Climate change is real and increasingly a part of our daily lives. First among them, there's no longer any question that rising temperatures and increasingly chaotic weather are the work of humanity.
Hottest on record
There's a That means we've reached the "gold standard" for certainty, a statistical measure typically used in particle physics. CO2 is the greenhouse gas that's most responsible for warming. More: Life after solving climate change: Not mud huts and gruel but clean air and warm homes. Click this link on your mobile device to get started. The past five years have been the five warmest since record-keeping began in the late s. The Earth has experienced 42 straight years since with an above-average global temperature, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Based on five separate data sets that keep track of the Earth's climate, the global average temperature for the first 10 months of was about 1. That was when industry started to emit large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The town of Port Augusta reached the hottest day since record-keeping began in with a temperature of , according to the Guardian. The heat was so intense it caused bats to fall from trees, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Industry opponents of the Kyoto Protocol draft a proposal to spend millions of dollars to convince the public that the environmental accord is based on shaky science.
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In the presidential campaign, George W. Bush, the Republican nominee, promises to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, while Al Gore, the Democratic candidate, calls for aggressive climate policies but does not make climate change a major campaign issue and mentions it only once in the debates.
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Under strong pressure from conservative Republicans and industry groups, President Bush says his administration will not seek to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants. He also says he will seek to withdraw the United States from the Kyoto climate accord and that the United States will not comply with its emissions-reduction targets.
China declines to slow the rapid growth of its greenhouse gas emissions. President Bush proposes a voluntary plan involving tax credits and other incentives to encourage businesses and farmers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Only four Republicans vote yes. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue.
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Climate scientists across the globe overwhelming agree that evidence of climate change is clear and persuasive, according to a detailed analysis in Science Magazine by the science historian Naomi Oreskes. The question of what to do about climate change is also still open. But there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change.
Climate scientists have repeatedly tried to make this clear. It is time for the rest of us to listen. At a climate conference in Montreal, the United States and China refuse to agree to take mandatory steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Congress passes an energy policy act that provides tax and other incentives for some low emissions energy sources, including nuclear power, hydropower and wind and solar power. But it also continues large subsidies for fossil fuels. Congress raises auto fuel efficiency standards for the first time since Barack Obama and John McCain, the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, endorse limiting greenhouse gas emissions through cap-and-trade legislation.
The House of Representatives passes a cap-and-trade bill that would require cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 17 percent below levels by and 83 percent by Only eight Republicans vote yes. The bill never receives a vote in the Senate, even though Democrats control 57 seats and two independents caucus with them.
The American Petroleum Institute, funded by major oil companies, helps organize and pay for the first Tea Party rallies, including protests against the House-passed cap-and-trade legislation. President Obama says the United States will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below levels by as part of the Copenhagen Accord signed by nations.
Large developing nations, including China, also pledge reductions, though they are voluntary. The International Energy Agency reports that global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide hit a high of President Obama reaches an agreement with American auto companies to raise fuel efficiency standards to 54 miles per gallon by , the largest emissions-cutting action of his presidency. More than half of all carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels combustion since the Industrial Revolution began in have occurred just since the mids, according to a study by scientists for the United States government.
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Scientists report that concentrations of carbon dioxide reached a record parts per million in the atmosphere, the highest levels in at least three million years, before human beings evolved, and that global emissions rose by 60 percent between and In his second Inaugural Address, President Obama calls climate change the leading issue of our time. More than 60 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions come from six nations : China, 30 percent; the United States, 16 percent; India, 6 percent; Russia, 5 percent; Japan, 4 percent; and Germany, 3 percent.
President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China announce limits on greenhouse gas emissions; the United States agrees to cut emissions by 26 to 28 percent below levels by ; China says it will begin scaling back emissions before The agreement sets the stage for a global climate deal. A United Nations study finds that even if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut to the level required to keep temperature rise below 3. The Paris climate accord is approved by nations , including the United States, marking the first time that all major nations pledge to make emissions reductions to limit the global average temperature increase to less than 3.