In climate news, newly released data show 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, continuing a trend that has seen the past five years become the five warmest since reliable measurements began more than a century and a half ago. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says it’s part of a trend that’s poised to see the planet become much hotter.
Gavin Schmidt: “What kind of planet is a planet that’s 4 or 5 degrees warmer than it is now? Well, we haven’t seen that on Earth since about 3 million years ago in the Pliocene. At that point, we had forests all the way up to the Arctic Circle, there wasn’t any ice, there was no Greenland, and sea level was about 25 meters higher. Right? That was a very different planet, and that’s kind of where we’re headed, unless we do something about emissions.”
Wednesday’s climate report came as two House committees held simultaneous hearings to discuss the climate crisis. They were the first such meetings on Capitol Hill in six years.