This announcement will come as yet more unwelcome news for the planet. Whether it’s because the waves are rising upon our densely populated shores or whether it’s because a warmer world means a degraded economy and increased incidences of health afflictions, the rising mercury will affect every single person on this planet.
Unjustly, it will affect the poor most of all, despite the fact that they have contributed the least to the climate crisis.
It will, however, also be unwanted news in a very different manner for the federal government, a climate-denying conglomerate that constantly tries to undermine the science of climate change and obfuscate the causes of it.
A few months earlier, the Trump administration was forced to release a government report that (quite rightly) framed humanity as the antagonist behind contemporary climate change. Although this latest announcement doesn’t mention policy at all, Schmidt was pushed on this point during the conference.
“NASA and NOAA work on providing the best science that we can, and we can’t really get involved in the policy aspects of this,” Schmidt said, initially cautious.
He then added, quite clearly: “With respect to the attributions of climate change… all of the warming in the last 60 years is attributable to human activities, and carbon dioxide emissions are the number one component of that.”
The fact that the means exist to mitigate climate change, and that most of the world is doing at least something to help out in this regard, makes this announcement somewhat ironic. Only in America, the sole nation to have rejected the Paris agreement, can two of the world’s foremost scientific agencies declare that the unprecedented warming of the planet is continuing, inexorably.
So – what of 2018? “We don’t do predictions,” Arndt told reporters. Schmidt was slightly more forward, suggesting that, based on the trends and data available to them, “we’d be looking for quite a similar year, next year, for 2018 – it would probably be a top five year.”
Don’t forget that this trend is part of an overarching theme. These temperature spikes alone are concerning enough, but it’s the breakneck rate at which the climate is changing that’s the crux of the matter.
One recent calculation suggests that we’re altering the climate 170 times faster than natural processes would be without us, and the devastating impact of this is borne out all around us, from the collapse of ecosystems to the flooding of major cities.