The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), from its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), just released an updated analysis that indicates 2011 was the ninth warmest year on record for the planet. GISS Director James Hansen said: “Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”
The animation below, developed to illustrate how temperatures have risen, is especially illustrative and alarming. I encourage you to take a moment to watch the warming.
Despite our failure to enact policies at the federal level that put a price on global warming pollution, states like California have taken action to address climate change at the state level, most recently with a plan to put cleaner cars on the road, and the EPA is moving forward with regulations to reduce toxic air pollutants that are emitted from coal plants.
Still, there is more we must do. For starters, Congress should renew the Production Tax Credit for clean energy producers, to establish the financial and policy certainty the industry needs to move forward and build us electricity generation facilities that don’t cause global warming or threaten public health.
The science is clear that the earth is warming and humans are the primary cause. Unfortunately, global warming and the threats it poses to our health, water, food, and safety won’t turn off even if our collective interest in the issue does.