Last year was the warmest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday, breaking the previous record for warmth set in 2014. With Earth's average land temperature 2.39 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, it was also "the largest margin by which the annual global temperature record has been broken," NOAA said in a news release. Ten months had record-high temperatures for their respective months during the year.
As the climate crisis intensifies, the latest evidence is some of the scariest to date.
Keep in mind, for climate deniers, including nearly every Republican presidential candidate and member of Congress, the argument has been that "global warming stopped in 1998," and temperatures have been "paused" ever since. The New York Times noted this morning, "Statistical analysis suggested all along that the claims were false, and that the slowdown was, at most, a minor blip in an inexorable trend."
But now those claims are just plainly ridiculous. Last year wasn't just the planet's warmest year "since record-keeping started in the 1800s," the data shows 2015 was much warmer. We're talking about figures that break the old record easily.
It's against this backdrop that the Republican Party's massive field of presidential candidates is filled with far-right voices who simply pretend climate change isn't real.
The New York Times' David Brooks recently explained that the Republican Party "has come to resemble a Soviet dictatorship" when it comes to climate science: even politicians who know the truth about global warming say otherwise "because they're afraid the thought police will knock on their door and drag them off to an AM radio interrogation."
Looking ahead, how will GOP candidates and office-holders respond to the latest NOAA findings? By burying their heads in the sand -- and hoping American voters don't hold it against them.