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Map showing the anomalies in temperature during the 5-day period of 25-29 June 2019. (Credit: ECMWF, Copernicus Climate Change Service)

After Data Shows Last Month Was Hottest June on Record, Sanders Says Maybe Now Is 'Time to Start Treating This Like a Crisis and Not a Hoax'

"It's only the hottest June ever recorded on planet earth," said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben with sarcasm. "So, nothing at all to worry about."

Jon Queally

In response to news on Tuesday that a European Union satellite agency declared last month the hottest June ever recorded, 2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders said, "Maybe, just maybe, it's time to start treating this like a crisis and not a hoax."

With campaigners across the world demanding leaders respond to the crisis of the rapidly heating planet as the "climate emergency" it is, Sanders was responding to a tweet by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben noting new data released by the UN-supported Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) that showed global temperatures last month were the highest ever recorded for June since records began in the late 19th century.

As the story by the Independent newspaper on the temperature data was poorly worded or incorrectly reported, McKibben later returned to Twitter to clarify the report's findings, but he made it clear the reality should still be met with serious alarm:

According to C3S, average temperatures across Europe "were more than 2°C above normal" and the "global-average temperature for June 2019 was also the highest on record for the month." 

Globally, the temperature average, the group noted, was about 0.1°C higher than that of the previous warmest June, in 2016, following a strong El Niño event.

While a widespread heatwave in the last weeks of the month pushed up the average for Europe, Jean-Noël Thépaut, who heads C3S, said that even as the heatwave itself cannot be directly attributed to the global climate crisis, it fits very much in line with what the scientific community has warned.

"Although local temperatures may have been lower or higher than those forecast, our data show that the temperatures over the southwestern region of Europe during the last week of June were unusually high," Thépaut.  "Although this was exceptional, we are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change."


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