United States President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Langley, Virginia. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has officially admitted what few conservatives dare: Climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s really bad, says the government’s new 500-page environmental impact statement on its proposed loosening of vehicle emissions rules. If nothing is done to limit the amount of carbon dioxide humans put into the atmosphere, it says, the planet will warm a shocking seven degrees by the end of this century. That means many of the people alive today will witness a rapid decline in conditions, and the generation of children born in this century will see unfathomable environmental destruction—and soon.

A major climate report, issued on October 8 by The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), details an accelerated timeline for a litany of catastrophic impacts of climate change. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the report says, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040. The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies.

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Flames rise as a fire front approaches the Lake Casitas area on December 8, 2017 near Ojai, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

In 2017, Mother Nature taught us a lesson.

For years, climate scientists have predicted a future marked by hell and high water, and 2017 will be remembered as the year that Mother Nature provided us with textbook examples. Last year was the second hottest on record, and it reached that rarified status without the presence of the heat-boosting El Niño Oscillation in the Pacific. Our atmosphere now has a sustained 403 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, jumping past 410 ppm line last April for a short time. The last time that CO2 broached this level was several million years ago, when sea level was dozens of feet higher.

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TransCanada Corporation Keystone pipeline worksite. (CBC news photo Twitter)

TransCanada Corporation announced its original Keystone pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in Marshall County, South Dakota. The news comes just days before Nebraska decides the fate of plans to expand the pipeline network.

The company said crews shut down the Keystone pipeline system Thursday morning between Hardisty, Alberta, Canada and Cushing, Oklahoma, and a line to Patoka, Illinois. They expect the line to remain shut down while they respond to the spill.

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Earth as seen from space

25 years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists sent a Letter to Humanity, backed by 1,700 signatures, warning of the dangers human behavior presents to our climate and ecosystem on Earth. Now 15,000 scientists say it's much worse.

Environmental experts from around the world signed the updated "warning to humanity" about the dangers to all of us. These scientists say the picture looks far more bleak than it was in 1992. Humanity exacerbated almost all of the problems identified in the original warning.

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In the 21st century, our industrialized system has stripped the human element from the most basic human needs. Food, air, and water—these things are elemental, required by all life. Yet the molecules that sustain us are too often consigned to the footnotes of our life story.

But few people read the footnotes until their lives depend upon it. Unless they’re black or poor. Or they live in Flint, Michigan, with brackish, brownish water pouring out of their taps. Imagine, for just one minute, learning that you fed your baby formula with water that was tainted by lead, and that it may be years before symptoms manifest.

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