April of 2016 was the warmest April ever recorded, according to NASA data. In addition, the margin of increase over the previous April record was itself a record.
It is also the latest in a growing string of such records. March of 2016 had also been the warmest March ever recorded, and February the warmest February, and January the warmest January. In fact, each of the last seven months have been the warmest such months on record, according to NASA. (Its sister agency, NOAA, puts the string of consecutive warm-record months at 11.)
On an annual basis, 2015 had been the warmest year on record, easily surpassing 2014. And at this rate, 2016 will easily surpass 2015.
So I have a question:
Imagine for a moment that we could go back in time, say 16 years. In the year 2000, what would it have taken to convince climate deniers back then that they might be wrong, and that the overwhelming consensus of global scientists was actually correct?
Then as now, the deniers claimed that no heating trend existed. But what if you told them that you could prove they were wrong, that in fact over the following 15 years, we would see the 14 warmest years on record? Given the power of foresight, would they have found that reason enough to question their certainty?
No, of course not. Because their faith is immune to data or fact. It exists independent of reality, bolstered by fake fact. As noted earlier, they have wrapped themselves in a series of nested arguments, much like Russian dolls, in which the climate isn’t warming, and if it’s warming it isn’t warming a lot, and if it is warming a lot then it’s not our fault, and if it is our fault then it’s not going to be disastrous, and if it is disastrous then gee, it’s now too late to do anything about it.
Too bad, huh?
One of those nested arguments involves the question of agency. Two or three years ago, the climate deniers were still trying to sell the notion of a “pause” in the heating, with some claims even being made that we had entered a period of cooling. Such arguments are more rare now. In addition to record heat, the Arctic ice shelf has diminished to such an extent that the once-mythical “Northwest Passage” through the Arctic Ocean from the Atlantic to the Pacific is now so free that cruise ships are making the trip. The Great Barrier Reef is dying from excess heat. The rate of sea-level rise has almost doubled.
The heating is undeniable, so what IS causing it? Climate scientists have offered a complex, well-documented explanation for why the climate is warming so rapidly, backed by computer models and by actual on-the-ground observations. Those who deny that mankind is responsible have offered no plausible counter-explanation, because none exists.
That is, unless you think it’s plausible that global scientists have entered into a secret conspiracy to fool the world. If so, you may also think that Ted Cruz’s father helped assassinate JFK, and I have the perfect presidential candidate for you.