A dire new climate report compiled by 13 U.S. federal agencies begins with an unequivocal pronouncement: “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in modern history, primarily as a result of human activities.”

“Climate-related risks will continue to grow without additional action,” the report reads. While global efforts are in place to mitigate the root causes of climate warming, and regional efforts are in place to adapt to the effects already felt, neither “currently approaches the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”

However, Jennie Stephens, a Northeastern professor of sustainability science and policy, has reason to be optimistic.

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