2016 has crushed the record for hottest year, set way back in 2015, which itself smashed the previous record for hottest year that was set in 2014.
Such a three-year run has never been seen in the 136 years of temperature records. It’s but the latest in an avalanche of evidence this year that global warming will either be as bad as climate scientists have been warning for decades — or much worse.
The “much worse” case is especially likely if Donald Trump and his team of deniers and pro-Putin Big Oil shills follow through on his promise to destroy the Paris climate deal, the world’s last best hope to avoid climate collapse.
Indeed, most worrisome is that climatologists have been expecting just this kind of “jump” in global temperatures for a while. There is “a vast and growing body of research,” that “humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures.” One 2015 study concluded that we could even see Arctic warming rise an alarming 1 degree Fahrenheit per decade by the 2020s.
Only very aggressive cuts in carbon pollution could plausibly save our major coastal cities and avoid a trillion-dollar housing bubble crash. And only the unanimous Paris pledge of ever deeper CO2 cuts by the nations of the world can save the America’s breadbaskets in California and the Great Plains from Dust-Bowlification that is irreversible on the timescale of centuries. Turning these regions into Dust Bowls will create endless failed states, violence, conflict, and multiple refugee crises that dwarf Syria’s.
Not only did Trump’s incoming Chief of Staff Reince Priebus tell Fox News that climate science denial will be Trump’s “default position” — but back in May, CBS in Sacramento ran a story with this actual headline: “Donald Trump Tells California ‘There Is No Drought’ As Drought Continues.”
When Trump said he wanted to make America great again, who knew he meant the “Great Dust Bowl”?