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The IPCC has released a special report assessing how the world’s ice and oceans are faring under our changing climate, and scientists may be one step closer to a cure for the common cold!

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[♪ INTRO].

Last week, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate and, surprise! Things don't look great.

But it's not all doom and gloom. The report also lays out the best ways we can deal with the negative impacts moving forward. The IPCC special report compiles data from around 7,000 scientific studies to assess how the world's ice and oceans are faring under our changing climate.

And a lot of it is dedicated to the things climate scientists have been warning about for decades: glaciers and ice sheets are melting, sea levels are rising, precipitation is increasing, and everything is projected to get worse in the future. That's not all, though. The bad news is we're already seeing a lot of some of the economic effects of all this change.

For example, melting glaciers not only lead to increased risks of avalanches and floods, but also appear to be damaging tourism in places like national parks and ski resorts that owe their popularity to snowy peaks. And warming oceans aren't just bad for fish, they're also bad for the people who eat fish. Warmer water holds less oxygen and doesn't mix as well with the cold, deep, nutrient-rich water, so our seafood is getting less oxygen and less nutrients.

Already, these changes are causing some fish populations to dwindle or relocate, and as these impacts worsen, they could severely impact coastal fishing industries. And that's not the only impact on our food, either. More melting ice means more runoff of meltwater into the ocean, and this runoff carries contaminants like mercury that can build up to toxic levels in fish.

So seafood safety is becoming more of a concern. On top of that, warmer waters aid the growth of dangerous bacteria, and the report noted that the waterborne illnesses that bacteria cause are already becoming more common in some places like Arctic coastal communities. On the upside, the report also details lots of things we can do to help.

As always, the most important thing is to limit carbon emissions and reduce pollution. But the report also shines a spotlight on mitigation: handling the side effects already happening. This includes things like protecting and restoring ecosystems, safeguarding coastal communities against flooding, and carefully managing natural resources.

And one of the report's major messages is the importance of public education and community involvement. Around the world, communities have succeeded in getting citizens from all levels of society involved in planning and implementing strategies to mitigate climate change. That's great, and the kind of thing we need more of.

In particular, the report recommends that we pay closer attention to underserved voices and combine scientific knowledge with local Indigenous knowledge to come up with strategies that benefit everyone in the decades to come. It's easy to get discouraged when hearing about all the harmful impacts of climate change, but the report makes it clear that this isn't necessarily the end of the world. The good news is we have the tools we need to handle this; we've just got to work together, because what we do now will determine what our future looks like.

And here's some more good news: scientists may be one step closer to a cure for the common cold. A new study published this month in the journal Nature Microbiology has identified a protein in our cells that might be the key to defeating enteroviruses. This group of viruses is responsible for a variety of diseases, from rare neurological conditions to familiar nuisances like the common cold.

And they've proven especially difficult to deal with. Not only are these viruses many and varied, they adapt quickly, making it difficult to develop lasting drug treatments for them. That's one reason why the common cold is so common.

Instead of looking for treatments that target the viruses, some scientists are looking for treatments that target the human host. Viruses work by hijacking our cellular machinery. Stop that hijacking, and you prevent the illness.

In this study, the researchers used CRISPR gene editing to identify which proteins in our cells the viruses latch onto. Basically, they cut chunks of DNA out of cells and then watched how the cells responded to viral infections. That brought their attention to a protein named SETD3.

It helps accelerate muscle contraction, and it also helps enteroviruses multiply inside our cells, apparently. To confirm this, the researchers engineered human and mouse cells with their SETD3 genes turned off, and sure enough, both cold-causing enteroviruses and neurological enteroviruses were unable to gain a foothold in those cells. They even bred living mice without SETD3, and not only were the mice resistant to viral infection, they also showed no obvious negative side effects of having the protein shut off.

So, clearly, we should just get this protein out of our bodies and we will cure ourselves of colds and other diseases. Easy peasy. Except, just because lab mice in this study did okay without SETD3 does not mean that we will do okay without it.

A study earlier this year found that female mice without SETD3 had smaller litters, and human uterine cells without it couldn't contract properly. So more research is needed to understand just how important this protein is to us before we go about destroying it to thwart disease. Still, knowing that this protein is important to these viruses is a huge piece of intel.

Now we need to figure out why it matters so much. Because if it does turn out to be the viruses' Achilles' heel, medical researchers just might be able to use that knowledge to develop effective treatments for some of the most diverse and common viruses that ail us. Too bad they couldn't figure all that out before we entered cold and flu season.

Luckily, viruses aren't all that October has to offer. It means a new SciShow Pin! This month, we have the lovely Sputnik Satellite pin for sale.

It's a stylish addition to any autumnal outfit, and will surely wow the crowds at your local pumpkin patch or harvest festival. But don't wait too long! This pin is only available during the month of October.

Check it out for yourself at the link in the description or by perusing the merchandise shelf below. [♪ OUTRO].