Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

2016 may not only be the hottest year in recorded history, but also by the widest margin, scientists say. (Photo: Premier of Alberta/flickr/cc)

April 2016 Hottest on Record as 'Climate Emergency' Grows

The Paris target of keeping emissions under 1.5°C is 'wishful thinking,' scientist says

Nadia Prupis

This April was the hottest on record—and the seventh month in a row to break global temperature averages—setting up 2016 to be the hottest year ever, NASA has reported.

April was 1.11°C hotter than previous averages between 1951 and 1980, which NASA uses as a barometer for measuring climate change, according to figures the agency released over the weekend. NASA also found that April was the third month in a row that the record-breaking jumps in temperature were reached by the largest increases yet.

In fact, 2016 may not only be the hottest year in recorded history, but also by the widest margin, scientists say.

"The interesting thing is the scale at which we're breaking records," Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia, told the Guardian on Monday. "It's clearly all heading in the wrong direction."

"Climate scientists have been warning about this since at least the 1980s," Pitman said. "And it's been bloody obvious since the 2000s. So where's the surprise?"

In February, when this latest trend of record-breaking increases began, scientists referred to it as "shocking" and a "climate emergency." The new numbers come just as global leaders gather in Bonn, Germany this week to follow up on the historic Paris agreement signed in April to curb global greenhouse gas emissions. But researchers say the new record is casting fresh doubts that the deal will be able to stave off irreparable climate change in time to prevent catastrophic consequences.

The Paris target of keeping emissions under 1.5°C is "wishful thinking," Pitman said. "I don't know if you'd get 1.5°C if you stopped emissions today. There's inertia in the system. It's putting intense pressure on 2°C."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'A No-Brainer': Lawmakers Urge Pelosi to Hold Vote on Stock Trading Ban

"Perhaps this means some of our colleagues will miss out on lucrative investment opportunities," said House members in a bipartisan letter. "We don't care."

Jessica Corbett ·


Virginia Schools Sue Youngkin Mandate Making Masks Optional

The Republican governor wants to allow parents to decide whether their children should wear masks to school to mitigate Covid-19 transmission—guidance at least 58 school districts have no plans to follow.

Julia Conley ·


US Puts Troops on Standby as War Tensions Over Ukraine Mount

The U.K. threatens "lightning war" as military forces mobilize in eastern Europe.

Andrea Germanos ·


Advocacy Group Urges Pfizer to Combat Paxlovid Inequality

"Help end the pandemic this year around the world," one advocate told Pfizer. "Not just in a handful of rich countries."

Kenny Stancil ·


260+ Companies Demand 'Big, Bold Action' on Clean Energy

"The time to act is now," the firms wrote in a letter to Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo