Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Ashley Siefert Nunes, asiefert@ucsusa.org, 1 202-331-5666

Press Release

Top Scientists Confirm 2018 Fourth Hottest Year on Record, Last Five Years Rank Hottest

Statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, Union of Concerned Scientists
WASHINGTON -

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) announced today that 2018 was the fourth hottest year worldwide on record.

Below is a statement by Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science and senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). 

“Despite the recent cold snap across the Midwest and East Coast, the planet is still heating up, and the warming is unprecedented. The Earth has taken a walloping since 2014. The last five years rank as the hottest on record globally—far and away hotter than previous years with temperatures running roughly 1 degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times. Temperatures for 2018 came in just behind the three years preceding it with 2016 ranking hottest year yet.

“Eighteen of the nineteen warmest years since record keeping began have occurred since 2001. That means kids graduating from high school have only known a world of record-breaking temperatures. With global emissions rising for the second year in a row, this disastrous trend shows no signs of changing any time soon.

“The new normal is a world with stronger hurricanes, polar vortex shifts, recurrent high tide flooding, life-threatening heat waves, longer wildfire seasons and more rain during heavy downpours. It also comes at a cost—with both the loss of human lives and catastrophic economic impacts. According to NASA and NOAA, there were a total of 14 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events in the U.S. in 2018 alone, costing the nation $91 billion in direct economic damages and resulting in 247 deaths. These included the terrible wildfires in California and the devastating hurricanes Florence and Michael, all of which bear the fingerprints of climate change.”

For years, climate change has been grossly ignored by President Trump, as well as Congress writ large. With roughly one decade left to tackle this problem head on, House Democrats have signaled that the climate crisis is at the top of their agenda by scheduling a slew of hearings on the subject this month, including one today at which Ekwurzel will testify.

Government shutdowns can delay the collection and timely release of important scientific information, as was the case with the information released today.

###

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.

Senators Set to Leave Town for 10-Day Recess Without Action on Gun Violence Crisis

"How many more children, mothers, and fathers need to be murdered in cold blood before the Senate has the guts to ban assault weapons and take on the NRA?" asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo