2016 was Officially Warmest Year on Record…AgainCaitlin McLaren -
Posted on: February 18, 2017
According to NASA, 2016 was once again the warmest year since people began measuring temperatures, more than a hundred and thirty years ago. This makes the third straight year of record-setting global high temperatures; in fact, 16 of the hottest 17 years on record have occurred since the year 2000. In the first half of 2016, all of the months were also the hottest of their respective months on record.
While climate scientists do not expect that 2017 will be another record-setting year, as El Niño effects are dying down this year, it is still expected to be warm compared to pre-2000s years. You can probably see this outside for yourself; this January has had lots of rain and not a lot of snow compared to the way it was when we were kids. Climate change is not some hypothetical danger in the future; it is happening right now.
On the bright side, CO2 emissions have been fairly stable over the last few years, largely due to China’s decreased use of coal. China, though still struggling with pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, is also the world’s leader in renewable energy.
However, the election of Donald Trump might have serious consequences in efforts to reduce the effects of climate change. Trump is on the record as a climate change denier, and has stated his intention to back out of the Paris Agreement. While his intentions for this are not clear, he has also pledged to reduce or eliminate funding for climate change programs, and to make it easier to use public land for fossil fuel production. He has also appointed Scott Pruitt, another notorious climate-change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt hedged on this during his confirmation hearings, saying that humans do have an effect on the climate and that the degree of it should be subject to “continuing debate”. Even more worryingly, Trump’s administration has banned the EPA from releasing the results of studies until they have been reviewed by government appointees. It looks as if there are dark days ahead for American climate science. Hopefully, other countries will be able to compensate for the environmental damage of Trump’s administration in the next four years.