For residents of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the United States’ recent success in clinching a major piece of climate change legislation may feel like too little, too late. Over the past 40 years, as the world’s largest historical emitter of greenhouses gases repeatedly failed to take significant action on the climate, the region surrounding Svalbard has warmed at least four times as fast as the global average, according to significant research published Thursday. The study suggests that warming in the Arctic is happening at a much faster rate than many scientists had expected. And while U.S. lawmakers this summer hashed out the details of a massive bill to speed their nation’s shift toward cleaner energy — the culmination of months of deliberations — the new findings were just the latest visceral reminder that the planet’s changing climate isn’t waiting around for human action. - Washington Post
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