A U.N. panel on Friday said with 95% certainty that the effects of climate change are real and largely man-made.
To which pretty much everyone in Shishmaref, Alaska, said ...
If only they weren't so polite.
The tiny Inupiat Eskimo community in near-Arctic Alaska -- which I was lucky enough to visit on a reporting trip in 2009 and which is home to some of the sweetest and most colorful people you'll meet -- has been watching climate change happen to it for years now.
Locals see the sea ice forming later each year, the coast eroding and the permafrost melting. The hunting seasons have shifted and lakes have dried up.
The coast had become so unstable that one house toppled off the edge of the barrier island that harbors the village. When I was there, the town was considering relocating to more stable ground.
Now those plans seem to have dried up, too.
Stanley Tocktoo, the mayor of Shishmaref, told me by phone Thursday that residents have tabled their plans to move the town. Money is one reason. Another is that they were unable to find a suitable location upon which everyone could agree.
Potential relocation spots also are hit by the changing climate, he said.
"The island is only a quarter-mile wide by three miles (long), probably narrower now. I don't know how long we'll be able to be on this island," he said.
"These floods get pretty fierce now, worse than before."
It should seem laughable in 2013 that anyone would try to deny the reality of climate change, which is causing tougher droughts, stronger storms, rising seas and melting ice. The effects are scattered, to be sure. It's difficult to attribute any single storm to macro-changes in the atmosphere, for example.
But it's clear things are changing. It's clear that's for the worse.
And it's clear -- has been clear -- that we're to blame for that.
I'm thankful the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change continues to update all of us on the latest science and evidence.
But it's already obvious to everyone paying attention that we need to act in new and profoundly urgent ways to blunt the future impact of climate change, and to mitigate the changes that are already taking shape all over the world.
The Marshall Islands and other Pacific nations that could be swallowed up by rising seas have banded together to try to make their economies 50% or 100% renewable.
The urgency is clear to them. They fear for survival.
But in the United States, we're still running around with our eyes shut.
Sure, President Barack Obama has tried, between arguing for strikes on Syria and trying to resurrect the middle class, to make climate change a front-burner issue. But Congress hasn't followed suit. America remains a serious laggard on climate action.
Perhaps we should open our eyes, and turn them to Alaska.
There, the evidence is like a slap in the face.
A wake-up call.
"The town is coming apart, getting smaller and smaller."