The consequences of global warming have been starkly illuminated this week.
The small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has been hit by the “super cyclone” Pam, a category 5 storm cell – the highest possible rating for a cyclone. The full scale of the damage is yet to emerge, but thousands of homes are expected to have been destroyed and there are reports of dozens killed.
As well as cyclone Pam, unusually warm waters off the California coast are causing the highest number of sea lion pup strandings in a decade, scientists say, raising concerns about the long-term effects of climate change and rising ocean temperatures on the species. Many of the pups are leaving the Southern California coast, in a desperate search for food. But they are too young to travel far, dive deep or truly hunt on their own.
And a study published in October 2014 found that the ocean is getting warmer at a rate that far outpaces previous estimates.
It is time for the world to take notice and take action to address the root causes of climate change.