It's official! 2015 was the warmest year since 1880, when such record-keeping began. And, since 2001, our planet has experienced 15 out of the 16 hottest years on record.
Of course, this is just the opinion of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On the other side of that argument are the many members of Congress who have scoffed at this data in the past because, in their words, "I am not a scientist." That is about the most stupid remark I have ever heard from members of Congress — and I have heard a lot of stupid remarks from members of that body over the years.
If you buy into their argument, then every scientific advancement throughout the ages would have been ignored by those who were not scientists and we would probably still be swinging through the trees like our ancestors — unless you don't believe in evolution.
According to NOAA, during 2015 the globally-averaged land surface temperature was 2.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. This was the highest among all years from 1880 through 2015, surpassing the previous record set in 2007 by .45 degrees.. The difference is the largest margin by which the annual global land temperature has been broken.
In the opinion of NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, "It is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice — now is the time to act on climate."
Since President Obama took the lead on combating climate change, almost 200 countries have agreed to work toward that goal by signing the historic climate agreement to reduce carbon pollution worldwide.
As President Obama said in his final Sate of the Union address, if you want to debate the science of climate change, feel free to do so — but you'll be pretty lonely. America's business leaders, the Pentagon, the majority of the American people, the scientific community and nations around the world already know that now is the time to act.
Beau Weisman, Editor