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“What the hell is going on with Global Waming?” President Donald Trump tweeted a few days ago in the midst of a cold snap. “Please come back fast, we need you!”

If Trump had consulted scientists in the government he works for, they could have helped with his basic understanding, as well as his spelling: The warming of the Earth is unmistakable, as seen in a global temperature record that offers no reason for laughter. Experts from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, according to two separate estimates, one from each agency.

A single year’s temperature readings do not constitute a trend. But there is a trend. The five warmest years have come in the past five years. Eighteen of the 19 warmest years on record have come since the beginning of this century. That 2018 did not quite match the record-setting 2016 for warmth is in part because a warming El Niño effect in 2016 raised temperatures even higher than human influence alone would have. By contrast, 2018 saw a cooling La Niña and was still fourth-warmest. The overall direction is relentless: This decade will be warmer than the last, which was warmer than the one before it, and so on.

As more and more of their predictions have come true, scientists have become more confident in their models—and more alarmed. Some effects of climate change remain difficult to predict or plan for.

In the face of ever-rising evidence, the president did not even mention climate change in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

Some Democrats, meanwhile, have announced a “Green New Deal” whose goal seems to be radically reshaping U.S. society and vastly expanding government rather than simply addressing the climate problem, which is hard enough—and important enough. Though not nearly as harmful as Mr. Trump’s rank denialism, engaging in this sort of fantasy also hurts the cause of practically addressing the issue.

The world needs rational U.S. leadership. Unfortunately, global warming will not stop in the meantime.

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  • 23cal
    February 11, 2019 at 6:46 a.m.

    Trump is an ignorant man playing to his ignorant base, which is foolish enough to belief himinstead of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.
    *
    This goes beyond willful ignorance to determined ignorance and delusion.

  • BillMurray
    February 12, 2019 at 10:51 a.m.

    If by "vastly expanding government" the ADG means having to force industries to take corrective measures, since they continue to fail to do so despite decades of warnings which have now come true, then yes, that's what has to be done to address the "climate problem." (FYI, it's not really a climate problem, it's a humanity problem; if the runaway atmosphere burns us into extinction, it'll correct itself without us eons from now.) What's being proposed IS rational; unfortunately, the corrective measures now must be much more severe, since the warnings have been ignored so long. ... Hey ... by the way, ADG Editorial Board, you can't ignore science for decades and make fun of progressives since the early '90s for wanting to take actions, and then one day decide they're right — but try to weigh in on what needs to be done. Your wannabe down-home opinions that've pooh-poohed these scientists for decades are one of the reasons we're in this mess. You've misled readers for years, since paper and gasoline are major ingredients to your business model, and because of that they've voted into office climate-science deniers. If any single entity in the state is most to blame, it's this paper.

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