For those seeking comforting news regarding the state of global warming, sadly there will be no reprieve. According to a data analysis report released Wednesday by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2018 was the fourth-hottest year since 1880 — the earliest recorded year for which reliable global temperature data is available.
According to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the average global surface temperature has risen about two degrees Fahrenheit, or one degree Celsius, since the 1880s. The average temperature reached in 2018 ranks only behind 2015, 2016 and 2017.
“Eighteen of the 19 warmest years since record keeping began have occurred since 2001. That means kids graduating from high school have only known a world of record-breaking temperatures. With global emissions rising for the second year in a row, this disastrous trend shows no signs of changing any time soon,” said climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel.
Climate change has long been denied as a human-caused phenomenon by conservatives. In a November 2018 interview with the Washington Post, Trump said: “I don’t see the devastating climate change effects. One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”
Despite the evidence, such as a 2018 report released by the Global Carbon Project, which has shown that global carbon emissions are reaching record high levels, Trump and others have continued to deny global warming as a threat.
Americans however, are starting to catch on, and are more aware about their role in climate change. In fact, a new poll shows that 74 percent of U.S. citizens now believe global warming is real. This is most likely due to the sweltering conditions experienced in recent years.
2018 was the 14th hottest year on record in the U.S., as temperatures in the West rose to well above average marks. Arizona, for example, experienced its second hottest year on record, while in New Mexico it was the third warmest and California its fourth.
Nine Eastern states also set all-time records for rain as nearly 35 inches of precipitation fell on average throughout the lower 48, the third most since the early 1980s.
Despite Trump’s denials, climate change is happening and America would do-well to implement more responsible environmental policies. In December 2018, the Trump administration rolled back the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards Rule, an EPA regulation implemented during the Obama era which required coal power plants to use technology that would reduce emissions, producing a projected $4–$6 million in health benefits, as well as $37–$90 billion due to cleaner air by staving off 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks and 130,000 asthma attacks annually.
Also, in January it was revealed the EPA hit a 30-year low in the amount of pollution violators it was prosecuting.
Trump should not be made culpable for the environmental degradation that has to taken place across the globe. However, he should be held responsible for upholding environmental integrity domestically. If Americans want to reduce the effects of global warming, they must first focus on holding Trump accountable, because change starts in your own backyard.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited since its original publication.
[USA Today] [Washington Post] [Photo courtesy Gett Images via The Express]