Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Denier-in-Chief Trump Should Read NOAA's Frightening New Climate Report

With "highest concentration of CO2 in the air in 800,000 years," how much more proof does president need?

Jake Johnson

The report—based on contributions from over 450 scientists from around 60 countries—is the most detailed climate assessment that has emerged from a government agency since Donald Trump became president. (Photo: Francesco Falciani/Flickr/cc)

With a climate denier in the Oval Office, a "fossil fuel puppet" heading the Environmental Protection Agency, and Big Oil lobbyists filling the ranks of secretive deregulatory teams, a new report by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed that 2016 was the hottest—and in some ways most alarming—year on record.

"Today's remarkably hot temperatures, caused by human carbon pollution, are a sign of what's to come. If we don't get global warming under control, the consequences will indeed be bad."
—Dana Nuccitelli, the Guardian
The report—based on contributions from over 450 scientists from nearly 60 countries—is the most detailed climate assessment that has emerged from a government agency since Donald Trump became president, a fact that raised questions about how it will be received by the White House.

Released annually, the NOAA's State of the Climate report (pdf) has contained consistently "frightening" results over the last several years.

But as The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer notes, 2016 appears to have been "altogether exceptional," and not in a good way.

The agency's executive summary alone—which contains seven bullet points detailing how 2016 was a particularly bad year for the climate—was sufficient to deeply concern many activists, scientists, and lawmakers.

In 2016, the report found:

  • "Greenhouse gases were the highest on record," with CO2 levels reaching 402.9 parts per million—believed to be "the highest concentration of CO2 in the air in 800,000 years."
  • "Global surface temperature was the highest on record";
  • "Average sea surface temperature was the highest on record";
  • "Global upper-ocean heat content neared record high";
  • "Global sea level was the highest on record";
  • "Arctic sea ice coverage was at or near record low";
  • "Tropical cyclones were above-average overall."

The report also included a graphic (click image for version) that highlighted the impact such metrics had throughout the globe, from severe wildfires in Canada to sweltering heat in India.

Upon the report's release, commentators were quick to ask pointed questions about whether Trump—who has called climate change a "hoax"—or members of his administration would even so much as acknowledge the results, let alone do anything about them.

Trump's budget proposals from earlier this year provide some indication of how he feels about the agency that produced the analysis.

In March, the Washington Post obtained a budget memo showing that the Trump administration intended to slash NOAA funding by 17 percent, a cut that former NOAA chief scientist Rick Spinrad said would "jeopardiz[e] the safety of the American public."

This, along with the fact that the EPA is reportedly taking deregulatory directions from the fossil fuel industry, has many analysts seriously alarmed about the near future.

"Today's remarkably hot temperatures, caused by human carbon pollution, are a sign of what's to come," writes the Guardian's Dana Nuccitelli. "If we don't get global warming under control, the consequences will indeed be bad.


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

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

As Progressives Call for End to Blockade, Biden Announces More Sanctions Against Cuba

The move comes after Democratic leadership in the House blocked an amendment to roll back limits on how much money people in the United States can send to family on the island nation.

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressives Issue Dire Warning as House Bill to Extend Eviction Moratorium Dies

"If Congress does not act now, the fallout of the eviction crisis will undoubtedly set us backwards as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravish our communities, needlessly contributing to more death and destruction."

Brett Wilkins ·


Citing Donziger Case, Dems Raise Alarm About Use of Private Prosecutors in Federal Court

Private prosecutions of criminal contempt charges, said a pair of senators, "are highly unusual and can raise concerning questions of fundamental fairness in our criminal justice system."

Jessica Corbett ·


'About Damn Time': DOJ Says Treasury Department Must Give Trump's Tax Returns to Congress

"This case is now bigger even than Donald Trump's crimes. Neither the courts, nor the machinery of our government, exist to bodyguard a corrupt private citizen from transparency."

Jake Johnson ·


'Just Say That the Election Was Corrupt,' Trump Told DOJ in December

"It was a failed coup. Call it what it was. It didn't work! But they sure as hell tried."

Kenny Stancil ·