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Why the latest temperature check on climate change is still terrifying

Art depicting a red thermometer above flames
Image: Hugo Herrera / The Verge

The latest numbers are in for how much our planet is projected to heat up this century, and it’s got me sweating.

Look, I am not a numbers person. And if I didn’t write about climate change for a living, this latest report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) wouldn’t hit the same. It says that this century, global temperatures are on track to reach between 2.5 and 2.9 degrees Celsius above where they were prior to the Industrial Revolution. That statement’s a snooze, right? Well, here’s why I’m stress-eating Corn Pops while writing this.

It felt like 139.5 degrees Fahrenheit (59.7 degrees Celsius) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday. That was the heat index, a measure of both heat and humidity that’s crucial because…

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