This AMA has now ended.

Thank you for the great questions. If you’d like to follow Gloria and Nia's climate reporting you can find them at:\_eleri

I'm Gloria Dickie, a London-based Global Climate & Environment Correspondent at Reuters. My coverage includes biodiversity loss, Arctic science, the cryosphere, international climate diplomacy and climate change. I am also the author of Eight Bears, a book on the global exploration of the eight remaining species of bears—and the dangers they face.

I am Nia Williams, a Canada-based reporter covering energy, climate and environmental policy. I reported on Canada's record-breaking wildfire season.

Ask us anything and follow our work here:


Comments: 104 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

111818115 karma

Hi Gloria & Nia. Someone from LeMonde did this yesterday on r/environment so maybe I'll just recycle my question for more perspective.

Since you're working for a news organization, I wonder if you can give us your thoughts on how useful you think headlines / stories about heat records are, specifically following this current summer which seems to be providing a constant stream of them, and which will presumably only increase as the years go on. Not to suggest that such things shouldn't be reported on, but do you worry that the public will soon drown out headlines of heat records and bright red global temperature maps? Some related stuff:

The University of Michigan’s Richard Rood used to blog about climate records for Weather Underground, but in 2014 he got sick of continuously new extremes and stopped.

“I think we need to get away from that sort of record-setting sensationalism at some level and really be getting down to the hard work,” he said, addressing the need for people to adapt to a warmer world and get serious about slashing emissions causing hotter, more extreme weather.

via 'Sick of hearing about record heat? Scientists say those numbers paint the story of a warming world'

Zack Labe tweet from earlier, maybe commenting specifically on a type of sensational headline. Again, not to say that we should downplay the issue, but as a news agency, is there a concern that the news will just stop resonating?

Thanks for your reporting work and for the AMA.

reuters21 karma

Yes, that’s absolutely a concern. It’s very easy to fall into a doomsday mindset when thinking about climate, and the risk then is that people stop reading those stories because they can’t face any more bad news. I’d like to see greater focus on solutions, on adaptation, on what progress is being made and how that can be scaled up. NW.

reuters12 karma

Agreed — I’d point to the start of this month. We saw the hottest day ever on July 3. Then again on July 4. And July 6. It was hard to keep up — even just from a reporter’s perspective and trying to decide how often we should write up these record stories.

Records are, perhaps, a good way to put into context the extreme weather we’re seeing around the world, but there are a lot of them — hottest for this time of year, hottest week, hottest month, etc. It’s also really important to define the ‘record’ period. Some records only go back to the 1980s, others as far back as 1850. And then there’s the early climate records from things like tree rings and ice cores which are far less granular.

July 2023 is set to be the world’s hottest month on record but the observational records go back to 1850. However, scientists said the early climate data would indicate it’s likely the hottest in 120,000 years. That’s way more impactful to me.

I think the question of climate chaos media saturation is valid though, and it’s been hard to keep climate change at the top of the news agenda when we’ve been dealing with a pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine. People begin to tune out. - GD

airwaternature15 karma

Hi. Learning more about climate change can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. What are some things we can do that might have a positive affect? Thanks.

reuters21 karma

For me, this is where individual actions can help. I live in western Canada where wildfires are getting worse and every year we get hit by smoky skies - it can get pretty grim! Even though I know cycling instead of driving makes very little difference and certainly isn’t going to help the wildfire or smoke situation, it makes me feel better to be doing something, rather than just feeling hopeless and powerless. But the most effective action is to push elected leaders towards action - let them know climate change is a top priority. NW.

ogou13 karma

Why isn't there more reporting on the efficacy of carbon sequestering or the tangible results of carbon offset payments and programs?

I just read about the new Plaquemine LNG facility moving ahead in Louisiana. One of the claims made by the company leading it is:

"Venture Global will capture and sequester an estimated 500,000 tons of carbon per year from its Calcasieu Pass and Plaquemines liquefaction sites."

Who is verifying that? Anybody? What about the science behind that saline sequestering being permanent? It's difficult to get a clear answer.

The technology and initiatives related to 100k+ tons of carbon seem very relevant right now.

How about the carbon offsets? Is anybody verifying that 100 acres of trees are being planted when a company states they have bought carbon offsets that do this? It all seems ripe for graft and exaggeration.

reuters10 karma

There are a handful of companies, such as Verra, that verify voluntary carbon offset schemes and they have standards that make sure the projects have “additionality”, ie. that they sequester carbon that would otherwise be emitted. Forestry carbon offset schemes, for example, also need to put in a so-called buffer pool of trees that takes into account some trees could be lost - and their carbon emitted - due to disease or weather events. But this whole topic of carbon offsetting is controversial and hugely complicated. NW.

theistgal11 karma

How do you respond to the people who say things like, "Of course it's hot, it's summer!" or "This is nothing, when I was a kid it was way hotter, " or whatever?

reuters14 karma

Agreed — it’s important not to just look at the temperature but look at the anomaly over time. Maybe it’s not a big difference to see 40C vs. 44C in parts of Asia, but there are places like the UK, where I live, where summertime averages are typically in the mid to low 20s. And last year we experienced 40C. People in these environments aren’t used to such extreme heat and so our buildings aren’t designed to keep us cool — no AC and they’re designed to trap heat in the damp winter. It’s brutal. - GD

reuters8 karma

I’d say look at the data, look at the historical average over a couple of decades. The trend is that the world is getting hotter over time. NW.

gapedoutpeehole10 karma

Which cities or areas are most prepared for or will be the least affected by the climate crisis?

reuters9 karma

I think it depends on what threat, or impact, you’re looking at. Since heat is on everyone’s mind this week, there are certain regions, such as Gujarat state in India, which have established heat action plans in recent years and serve as a model for others — this includes things like cool roofs and plans for targeted shading.

At the same time, following deadly 2003 heatwaves in Europe, many countries created national heatwave preparedness strategies to contend with rising heat. But recently, a study found that as many as 61,000 people may have died in last year’s heatwaves in Europe. That would seem to indicate these plans aren’t working that well — or can’t adequately address what’s coming down the pike.

So, preparedness is a tricky thing. Some governments are allocating more money to mitigating and adapting to climate change than others. But we’ve also seen some of the money funneled into things like the Green Climate Fund go to really odd initiatives. - GD

TopEar29 karma

what can we do in our daily lives to help mitigate the effects climate change?

reuters15 karma

There’s always this debate about whether individual actions amount to much in the face of what governments and corporations are doing. But I think individual actions - even small ones - help: drive less, cycle more, eat less meat, fly less….and vote! Let your elected representatives know that climate policies matter. NW.

reuters7 karma

Agreed — electing political leaders who are well equipped to tackle what’s coming at us is really key for me. I think a lot of the ‘personal carbon footprint’ methodology has been debunked, if you will, in recent years. -GD

m0stardently8 karma

Hi! What’s the scariest thing about covering climate change? What do you think people are most uninformed about when it comes to climate stuff?

reuters13 karma

What’s the scariest thing about covering climate change?

For me it’s the speed at which extreme weather events - like heat waves, wildfires and floods - are piling up. And that a lot of people still seem to think about climate change as something that will happen in the near future if we don’t make changes, as opposed to something that is already underway. NW.

reuters12 karma

What do you think people are most uninformed about when it comes to climate stuff?

We’re inherently biased to what we’ve seen and experienced in our lifetime — shifting baseline syndrome, so to speak. I often hear this term applied to things like biodiversity loss. Maybe we’re used to seeing a wetland or forest with only so many insects, not knowing that just decades ago there were thousands more. Same thing goes with temperature. Over time, summer days reaching 40C might become normal to us. It’s hard for people to keep perspective on climate change and because of this, might make it easier for people to refute the significance of some of the changes we’re experiencing. — GD

reuters2 karma

What do you think people are most uninformed about when it comes to climate stuff?

In the same vein, a lot of people don’t fully comprehend the impact of climate change until they get hit by an extreme weather event themselves. NW.

mostly_sarcastic8 karma


reuters15 karma

There can certainly be winners and losers of climate change, especially when it comes to species or places. For example, we’re seeing the Arctic Ocean become more like the Atlantic, which is a boon for Atlantic fish species which are able to expand their range and gain a stronghold in the North — but not so great for native fish like the polar cod. At the same time, some species like Canada and Russia will see agricultural expansion due to warmer temperatures. But on the whole, yields will be hit hard by climate change around the world and multiple breadbaskets could fail at the same time.

Overall, it’s estimated climate change will cost the global economy $178 trillion over the next 50 years, according to a 2023 report by Deloitte. - GD

TiredOfThisLove6 karma

How will city and building infrastructures be affected by things like floods and heatwaves and are cities prepared to make adjustments so that they’re better prepared? I guess I’m also wondering what that would look like

reuters14 karma

Things like protecting wetlands in and around cities can make a big difference to flood risk because they act like a sponge in absorbing all the excess rainfall. More green space such as gardens and city parks can also help with this. Tree cover gives more shade and can lower the temperature on city streets. But for most cities there needs to be a serious reckoning - and commitment to spending - on mitigation and adaptation measures. NW.

jebjebitz4 karma

How concerned should we be about the potential collapse of Atlantic Ocean currents? Do you think estimates that this could happen in the next 10 years are extreme?

reuters6 karma

You likely saw the headlines this week that some scientists are concerned the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (a mouthful) could shut down as soon as the end of the century. There’s been significant concern about this “tipping point” for a while, and scientists generally agree that Atlantic circulation will decline this century — but we’re far from a consensus that it could happen so soon, or what would happen to the global ocean and climate under this scenario.

Per climate scientists — ‘The strength of the AMOC has only been monitored continuously since 2004 and these observations have shown AMOC to be weakening’

I’d be a bit more concerned about the Antarctic’s deep ocean currents at this moment in time. Recent research has shown that these could decline by 40% by 2050, and scientists are observing a significant weakening right now. - GD

Ajtaty4 karma

How seriously should I consider moving out of Florida?

reuters5 karma

What kind of insurance do you have?

Unfortunately, it’s not just Florida that will face rising home insurance costs and insurers not willing to cover events like flooding, hurricanes, and longer-term sea level rise. This is a big question in the US real estate biz right now.

Obviously, it depends whether you’ve got coastal property or are more inland, but scientists are observing that hurricanes are generally becoming more intense due to climate change. And of course there were some concerns that the 2021 Surfside condo collapse in Miami could have been spurred by saltwater intrusion.

So…it depends on your risk tolerance? — GD

Useful_Emu73632 karma

How is this all going to end?

reuters4 karma

I think cities and countries are increasingly pivoting toward adaptation measures as it becomes clear that we’re moving too slowly on slashing emissions. Biden’s announcement of new protections for workers during extreme heat yesterday is indicative that many governments are now looking to implement adaptation strategies to deal with extremes because they haven’t cut emissions fast enough. So, in the end, I suppose some places will either adapt or become inhospitable. - GD

reuters2 karma

I expect to see a lot more movement of people from increasingly inhospitable regions to more temperate climates, so more climate refugees arriving in Northern Europe, Canada, etc. NW.

sid321 karma

What should we expect in the Winter?

reuters0 karma

We’re currently in the early stages of an El Nino climate pattern, which means waters in the eastern Pacific are warmer than usual. That’s likely why we’re already seeing so many extremes + record-breakers this month — combined with human-caused climate change. But the impacts of El Nino generally peak in the Northern Hemisphere winter…so expect a lot of climate chaos come winter and into next spring + summer.

This means we might see severe heat and bushfires in Australia during their summer in December/January. And more cyclones hitting parts of Asia, while Atlantic Hurricane activity typically declines during El Nino.

Scientists currently expect that 2023 or 2024 will be the hottest year on record. — GD

reuters0 karma

This AMA has now ended.

Thank you for the great questions. If you’d like to follow Gloria and Nia's climate reporting you can find them at:\_eleri