No longer an issue that can be swept under the rug, 2016 is on pace to be the hottest year since at least 1880, the start of the modern temperature record. In July, NASA announced temperatures from the first half of 2016 had significantly outpaced the record-breaking temperatures of 2015, indicating there’s a 99% chance the entire year will be warmer. If this happens, it will be the third straight year the world has experienced record-high heat.
During the six-month period from January to June 2016, NASA reported the average temperature as 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit — 1.3 degrees Celsius — warmer than averages from the late nineteenth century. NASA credits part of the temperature spike to El Nino, which is currently winding down, so 2017 is expected to bring cooler temperatures relative to recent years, but still realize historical highs.
Combating Climate Change
Warmer temperatures and the consistently shrinking Arctic sea ice extent are gaining the attention of global policymakers, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and The White House.
Some of the initiatives the EPA is taking to combat climate change includes:
• Collecting a variety of greenhouse gas emissions data to help identify trends and opportunities to implement changes that will lower emissions and boost efficiency.
• Working to promote a clean energy economy by engaging in strategic partnerships and introducing common-sense regulations.
• Conducting research to learn more about the economic impact and effectiveness of proposed climate initiatives.
• Contributing to climate research to study the environmental and health impacts of climate change and offer solutions to lower its impact.
• Partnering with international groups, states, local governments, tribes, and communities to provide education on activities to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2015, President Obama helped institute the Paris Agreement, a legally binding global climate deal between 195 countries to reduce global warming significantly below the 2 degree Celsius — 35.6 degrees Fahrenheit — mark. The agreement is set to be put into action in 2020.
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