science of climate change, narrated by celebrity scientist Bill Nye ("the Science Guy") and produced by the Climate Reality project.