Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

It's official: 2014 the warmest year on record

Globally, December 2014 was the warmest December on record, according to newly released data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

More ominously:

"The average combined global land and ocean surface temperature for January–December 2014 was the highest on record among all years in the 135-year period of record."

NASA, which conducts an analysis of the data separate from NOAA, reaches the same conclusion: 2014 was the hottest year in the meteoroligical record. NASA researchers also point out that the record was set in a year in which El Niño, a weather pattern in the Pacific that drives temperatures up, did not appear.

It's important to point out that the second warmest year on record was 2010, which means the two hottest years on record have occurred within a five-year period. The third highest year was 2005, which means the three hottest years have occurred in the past decade. Every year since the turn of the century has been among the 20 warmest years on record, and the rate of observed warming greatly exceeds that of any naturally caused climate change going back tens of thousands of years.

The only scientifically plausible theory advanced to explain that warming is the growing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, gases released by human beings mainly through the burning of fossil fuels. Even the relative handful of scientists who remain skeptical of man-made climate change concede that they have no other theory to explain the ever-rising temperatures.

It's also worth noting that a major new study published this week concludes that the oceans are rising much more quickly than in the past:

"The current sea level rise rate — which started in 1990 — is 2.5 times faster than it was from 1900 to 1990, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Scientists say that faster pace of sea level rise is from melting ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica and shrinking glaciers, triggered by man-made global warming."

Fear not, however. The head of the House Science Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, dismisses such reports as the work of "global warming alarmists." He's a lawyer, so he ought to know. The chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, reassures us that it's all a hoax launched by Hollywood liberals in conspiracy with scientists out to undermine capitalism. In fact, he believes man-made climate change is literally an impossibility because God would not allow it.

His proof is Genesis 8:22, in which God promises Noah after the flood that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,” and he believes it's "outrageous" for anyone to suggest God will break that promise.

So really, we have nothing to worry about.

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About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.