Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hottest Year Ever

We get tired of saying it: last year was the hottest year on record. The much-ballyhooed “pause” in global warming in the 2000s has vanished when you look at the charts now. With the last three years of data added in, the “pause” was no more than a misinterpretation of short-term noise in an obvious upward trend.

The implications are well known. Humans will have to be less hot to keep the planet in a semblance of its current form. All the initiatives that have been suggested to date, such as burning less oil and stopping global population growth, will not be enough to protect coastal real estate. The land will have to be raised by one meter, then another. But if you think of the obvious techniques for raising the land level above the new sea level, it involves earth-moving equipment that burns enormous amounts of oil, just what we said we would have to do less of. As you can see, this is already a tricky problem.