World weather officials have announced that (1) the global warming gasses that enshroud Earth as a result of our ever-increasing use of fossil fuels reached the densest level of concentration ever in 2014, and (2) our planet’s average temperature this year was the hottest in more than a century of record keeping. These are truly breathtaking accomplishments.
Both records are significant because they put us close to two meteorological milestones some said we’d never reach. First, the 2015 temperature record was a full 1* Celsius (1.8* Fahrenheit) above the baseline measurement in the pre-industrial era. That one degree might not seem like a big deal, but scientists have calculated that an increase of only 2* Celsius in Earth’s overall heat will bring further extreme weather, endanger food supplies and ecosystems, flood island nations and low-lying cities, and increase the range of tropical diseases. Congratulations, we’re already halfway there!
Second, the World Meteorological Organization notes that our 2014 record of 397.7 parts per million (ppm) of global warming gasses in the atmosphere puts us only a smidgeon away from the 400 ppm point at which scientists say the warming becomes “a permanent reality.” As the head of WMO puts it, “we are moving into unchartered territory at a frightening speed.”
Let us now give full credit to those who have brought us so far so fast: the giants of industry and the many political enablers who faithfully stood guard against public actions that might interrupt industry’s single-minded intention to extract every bit of oil, gas, coal–and profit–from within our Earth.