2010 Ties for Hottest Year: Will Climate Change Denials Persist?

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2010 has tied 2005 for the planet's hottest year on record, according to data collected by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The past decade has included 9 of the 10 hottest years on record. Those records go back to 1880, when scientists first began reliably tracking global temperatures. Andrew Sullivan has a disturbing graph illustrating the rise. The past 34 years have all been warmer than the 20th-century average. 2010 also had the highest rainfall on record, possibly highlighting the connection between climate change and an increase in extreme weather events. Bloggers are responding to the data with frustration and dismay.

  • We Have to Solve This--Now  "There is no doubt, at this point, that we are leaving a warming world for the next generation," The Washington Post's Ezra Klein warns. "And this is not merely like leaving health-care reform undone, or infrastructure unbuilt: Those problems might persist, but they are not much harder to solve in 2020 than in 2010, or 1990. Climate change, however, doesn't merely persist. It accelerates. As the Earth warms, it burns through the protections--like the permafrost covering the Siberian peat bogs and the ice caps cooling the Arctic -- that moderated temperature increases during our lifetimes. And the next generation doesn't get to call for a do-over. They just get a much harder problem to solve, and one that's much further along."
  • It's Actually Even Worse Than This, Good Magazine's Ben Jervey explains. "Keep in mind that these records are being set during 'the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,' which totally refutes one common argument of the climate skeptic. What's more, the second half of 2010 was unique for its strong La Niña conditions, 'which bring cool sea surface temperatures to the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean,' as James Hansen, director of GISS noted."
  • Enough Is Enough  Climate scienist Peter Gleick writes at the Huffington Post, "How often do you have to get hit on the head before you say 'ouch.' Or before you even say 'stop hitting me on the head'? For climate deniers, probably forever. We can expect them to talk about how cold the winter is, here or there. But for the rest of us, enough should be enough. The planet has a fever and it's getting worse."
  • As Problem Worsens, Congress Less Likely to Act  Grist's Christopher Mims is frustrated. "Inverse relationship between Earth's temperature and Congress's willingness to do anything about it continues to hold true: Politico reports the 'GOP-led House [is] expected to easily pass a measure to handcuff the Environmental Protection Agency's authority [to regulate greenhouse gases],'" he writes. "In case you missed it in previous editions of The Climate Post, there continues to be every indication the House Science and Technology Committee is going to probe the 'quality' of climate science."
  • East Coast Snow Not a Case Against Climate Change, The Christian Science Monitor's Pete Spotts writes. "That might seem counterintuitive to residents of the US South, for instance, who are still thawing out from heavy snows. But researchers caution against confusing a seasonal storm with climate, which is a decade- to centuries-long average of temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric conditions." He adds, "Global climate--changing or relatively stable--encompasses much more in time and space than a winter Nor'easter burying New England under a foot or more of snow."
  • So Much for Denial  Think Progress' Matthew Yglesias scoffs at the conservative pundits and GOP politicians who suggested that, because 2006-2009 did not surpass 2005's record, climate change might not be real. "I seem to recall George Will and others getting very excited when 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 were all slightly cooler than 2005 since somehow that proved there was no warming trend," he writes. "Oh well."

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