Events such as the California wildfires and hurricanes Harvey and Maria have been headline news over the past few years, and they often are cited as symptoms of a greater threat: climate change.

In fact, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates our warming climate is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius -- 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit -- above preindustrial levels by mid-century, causing catastrophic sea-level rise, persistent drought and flooding of crops, as well as increases in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters.

Our changing climate is a complex and daunting global issue, and it will be front and center at a panel discussion planned for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Old Worthington Library, 820 High St.

This panel discussion will feature three local experts: Jason Cervenec, education and outreach director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University; Heather Taylor-Miesle, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council; and David Celebrezze, GreenSpot coordinator for the city of Columbus.

All three will share their expertise on climate change, as well as answer questions about the scientific, political and social landscape of this issue.

The program is free and no registration is required.

We encourage residents to take part in this timely discussion to learn more about a challenge facing the whole world -- and one that will also have consequences in our community.

Coleman Mahler is an adult-services librarian for Worthington Libraries.