Punxsutawney Phil, that most revered of rodents, has a choice to make this Groundhog Day. Will the famous groundhog predict the weather like it’s any other year or acknowledge that the climate’s on course to keep heating up?
We’re not holding out much hope that Phil will take a stance on global warming. Instead, he will emerge from his hollow, take a gander at his shadow (or lack thereof), and tell the world whether we can expect six more weeks of winter or if clear skies are around the corner—not exactly Leonardo DiCaprio at the United Nations.
Despite the Groundhog Day tradition, all signs point to a changed, warmer world, with more extreme winter storms for some and drier, hotter summers for others. Exhibit A: 2014 was the hottest year on record—ever—and nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2000.
So while a few weeks of warm or cold weather have no bearing on the trajectory of our climate (as Neil deGrasse Tyson so helpfully explained, weather is different from climate), here are some people who deserve slightly more attention than Punxsutawney Phil when it comes to our planet’s climate.